by Chad Musick
GENRE: YA Magical Realism
If the delivery had been a demonic bowling alley or a mermaid’s grotto, Ivy would have sent it away. She has standards, after all. But she can’t refuse a magical Library, especially when they’ve gone to the trouble of including a wheelchair ramp. They say that on the Internet nobody knows you’re a dog, but somebody knows fourteen-year-old Ivy is an orphan, that she sells her paper-writing services to lazy college students, and that her imaginary friends are unhappy being stuck in the mural on the wall of her Alaskan home.
Himitsu refuses the Library, becoming angry enough to attack the delivery people with his bamboo sword. They won’t tempt him with books, any more than his mother has been able to tempt him into leaving their apartment during the past two years. He has all he needs: video games, online forums, and his virtual girlfriend Moe. Well, almost all. His dad’s death has left a hole in him, which is why when he receives text messages saying the Library can bring back the dead, he changes his mind. Moe tries to warn him about the danger, but what does she know, anyway?
Now, having been lured into the Library and having foolishly brought their imaginary friends with them, Ivy and Himitsu find those friends are trapped. The teens have a choice: fulfill the Librarian’s odd and painful demands in hopes of rescuing their friends or go back alone to their small, boring lives, knowing they’ve failed the only ones who really believe in them.
All giraffes are named Janice, excepting a few heretics. The old guard, being traditionalists, are the most militant in asserting that this is the necessary state of affairs.
The Janice of our story, however, is not one of the old guard. He’s too young to be a veteran of the Nehming War, and to him the consequent Sophie massacre is something that happened to distant French relatives. Because of this, he is sometimes known to intimate that his name might, in fact, be Chanda. Despite this obvious breach in social graces, he doesn’t consider himself to be a deviant. In fact, he thinks of himself as quite normal. Janice is anything but normal. For one thing, he’s a giraffe. We mustn’t neglect this observation. Giraffes are not normal. But let us leave that aside for a moment and pretend they are. Humans, not being monstrosities except in aggregate, naturally regard involuntary baldness among the males as an unsightly defect. Bald men are likely to be regarded as degenerates. Some of them even become history teachers. Among boy giraffes, however, baldness of the ossicles—those little sticky-uppy bits on their heads—is a mark of honor gained by battering at other giraffes.
To his enduring shame, the tops of Janice’s ossicles are covered in thick, feathery hair. Not because he is cowardly (though he is) but because Janice has never met another giraffe. In fact, he’s never encountered a third dimension at all, being stuck in perpetual twilight in the paper jungle pasted to the wall of Ivy’s otherwise crappy little house.
About the Author:
Chad Musick grew up in Utah, California, Washington, Texas, and (most of all) Alaska. He fell in love in California and then moved with his family to Japan, where he’s found happiness. He earned a PhD in Mathematical Science but loves art and science equally.
Despite a tendency for electronic devices to burst into flame after Chad handles them, he persists in working in various technical and technology-related roles.
Chad makes no secret of being epileptic, autistic, and arthritic, facts that inform how he approaches both science and the arts.
Q&A With the Author: Chad Musick
What did you enjoy most about writing this book? This is my third book, and I think Imaginary Friends is the most conversational. It was enjoyable to write a book that was fun with a bit of the absurd. My goal was to write a book that people would find delightful. There is whimsy with sad moments interwoven throughout as the characters move through the book and overcome challenges. Both Ivy and Himitsu have very sad backstories. Ivy lost her parents when she was young and lives a very solitary lifestyle while Himitsu lives with his grandmother as a shut-in.
Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about? I’ve written two other books. Not My Ruckus is a literary fiction coming of age story that is quite dark. My second book is From the Lighthouse, which is a Fisher King story in which it is up to the reader to determine if the main character is a dragon or simply delusional. I’m currently working on two books more. One is a prequel to Imaginary Friends called Chalk, and the MC is one of the secondary characters in Imaginary Friends that was very popular with the beta readers named Simon. The second book I’m working on doesn’t have a title and is very early in its development but has a similar feel to Not My Ruckus.
Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future? I plan on continuing to write in a variety of styles and on a variety of topics. I like writing standalone books and switching up my style and content. It keeps writing interesting for me. I hope it keeps my audience interested as well.
How long have you been writing? I started writing in high school as a way to process my mother’s death from cancer when I was 14. I published my first novel in February of 2021. I think I’ll probably keep writing the rest of my life but am not sure how many more books I’ll write.
Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans? I hope everyone enjoys Imaginary Friends. It is meant to be light, conversational, and a bit whimsical.
Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Imaginary-Friends-Chad-Musick/dp/1953971733/
Chad Musick will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.