That’s no lie. I’m telling the absolute truth.

            Although I live alone, in a two-bedroom apartment, with one bedroom designated as my office, it is quickly filling up with characters of all types, sizes, and dispositions. And I’m having a lot of fun with them.

            Okay, how is that possible?

            They’re the ones from my books. I’ve got Mollie Fenwick, the protagonist in my Mollie Fenwick Mystery Series, an artist/bus driver who acquired psychic ability after her husband died. She doesn’t want the ability and, because with it she sees crimes, she has to solve them herself. Why? Otherwise she would have to admit to the cops that she was at the scene of the crime. She’s like me in that she is an artist, but not in other ways. She’s daring and goes into situations I would never ever consider, though with shaking knees. I’ve become quite fond of her and would miss her if she ever left.

            Then there’s her next-door-neighbor, Lt. Bradley Bartholomew, the hunky homicide detective who unwillingly accepts her penchant for seeing visions and who spends a good deal of time trying to either protect Mollie or get her out of trouble. He’s tall, blue-eyed, has hair burnished here and there with red lights, and a most fantastic body. If only he were really in my apartment.

            Then there’s Jack Wolf, a walk-on character that was supposed to be short-lived. But he planted his feet firmly on the ground and refused to budge. He stayed on, becoming a kickboxing instructor for Mollie and others in the second book, Murder For Kicks. He’s a Native American with long, flowing black hair, penetrating eyes, and a body that won’t stop. He’s friends with and a sometimes rival with Bartholomew. He’s also slightly dangerous, goes on secret missions, which Mollie would love to learn about, but she has to be satisfied with his being in her life. He occupies another part of my apartment.

            Then there’s Victor Marino, an investigator with the Inver Grove Heights Police Department. He came fromChicago, hopefully to a quieter and less dangerous place, but finds himself solving the case of The Hierophant, a killer obsessed by ancient Greek mythology. Marino is dark haired, good looking, and has a master’s in Criminology and Ancient Religions – and the killer was at the same university Marino was. He’s quite different from Wolf or Bartholomew, but then this is a grittier type of setting. I wouldn’t give him up either.

            There are others, like Jennifer Solheim, newly promoted to investigator for the same police department as Marino, a blond with all the attributes I’d love to have. She has something in her past that needs to be solved, and which keeps Marino not only on his toes, but finding himself falling in love with her.

            The list could go on and on, adding Chief Blake Morgan fromNorthern Minnesota, who finds himself solving a mysteriously repeating series of crimes, starting with the 1800s. And Lisa, who inherits a home in his town.

            Others also include a Viking pirate, a would-be police detective, and a new one, a young woman P.I. who finds herself in 1945Chicago. Though newly added to the group in my home, she’s become very important to me and I’m anxious to see how things turn out for her – and me. In case you’re now worried about my sanity, I’m in no danger of coming to believe they’re real. Besides, that would probably backfire and take all the fun out of it.

            In the meantime, I’ll keep them with me. Fortunately, they keep quiet when I’m trying to sleep – most of the time.

            Do any of you have similar attachments to your characters? What would you do, or have you done, when putting them on a shelf, or away forever?

Joan K. Maze

Writing as J. K. Maze