13 August 2011

I was a rotten kid. As a child I loved to torment my brothers and boss around the other kids on my block. As a result, I didn’t have many friends. (Yeah, I know. Sad, but I deserved it.)

That’s when I started making up my imaginary playmates. My first playmate was a boy named Larry. I adored Larry and took him everywhere I went. He would sleep in the imaginary bed across from mine. He would sit next to me at the dinner table. Heck, he even played softball, standing right next to me, although he was never a very good player.

Best of all, Larry was as rotten as I was. Larry was the culprit whenever my hand developed a mind of its own and thumped my brother in the head. Larry took the blame whenever I “accidentally” bumped a bowl full of vegetables off the table to scatter awful-tasting peas across the floor. Larry was with me, egging me on when I dropped water balloons off the roof onto unsuspecting neighbors. Larry was the one who made me stay up late and miss the school bus. Larry was, for all the wrong reasons, the perfect playmate.

Then I grew up and Larry went away. Or did he?

I love writing all the characters in my books, both good and bad. Heroes and heroines alike find a place in my heart. But I have to admit that the bad boys claim a special corner. Why? Perhaps it’s because each of my bad boys, whether or not they turn out to be the villain or the hero, has a part of Larry in him.

For instance, the three Cannon brothers in my Cannon Pack werewolf series are different, but they all have a bit of Larry thrown into their personalities. Jason Cannon has Larry’s uninhibited streak. Devlin Cannon has Larry’s witty sarcasm and Daniel Cannon is the guy who acts more calloused than he really is. In my latest book, CLAWED (Wild Things, Book 3), Conan is a bear (literally) of a man who takes on Larry’s habit of one-word answers. Like Larry, he’s stoic, aloof and sometimes downright rude. But in the end, Conan─again like Larry─will do anything for his girl.

So you see, Larry continues to live. Sure, he went away while I grew up and developed other interests. But when I wanted him again, when I became a writer and needed a bad boy, Larry came back to stay.

Now here’s the question for you. Since most of us have had an imaginary friend at one time or another, does your friend still live on in you? Is your friend by your side whenever you shake your head and answer, “I don’t know who did it”? If no, don’t you wish you had your imaginary friend back in your life?

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