Category Archives: Twisted Road Writers

Surviving COVID with Imaginary Friends

I have been wondering this for a while: Has it been easier or more difficult for really creative people to cope with the forced isolation brought on by the pandemic? I asked several Twisted Road authors about their experiences of writing during COVID. The response below is from S. W. Leicher, Author of Acts of Assumption.

Why do children invent imaginary friends? To have the companionship they don’t enjoy elsewhere. To provide themselves with reassurance. To stretch their minds.

Why do adults invent imaginary friends? To survive a pandemic.

I have been one of the fortunate ones and I thank my lucky stars for it, every single day.  When COVID knocked New York City on its back last spring, I was able to keep myself safe and sane.  I was already semi-retired.  I was neither alone in my apartment nor living with a group of people whose comings and goings were beyond my control.

And I had an idea for the sequel to my novel.

I couldn’t go downtown to meet with clients.  Couldn’t sing with my chorus.  Couldn’t go to the gym.  Couldn’t have friends and family over for dinner. Couldn’t even have those marvelous serendipitous conversations that New Yorkers have with the person sharing a subway pole with them as the Q train lurches across the Manhattan Bridge.

But I could sit down at my desk every day to fill my head with conversations and adventures and questions that clearly related to but also definitely preceded the grim and consuming crises of 2020.  I could chat once again with the old friends who peopled my first novel.  I could share a subway pole—or a garage in the South Bronx or an office in a Jerusalem yeshiva—with a slew of new and intriguing characters.

At one point, when I was excitedly testing out a potential plot sequence over dinner with my poor captive-audience husband, he looked up at me over his plate of rice and beans and said: “Susan—you know these characters aren’t real, don’t you?”

“What?” I replied. “They aren’t?”

Being a writer can be a lonely pursuit.  When the muse strikes, it can mean six and seven hours a day in front of a keyboard, all alone, seven days a week.  In a time of pandemic, however, it provides an incomparable oasis, an escape, a wonderland of marvelous companions to tide a person through hard times.

Find out more about the author and her writing at her website,
Or you can order her book HERE

Do you have a story about surviving the pandemic? Send us your (very short – 500 words or less) story to and we’ll post our favorites.

Upcoming Events

Susan Leicher: Acts of Assumption

Author Talk
Wednesday, October 16, 7 pm
Broadside Bookshop
247 Main St
Northampton, MA


Lisa Sturm: Echoed in My Bones

Launch #1
Thursday, September 12, 7 pm
The Woodland, Parlor (upstairs)
60 Woodland Road
Maplewood, NJ

Launch #2
Sunday, September 22, 4 pm
The Book House
281 Essex Street, Millburn, NJ


Elizabeth McCulloch: Dreaming the Marsh

Book Launch
Sunday, September 15, 3PM
Matheson History Museum
513 University Avenue Gainesville, Florida

Dreams of Payne’s Prairie, a Book Talk
Monday, October 28, 8PM
1010 Kendall Way
Sleepy Hollow, New York

Reading and Signing
Saturday, November 2, 2PM
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park 
County Road 325  Cross Creek FL

Writing “Timely” Fiction: Reflections from the Author

When I first set out to write Acts of Assumption, back in 2014, I had no intention of producing something “timely.”  I had no plan to provide what one Haitian friend called “a much-needed, eye-opening and affectionate introduction to three ‘outsider’ cultures—Jewish, Latina and gay—that are so often misjudged in this country.”

My idea was simply to write a short story about a fervently-Orthodox little boy who finds himself dealing with a very odd affliction.

As things turned out, however, that little boy needed an older sister who could narrate and translate his story to a readership who might not be familiar with “sitting shiva” or ritual circumcisions or mincha ma-ariv prayer services.  And no sooner than that sister began taking shape, she began whispering: “I don’t fit in with my family.  I’m different. I’m gay. Tell my story.”  And then, of course, that sister needed a partner—and that partner turned out to be Latina.  And then, WHOOSH, the novel began taking off in all sorts of new directions—inspired and fueled by my lucky and beloved ties to all three of those “outsider” worlds.

And now, four years later—tragically—we have a white nationalist who opens fire on a Jewish synagogue because Jewish organizations dare to support refugees who are fleeing war and famine.  We have a powerful segment of the country shouting for a wall against Latinos and increasing attacks on LGBTQI individuals—and against anyone else deemed to be “other” in a nation that is actually largely comprised of “other.”

So, it seems I have written a “timely” novel.

That being the case—I offer the book up with the prayer that it will somehow, in some small way, advance the idea that in every culture (as in every family) there exists both beauty and strengths and difficulties and dysfunctions.  And that—therefore—it is our duty to try to learn from one another and bear with one another and support one another and try to find our way together.   ~ S. W. Leicher

Acts of Assumption will be released on November 30th. It is available for pre-order

Pre-Order Here