Marissa Doyle’s crepuscular critters
Today on Fiction and Fur we have Marissa Doyle, best-selling author of young adult and historical fiction. Join me in welcoming Marissa.
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Courtship and Curses.
I’m a cat person. I grew up with cats and adore them, and like visiting my mother not only because she’s mom, but because I can hang out with her two Siamese cats. We call it ‘kitty therapy.’ My husband, alas, is allergic to cats, as is my son. Whenever we went to my Mom’s for holidays, my husband would wear a heavy-duty particle-filtering mask or else he’d have an asthma attack in about thirty minutes. My niece and nephew used to call him “Uncle Darth” (as in Vader) as a result. Needless to say, Christmas is now at my house.
So I assumed we’d be a petless family because…um, dogs? No, not a dog person. And gerbils and hamsters never particularly appealed to me either.
And then one day my son volunteered us to take care of his class bunny over school vacation. I was worried–my husband would not be able to manage being Uncle Darth for an entire week. But to our surprise, neither he nor our son had any problems with having a bunny in the house. And little Butterscotch was so darned cute…
And that’s how we became bunny people.
Our current buns are named Saffron and Beatrice, and they are total lovebirds. We lost Saffron’s sister Asuka to an infection, and knew we had to find him a new playmate. He went on several “dates” with bunnies from our local rabbit rescue, and it was love at first sight with him and Bea-bunny. He used to be a total fraidy bun, but when the even-more-timid Beatrice moved in, he totally became the man of the family and is much braver and more laid back…and has helped her get over her difficult origins (she was rescued from a horrible hoarding case.) Both bunnies have been fixed, by the way: the House Rabbit Network (www.rabbitnetwork.org), a MA based rabbit rescue group, takes care of this for all the bunnies it fosters and finds home for.
Do your bunnies help or hinder your writing process?
They don’t really affect my writing at all, as I write primarily in the late morning through the afternoon, which is prime siesta time for them. Rabbits are crepuscular, which means they’re most active near dawn and dusk. So by the time I’m done writing for the day, they’re starting to wake up from their day’s hard sleeping and are ready for snack-time and supper part one. Saffron and Beatrice are pretty self-contained, but our very first bunny, Simon, used to come galloping up the stairs to my office and snooze under my writing desk while I was working. Saffron and Beatrice won’t even consider climbing stairs.
Bunnies are awesome pets for writers because they don’t bark (though they do like playing with noisy toys) and are litter-box trainable. Saffron and Beatrice don’t even have a cage–they’re totally free-range, like a housecat. That means a certain amount of house-proofing was necessary–Beatrice likes to chew on wires–but it wasn’t anything too difficult.
Tell us a little about your latest release or your work in progress.
I’ve had two recent YA books come out: the paperback edition of Courtship and Curses, the third book in my Leland Sisters series, about a young witch making her debut in London society in 1815 and foiling a dastardly French plot, and Charles Bewitched, a novella set in the same world and with some of the same characters as my first book, Bewitching Season. For my work in progress I’ve changed both continents and centuries, and am writing a YA historical fantasy set on Cape Cod just as the US enters World War I. I’m also awaiting edits for my first adult book, a contemporary fantasy set in a fictional university in Boston where the Greek gods are alive and well and teaching Classics. It’ll be coming from Entangled Publishing in fall of 2014.
If Saffron and Beatrice could talk, what secret would they tell us about you?
That Mom is a total pushover because she thinks we’re soooooo adorable. We just wish it translated into more freeze-dried banana slices at snack-time, but she’s really strict that way. She does talk good baby-talk to us, though, and has a thing for re-writing Gilbert and Sullivan lyrics to include references to bunnies. She doesn’t sing them very well, though.