I don't know about other writers but I assume when you are writing a long series then by book six you will be well into your characters, you should know how they function and, more importantly, be aware of their limitations. Limitations are good, as they should constantly make the writer look for new ways to keep the stories fresh and interesting for the reader.
So, by the time I started to write number six, Vanished Beneath, I had all the main players in place, I had what I hoped would be a good plot idea and yet I wanted to introduce someone new into the mix. Enter DI Odette Noble, she was created specifically to ease the tension between Lasser and the constantly angry DCI Bannister, a foil if you like and someone that Lasser could share his angst with.
Odette was fun to write from the start, she has the qualities that I like in any character that is going to stick around. She is smart yet vulnerable, she can handle herself when she needs to, though she isn't ''super cop''. I have never really appreciated the kind of cold character who can solve a crime with ease and carries a mountain of baggage with them.
I wanted the reader to like her from the off, as with all the characters I wanted her to have a lot of hidden depths and things in her past that would both surprise and help the reader warm to her even further. I have found the best way to do this is keep the characters as real as possible, so when Odette first enters the series Lasser is slightly suspicious, not because she is a woman in what is mainly a man's world but simply because he trusts no one until they have earned that trust.
The story itself was fun to write with the usual murder and mayhem, though at its heart it is a vehicle for Odette to fit into the gang and for the reader to get used to how she operates, also to make sure she was right for the Lasser books.
Thankfully, the readers seemed to take to her and she has become integral to the Lasser series in so many ways that I often wonder how I managed before she came along.
Having another main character also opens the scope of the novels and has led to some very interesting developments in later books.
But as they say all will be revealed…