My new Best Friend Forever comes across as a real person, not an imaginary person born from an author's imagination. Her experiences, feelings, and emotions make me laugh, cry, or cringe in fear as she peers around the corner to discover 'whodunit.'
For me, it's as if I'm not just reading a story. Instead, I'm actively participating in the action alongside my friend. Lately, cozy mysteries are my go-to evening read, where I imagine myself tagging along, pointing clues out to my companion. Even when the story ends, it's difficult to stop thinking about the book and being a part of the tale. I want to spend more time with my BFF.
A couple of weeks ago, as I was packing up my collection of paperbacks, I ran across Anne McCaffery's Dragonriders of Pern series. I was introduced to these stories over 30 years ago, but I still remember how much I loved them from page one. I recall several novels that captured my imagination, but nothing like the Pern books. They totally immersed me into McCaffery's fantasy world and didn't let go.
As I progressed through the series, I imagined being a Dragonrider and living in one of the weyrs. My best friend was my dragon. We fought thread together. We explored unchartered territory together. We were a team.
Of course, I interacted with F'lar, Lessa, Robinton, and all the other primary characters. Masterharper Robinton was my favorite human character and BFF. Everyone loved and respected him, and through McCaffery's outstanding descriptive writing, I got to know him and imagined being a part of his inner circle.
In my mind's eye, I rode with the Dragonriders who uncovered the long-forgotten original settlement. I witnessed the reawakening of AVAIS, the computerized artificial intelligence that had been buried beneath the deserted colony's sands for many years. I sat side by side with Robinton and the other leaders as AVAIS recounted the history of the early days on Pern. What an adventure!
Since then, I've 'befriended' other fictional BFFs, such as Doretta in Robert DeBurgh's Riders of the Wind. While Robinton and other literary personalities were friends, Doretta spoke to me in a way no fictional character has ever done before or since.
Quick note: I may be biased since my husband wrote this aviation-based historical fiction.
The tale revolves around his relatives engaged in this new and exciting profession. Over the years, Robert shared tales with me of his Uncle Charlie flying the newly charted mail routes and smuggling bootleg booze from Canada during Prohibition. Bob was proud of his mother, who earned a private pilot certificate when females were thought incapable of flying, and his father, an ace mechanic, devised ingenious ways to keep the planes in the air.
So, as I read each chapter and learned more about his family, it was easy to place myself in the cockpit alongside Aunt Doretta as she and Charlie explored flight routes over the jungles of the Pantanal and started their own airline. In the second book, Winds of Fate, Doretta fought against discrimination and sabotage as she delivered bombers and fighter planes to military bases across the US.
Robert confessed that he combined some of my characteristics with memories of his Aunt Doretta. That's probably why I felt such a kinship with her. She and I could have been incredibly close friends. I loved getting to know her and still regret never meeting this remarkable lady in person.
How about you? Have you ever encountered a fictional character who instantly became a friend? Tell us about your imaginary BFF in the blog's comments. Don't be shy. We won't divulge your secrets.