One advantage to writing the third novel in a trilogy is that my characters are pretty familiar to me now. They "have their own voices."
I can hear not only their dialogue, but the characteristic phrasing, vocal frequency and attitude in each character's voice, especially the ones who are continuing characters from the first two novels. I also know their motivations. These days, Art wants to get off his feet, Max wants a finger in every pie, the Callan kid still wants to avoid work as much as possible, and Mayor Wood wants a willing ear for his stories—although he'll settle for an unwilling one, if that's all he can get!
Some new characters for this novel are pretty interesting, too. Bebe is a former ballet dancer, now a field anthropologist, and she is used to wangling what she wants from everyone else around her—especially guys! Her perhaps-boyfriend Eckert is decidedly unscrupulous, so he's a pretty good match for Bebe. Tuck, the bartender at Riley's, starts out on a lucky streak, but it turns decidedly unlucky for him.
My favorite character, though, is the MacGuffin, which is coming into clearer focus with every paragraph. By now (Chapter 4), I'm pretty sure it is a carved stone disk, which the unfortunate Tuck wears on a thong around his neck. I expect it will travel around quite a bit, too, getting confiscated, swiped, dropped and retrieved as the story coalesces around it.
Still in the wings, waiting to come onstage, are at least one tribe of Plains Indians (who will appear in the flesh only in flash-back mode), the shaman who carved—or maybe discovered—the MacGuffin in the first place, and a slightly venal nurse who just wants some extra cash.
It's such fun finding out!
Total: 7598 words