Age-Old Questions for Series Characters

I’m starting revisions on the second book of my New Orleans series, and am having trouble figuring out how old my characters are. Well, duh, they’re just a bit older than in the first book, right?

Not that simple. The first book, ROYAL STREET, takes place in September 2005, in the days immediately following the levee failures in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The second, RIVER ROAD, jolts everything to present-day because, really, who wants to read a series perpetually set five years ago? It’s too recent to qualify as historical and just old enough to seem dated without a specific event like a hurricane to work around.

So, do my characters age five or six years? Or do they stay perpetually young?

Finally, I had to take my answer from the first book. By grounding the series not only in the real world but in a real time, I think I forced myself to age my characters. My primary character, DJ, was 25 in the first book, so in RIVER ROAD, she has to be knocking 30, Alex is 32, and Jake is almost 35. 

It follows, then, that their issues should be darker, their skills sharper. Which I guess is okay. They’re not all human, after all, so they’ll age really well.

Ever run into this problem? What about the characters in your favorite series? Do they age?

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate’s Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man’s Curse; Black Diamond).

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