Imaginary Friend :: Nilla Hayes

Hey Intrepid Readers,

Writing; it’s life without the boring bits and making friends with imaginary people.  I’ve had a witch on my mind since writing the short story Gloam (HELLEBORE & RUE, Drollerie Press) and she’s been talking—over copious cups of exotic mochas (Could I try that white chocolate mocha with an infusion of mint please?  It sounds really good.)—about witchy godmothers battling it out with candy bars and spells at twenty paces; demon night riders who string up mortals like puppets to dance; not to mention chasing stolen dreams as well as the less glamorous side of a magical life, covering the rent.  I guess her BFF—Livia Darrow (who salsas through a room projecting Halle Berry at a Latin dance club, while looking like Reese Witherspoon taking afternoon tea with the Queen)—is dating someone new and consequently witch, Nilla Hayes, isn’t getting her quota of chat in. 

    It’s part of the spill over effect that happens after writing—however brief a piece—about any particular character; those imaginary people don’t want to get out even after you’ve penned the end.  They want to live on to see another page and as a writer, you’re feeling comfortable enough with them to actually indulge these post mortem conversations with imaginary friends that could have been so last chapter.  It doesn’t hurt that the modern view on writing a series is all good news… (Don’t you wonder what the classics would have been like if the authors had lived in a similar publishing environment?  At least those that didn’t end up killing off their characters, or so firmly ensconcing them in a Happily Ever After so as to make a series an impracticality short of going Wuthering Heights: In the Hands of Resurrection Men.)

    So you indulge your imaginary friend and even let her order yet another mocha that you’re half sure isn’t sold in any coffee store you know of outside of your head, because it sounds like she’s got much more in her than just one little short story for an anthology.  In fact, you’ve got this thrilled little cocoon of a million butterflies ready to burst through you like a river of adrenalin; this little witchy imaginary friend has enough promise to fill an entire novel…perhaps an entire series with her quirky little tales.  Of course, as she is your personal imaginary friend, you’re also completely convinced she’s got something original to contribute to a genre and so…you let her bend your ear a little more.

    Before you know it, you’ve jotted a few notes and penned a title (BUMP) for an undefined project (Novella? Novel?) featuring a lesbian witch who made (or as at this writing rather will make) her debut in the HELLEBORE & RUE anthology.  Already I can see my beta reader (or is that prime critic), Misty, rolling her eyes and frowning at me…her meaning is obvious, enough with the imaginary coffee party, write already!


Quinn Smythwood


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