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Monday, 31 August 2015

Blog Tour Guest Post - Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground with Bunkie by Shelley Brown

Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground with Bunkie
Author: Shelley Brown
Genre: Second - Middle Grade/Adventure
Length: 4 pages
Release Date: August 1, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1514880319
IMPRINT: Sunquills

Book Description:
Set in a bustling meadow in the Colorado highlands, Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground with Bunkie is a light-hearted story about a rabbit who might have hopped right out of Mayberry and onto the black-and-white, boldly-illustrated page. But the adventures of this warm-fuzzy bunny won’t lull you to sleep. Life in the meadow for Bunkie Bernstein is no picnic – at least not until he gains access to the tasty vegetable patch on the Murdock Farm – a feat that requires the help of a scurrilous snake and shape-shifting flower. When a fire in the forest forces Bunkie to move, he befriends a pika that he just can’t quite trust. Whoever heard of a rabbit that can’t jump, anyway?

Things start to look up when Bunkie meets, Beatrice. This beautiful, cotton-white female rabbit is like a dream. However, Bunkie quickly learns that Beatrice is the one dreaming when he discovers that this beautiful bunny thinks she is human! Their eventful year comes to a close just as winter sets in, but not before encountering a ghost in the burrow – a perfect mystery on one fall hallowed eve.

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How Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground Came To Be

Bunkie made his presence known through a culmination of various factors. I have always been a fan of animals and have had a large variety of animal species as pets, including a blue-gray rabbit named Georgia, many years ago. Georgia was friendly, intelligent and quite affectionate. I was surprised at how similar having a pet rabbit was to having a pet cat or a pet dog. The memory of Georgia set the stage for Bunkie’s affable personality and served as the proto-type for Bunkie’s physical appearance.

Additionally, around the time that I began writing Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground with Bunkie, my aunt had unintentionally acquired two pet rabbits that had escaped captivity from the home of a nearby neighbor. To my aunt’s dismay, the furry visitors were making daily appearances in her tomato, black-eyed pea and flower patches – devouring them all – despite her multiple attempts to stop them. My aunt posted these events regularly on, and my husband and I were following the story.

The final influencing factor is simply that I enjoy drawing and writing. Prior to beginning Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground with Bunkie, I had written and illustrated a short book for young children about checking for tick bites after spending time outdoors. I enjoyed the process of writing and illustrating that book so thoroughly, that I couldn’t wait to start another book. I began the second book, before I had even attempted to publish the first.

All of these factors culminated in the creation of Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground with Bunkie and influenced the creation of the Bunkie Bernstein character. The character of the flying squirrel came from my experience rehabilitating flying squirrels in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Through the rehabilitation of flying squirrels, I became a flying squirrel owner, and became quite familiar with their elusive nature, making this animal a perfect fit for the mystery character in the final chapter. I dedicated Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground with Bunkie to the first flying squirrel that I rehabilitated, who my husband and I affectionately named Finneus.

Virtually everything that means anything in life is born out of some sort of strife, and for me, this was particularly true with regards to the creation of this book. Not long ago, I was employed at a large corporation, writing proposals for hundreds of millions of dollars in new business for that company. I had been there for several years, when I contracted a tick-borne illness that I have had a very difficult time healing. Eventually, I became too sick to stay with that company. It was very difficult to start over, and financially, that hardship was magnified. However, had I not become sick, I never would have found the time to write and illustrate children’s books – something that I enjoy much more than business writing for an inhuman, indifferent, mega-corporation.

About the Author
Author and illustrator Shelley Brown, M.A., spent much of the last two decades as a business writer and graphic artist. An avid lover of the outdoors, whenever she wasn’t working, Shelley could be found backpacking, rock climbing and biking in National Parks across the U.S. In 2012, however, Shelley contracted a tick-borne illness that prompted her to leave the high-intensity environment of the corporate landscape to try her hand at writing and illustrating children’s book. Her experience was the inspiration behind her first book, Peter, Pancho and the Pesky Tick, followed by Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground with Bunkie. Never losing her affinity for the outdoors, today, Shelley expresses her appreciation mostly through her writings and illustrations.

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