Mary, the bunny from The Tanglewood Wedding Shop
I love incorporating pets into my writing because, let's face it, many of us have them and they're part of our families. My lovely little Westie, who passed away over three years ago, was a huge part of Sunshine at Cherry Tree Farm. Writing about Nell, the Border Collie, in The Tanglewood Flower Shop made me realise just how much I missed having dog in my life, and encouraged me to have Poppy, my adorable Cockapoo.
The Tanglewood Wedding Shop is no exception. Let me introduce Mary, the cute white rabbit.
Mary is actually based on my own childhood bunny, Dylis. Dylis started life with us as Dylan; until my dad took her to the vets and was informed that he was a she.
And what a character she was! She loved crisps, sweets and chocolate (probably not the best things to give a rabbit, but I was eight-years-old and wanted to share my treats with my friend), and used to bang on her bowl if my dad forgot to feed her. Feeding her was his job, mine was cuddles and playing, my mother's was to think up daft ideas. Like the time she suggested that my father took Dylis for a walk, for instance.
My family home backed onto a pretty meadow. It had once been an allotment but had fallen into disuse, and I remember it being full of long, waving grasses and wildflowers.
My mum thought it would be the ideal place for Dylis to stretch her legs.
Unfortunately, our next door neighbours, who had two Dalmatian dogs, were thinking exactly the same thing.
None of the animals were on any kind of leash, which was understandable where the dogs were concerned, because they often used to be let loose in the meadow to run about to their hearts content.
Not so Dylis. She'd never been out of the garden before, and so what occurred next was inevitable.
The dogs spotted the rabbit. The rabbit, sensibly, ran like hell with the dogs hot on het fluffy white heels. My dad chased after all three, with our neighbour following, and me racing hysterically after them. My mother's contribution was to stand on the side screaming at the top of her voice.
I can't remember what happened next, but I do know that Dylis was safely caught and returned to her pen, and wasn't taken for a walk again. She had to make do with hopping around the garden.
My dad blamed my mum for suggesting such a ridiculous thing as taking a bunny for a walk, and my mother blamed my dad for listening to her in the first place.
And I'm grateful to all of them for providing such a rich source of material. Thanks, guys x