Thanks to Among Animals 2 contributor Rachel King for answering our questions about her story, “A Normal Rabbit.” And save the date: Rachel will be appearing with Catherine Evleshin at Annie Bloom’s in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday, October 13, at 7 p.m. for a reading from Among Animals 2.
Q: What inspired you to write this story?
A: My friend works with special needs kids, and I showed rabbits in 4-H when I was a kid. Both areas of knowledge inspired this story.
Q: What was your writing/research process?
A: I challenged myself to write a story that happened in one day, and this story flowed from there.
Q: How does using animals in 4-H clubs (putting them in shows, raising them as food) affect the children in your story? How do you think such clubs affect children in general?
A: When her pet rabbit kills its offspring, Allie becomes scared of rabbits, their violence and foreignness. She opens back up to them while showing her rabbit at the fair. Drew has a connection with the rabbit Camper that he doesn’t yet have with human beings. Children in general can have similar reactions to animals in 4-H: They can think them strange before they accept them and/or their interactions with animals can bring out aspects of their personalities–gentleness, maybe, or caring–that they don’t show as much among their human friends.
Q: Which writers inspire you the most?
A: Carson McCullers, Jim Shepard, Mary Gaitskill, Robert Hass
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from your story?
A: I want readers to enjoy following Allie around for the day; seeing the fair, her brother, and the 4-H event through her eyes.
Q: Why did you pick a child narrator?
A: Allie’s point of view allows the reader to work through the story’s situations slowly, without the immediate assumptions adults often bring. She perceives facts before she makes judgments, something younger children do more often than adults.