Yes, I do occasionally have dinner with my imaginary friends. I have to know what they like to eat, which says a lot about who they are, so I’ll think about what restaurant they might prefer, or what meal I could cook just for them. Sometimes it’s research. Sometimes it’s just fun.
When The Green Memory of Fear came out, to celebrate the publication I asked myself what food I could cook for my main characters, Jaguar and Alex, both telepaths and empaths whose job is rehabbing criminals by making them face their fears. So what food howled out Yay for them!
And I had an easy answer.
In the opening of The Green Memory of Fear, Jaguar is on her first official date with Alex, a man who’s been trying for her for about three novels. They go out to dinner and she orders the lobster, which makes Alex glad because he says that watching her eat it is a combination of predation and sensuality, both at their best.
“That outfit looks lovely on you,” he says to her courteously as their dinner arrives. (He’s a profoundly courteous man)
“Thank you,” she replies, as she rips a claw off the lobster and sucks meat from it.
The rest of the date is just as primal, but you’ll have to read the book to know how it ends.
So yes, I cook for my imaginary friends, and take them out to dinner, and I advise other writers to do the same. My only caveat – if you’re writing about zombies, or vampires or werewolves, stayed careful, and stay safe.
Barbara Chepaitis is author of eight published novels and two nonfiction books. Her most recent novel is The Green Memory of Fear, fifth book in the ‘fear’ series featuring Jaguar Addams. She is also director of the fiction writing program at Western College of Colorado’s Master’s program in creative writing.