As a child I never had imaginary friends nor do I remember ever wanting them. I had enough crazy (*grin*) people in my life - there was no need to make up more of them! But, it's come to my recent attention that times may have changed. I've realized just how REAL the characters I write about have become.
According to Wikipedia (which I'm sure is accurate) "imaginary friends and imaginary companions are a psychological and social phenomenon where a friendship or other interpersonal relationship takes place in the imagination rather than external physical reality. Imaginary friends are fictional characters created for improvisational role-playing. They often have elaborate personalities and behaviors. They may seem real to their creators, though they are ultimately unreal."
Sydney and Alex aren't just characters in Hope's Journey, they are my friends. The same is true for Megan, Carter, Matt (okay, he's not so much a friend as a liability), Lucas, Marc, and Isaac. And we can't forget my delightful twins Justice and Mercee. I've formed relationships to one degree or another with each of them. I think about them often. I wonder what they are going to do, how they are going to do it, and even how they will feel. I "watch" their movements, "feel" their pains, and "see" the same things they see... I talk about them. I laugh at them. And, I even get angry with them!
I'm beginning to hope there's not something wrong with me! But, if there is, then I take comfort that the same something is wrong with my sweetheart, because he shares the conversations with me. He talks with me about them. He helps fine-tune their voices. And, he knows them each by name.
I'm not so sure how imaginary my characters - um, friends - really are. Which I suppose brings us full circle back to that Wiki defination: "They may seem real to their creators, though they are ultimately unreal." And, I further suppose that's just one of the qualities that makes us authors such "special" people.