I hear it all the time, sometimes from my own mouth – I wish the characters I read about were real people that I could take shopping, visit on vacation or invite to dinner. I miss them when the book is finished, miss them as much as I miss my real life, flesh & blood friends. Their writer has done his job so thoroughly that the characters feel like real people.
My fictional dinner party will include Helena Justina and Marcus Didius Falco from Lindsey Davis’ Falco mysteries (these two would probably run the conversation at the table!), Will Stanton from Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising Sequence (I love Merriman, too, but Will’s less disquieting), Phil Davies, of Tim Powers’ On Stranger Tides (every dinner party needs a hot pirate!), Brother Cadfael, from Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael mysteries (he’s peaceful, well-read, and can probably keep Davies honest for the duration of the evening), Repairman Jack from F Paul Wilson’s Adversary Cycle (not that he’d come to dinner – he’s a bit wary), Ronny Dillon, from Tom Dietz’ Soulsmith Trilogy (because I want to talk with him about that radio tarot process), Tarod from Louise Cooper’s Time Master Trilogy (if your steak suddenly looks like a pink and green swim noodle, please forgive him – he IS a chaos lord, you know) and Phaid the Gambler from Mick Farren’s Phaid books (such a charmer).
Tell me – who would you like to invite to dinner? (No fair choosing your own characters!)