Flora Vastine warranted no more than a few paragraphs in Something in Common, the first of the Sticks Hetrick mysteries.
Of course she wasn’t a police officer then and was only filling a minority role in that novel. In fact, I didn’t even see her as a recurring character at the time. In Cruel Cuts I had need of both another protégé for Hetrick and a love interest for Corporal Harry Minnich. Flora, who had expressed interest in a police career in the first novel, fit the requirements for both needs.
Hetrick was still mourning the loss of his wife Sarah and I didn’t anticipate his falling in love with some one else at that point (though he almost did succumb to the charms of old friend Melissa Kline). But I did believe a little romance was necessary to broaden interest in what I now envisioned as an ongoing series. Even in the darkest of crime novels characters need to have interest in a little more than just catching the villain in order to be fully developed. Flora and Harry were the obvious choices for my purpose.
Since then Flora has become a major player. In fact, she warrants nearly as much space in Corruption’s Child as does Hetrick. And she’s equally important in Being Someone Else (awaiting publication).
Flora is young and energetic. She has enthusiasm and genuinely cares about other people. Occasionally she makes mistakes and gets in trouble. All of which make her very human.