With only three days left until the official release of Northern Roses and Southern Belles, I wanted to talk about something that has been slowly driving me insane since, oh, about the time I sent back the first round of edits on my story, The Colonial and the Cottontail.
As you might have guessed, my story has a rabbit in it. It’s just a story prop like any other, well, that’s not quite true either. When I first started researching the actual history of the period, and began thinking about a story I could write based on this history, a rabbit hopped into my brain.
Rabbits don’t have much to do with the Civil War–at least not that I know of, no more than a squirrel, say, at any rate. Nothing in my research documents included a rabbit. And it’s not as if I am well acquainted with rabbits–I haven’t given them much thought throughout my life, not that I have anything against them (as either a pet or a stew). Having said that, I have never personally owned a rabbit as a pet, nor do I ever recall eating a rabbit stew. However, the first thing–before I knew the character of my hero, and before I knew my heroine AT ALL, there was this rabbit.
Because of the rabbit, I discovered my heroine had a son and her character pretty much wrote herself after that. I had nothing to do with her development–it was all the rabbit.
But here’s the thing. A rabbit has been following me. Well, not so much following as appearing in front of me, and not so much one rabbit as a few different rabbits. I spent a week at a wonderful cottage by a river a few weeks ago, and there was a rabbit who enjoyed the bounty of the cottage’s grass every afternoon. I could go out on the patio and the rabbit would look at me for a minute and then go about his business, but when my man appeared, it would take off.
Almost every day, it seems, I see a rabbit on the side of the road as I come home or go to work. And a rabbit has taken up almost permanent residence in my back yard. The backyard of MY unit in a townhouse complex, mind you. The one without any kind of garden whatsoever (unlike many of my neighbours). I don’t ever remember seeing a rabbit living in this greenspace before, although one has hopped through every few years or so.
Now, either Southwestern Ontario has had a sudden rabbit population explosion–in which case you’d think I’d hear about it on the news, or something else is going on here.
Am I just noticing them now, where I didn’t before? Have you ever had a story prop come to life? Will it ever go away?