Today we have a very special Q&A … between author Michelle Cuevas and Jacques Papier, the imaginary friend whose “memoir” she told in Confessions of an Imaginary Friend, in stores now.
JACQUES PAPIER: I’m so happy to be here. I mean… I’m not actually HERE here, since I’m imaginary, but you know, in the theoretical way I’m happy to be “here.”
Wait, sorry… what was the question?
INTERVIEWER: We’re also joined by Michelle Cuevas, the author who wrote Jacques’ tale into book form. Michelle, could you tell us a bit about what drew you to Jacques’ story?
MICHELLE CUEVAS: Hi, thanks for having us! Well, I suppose I’ve always been drawn to books like The Velveteen Rabbit, songs like “Puff The Magic Dragon,” movies like Toy Story. I’ve always been interested in work that explores what it means to be “real.”
INTERVIEWER: And Jacques, what inspired you to tell your tale?
JP: I guess I just wanted there to be a story out there for everyone who has ever felt like I did; everyone who has felt unseen and invisible at some point in their lives. Some people probably feel like that right now. And I wanted them to know that they’re not alone.
Also, I’d like to meet Oprah.
INTERVIEWER: Speaking of backstory, Michelle, a little birdy told me that you had some imaginary friends of your own as a child?
MC: Jacques! I told you not to tell anyone!
JP: I’m sorry. But those names…
MC: Okay, okay, fine. I did. And their names were… Poodie and LaLa.
JP: I told you the names were ridiculous!!
MC: It’s true. One was a dragon and one looked like an old rag doll. I used to throw these very elaborate tea parties all the time. I was like the Jay Gatsby of tea parties, and they would always be there.
INTERVIEWER: Jacques, if you had one piece of advice for our readers, what would it be?
JP: You’re only as invisible as you feel, imaginary or not.
Oh, and don’t ever tell anyone the names of the imaginary friends you had as a kid. You’ll never live it down.
INTERVIEWER: Michelle, if you had a piece of advice for aspiring writers out there, imaginary or not, what would it be?
MC: I would say find the story that it feels impossible for you NOT to tell. I think the best experience is when a book gives you a feeling of coming back home as you’re writing it, which this story did for me.
INTERVIEWER: Thank you, Jacques and Michelle, for joining us!
MC & JP: Thanks so much for having us!
Michelle Cuevas and Jacque Papier’s new novel, Confessions of an Imaginary Friend: A Memoir by Jacques Papier is now available from Dial/Penguin Books for Young Readers.