I’m learning all sorts of interesting things about my characters, old and new, as I write The Passion of the Purple Plumeria.
Among other things, for the very first time, we get to see Miles in situ in his family home, not Loring House in London, but the familial seat in Hampshire. It’s situated outside the small town of Bunny-on-the-Wold.
To anyone who was wondering if that’s a thinly veiled Blackadder reference, yes, yes, it is. They don’t have any dachshunds, though, and certainly not one named Colin. That might get a little confusing.
If you think the name of the town might be related to Henrietta’s stuffed animal, you’re also right. As some of you may recall, it was Miles who gave Henrietta her beloved stuffed animal, Bunny-the-bunny. Little had I known that this was a direct result of spending his early years at Bunny-on-the-Wold, where the bunny is something of a local mascot.
Local legend has it that the village of Bunny-on-the-Wold was founded when an archer, seeking his dinner, followed a fleeing hare through the forest. The bunny led him in twists and turns, far from home, until, bursting into a clearing, he found a crystal clear stream bounded by berry bushes by which slept a lady of surpassing loveliness. The bunny hopped away unmolested, the archer married the lady, and fresh raspberry jam was enjoyed by all. (Sadly, there are no such things as ginger biscuit bushes.)
Ever since then, Bunny-on-the-Wold has celebrated its founding rabbit with carrot festivals, a bizarre local folk dance including much hopping (and some rather suggestive tail waggling), and commemorative stuffed animals.
Let it be said, however, that Henrietta has drawn the line at wearing bunny ears for the local harvest festival. Miles, however, wears his ears with pride. They help hold back that floppy lock of hair.
(Don’t worry, neither the harvest festival nor the bunny dance is in the book. These are the things I save for you guys here on the website.)