Judy Hogan has published thirteen Penny Weaver Mysteries with another on the way. She also writes poetry, edits creative writers, and offers workshops. Learn more about her and her books at her website and blog. Today she stops by to talk about how one of her characters developed over time.
I’m not sure how my character Seb emerged the way he did as my amateur detective Penny Weaver’s grandson. True, she’d kept him as a toddler for his mother many times over the years. Seb wanted to help Penny, Kenneth and their next-door neighbors, the Styles, plant the spring garden. Leroy, his dad, let him plant “nunions.”
Meantime, Penny’s daughter Sarah, his mother, hadn’t wanted to marry Leroy, his father. She was trying to find someone to marry, who suited her, but such men didn’t want to be Seb’s daddy. This was painful all around.
Finally, a young farmer named Mark Judd, who had his own problems, fell in love with Sarah and Seb. About the same time another farmer, Nora Fisher, fell in love with Leroy, and these four had a double wedding. So Seb ended up with four parents, who had the best of intentions, but sometimes had trouble keeping up with Seb.
Seb ran away to Raleigh with some older friends, who willingly gave him a ride, so he could attend the Moral Monday March led by Rev. Barber. The police called Sarah. He was too young to be in a protest, they said. He was fourteen.
Another time he had refused to go to school because he knew more about The Odyssey than his teacher. Penny had already read it with him.
At the capitol building, Penny’s friend Oscar had stayed with Seb. His mother was furious. Oscar offered to tutor him in writing college essays, which Seb loved.
The crowning blow to Seb’s four parents, as well as to Naomi’s parents, was the discovery by Aunt Sammie that fourteen-year-old Seb and thirteen-year-old Naomi were enjoying the joys of sex while Naomi was babysitting Sammie’s kids. Although this story in Pernicious Poll is a subplot, it may be the most interesting part of the book. One reviewer wrote: “I loved the ending.” The reader may wonder whether the teens will be able to cope if they lose the joys of sex. More of the story will come out in the fourteenth novel of the series, A Teen’s Christmas in Wales.
A Penny Weaver Mystery, Book 13
The North Carolina state government has passed a new law that requires voters to show a picture ID. Its real aim is to make it harder for elderly black citizens to vote. Penny Weaver and her friends are working to assist elderly voters to get a state-issued ID. Meantime the lead counsel for the NAACP court challenge to the new law, Becka Cagle is murdered on her doorstep. Penny's friend Sammie learns that her grandson Seb and Sammie's niece Naomi had discovered the joys of sex at ages fourteen and thirteen. Penny, Sammie, and Lt. Lilly Bates of the Sheriff's Department work to solve the murder. While the three women do their own investigation, their friend Kate takes over the role of the dead Becka in the NAACP case, and Penny's husband Kenneth guards Kate. The parents of the teens come together to make new rules for the teens, but Penny ends up keeping her grandson Seb when his parents are busy, and Seb finds it easy to outwit her.