I'm not a native Texan, but know an exquisite spot here when I find one. The first time I visited Garner State Park in West Texas, history and legend seemed to leach from the soil and settle on me. It was springtime, the grape smelling mountain laurel mingling with fragrant cedar. For background noise was the Frio River, meandering through the park like a languorous snake.
Over the years, I'd heard tales about Garner; wonderful stories about campouts and hayrides, and cowboys who gather at the pavilion for the nightly summer dances, hoping to two-step into the hearts of starry-eyed women.
Visit the links below to read more about Garner State Park.Wild Texas Garner Park
Between the friendly people who call this paradise home, down to the landscape, which leaves you breathless, the park and surrounding areas were everything I'd imagined and more. I was inspired to write Jack Rabbit Moon after my initial visit.
You might wonder why the jack rabbits play a role in this book. Our first trip there, they milled and loped around our cabin, morning and evening. I'd seen jack rabbit pictures in books, but pictures could not compare to the real thing. After observing those ears, tall as Abraham Lincoln's top hat, I knew the rabbits were fated for the story. If light hit their ears just right, they seemed translucent, red veins pulsing through like skinny rivers. They were not skittish, which surprised me. The only time the rabbits seemed nervous was when a mysterious smell blew in on the wind.
Marnie Evans was someone else I loved creating and including in the book. She is the quirky, but loveable, eleven-year-old protagonist in the novel, and was inspired by my youngest daughter, Grace, born a few months before my mother was lost to cancer. She was my saving Grace. I wanted to show how faith and attitude make it possible to pull through the toughest situations no matter what your age. Yes, Marnie goes through a lot, but always manages to land on her feet. She knows she is responsible for her own happiness.
One thing readers might not realize is how attached an author gets to the story and characters they have created. Even though fictional novels are made to entertain and enlighten, it still feels as though these are real people with real joys and sorrows. I suppose that's how you know you've written something someone can relate to.
My only wish for you as a reader is to enjoy this story as much as I've enjoyed creating it. So please sit back, take off your shoes or boots, whichever the case may be, and relish a sliver of Texas.
Eleven-year-old Marnie Evans longs to be precious. She wishes on stars for parents who adore her, even though her family is dysfunctional. She also believes that jack rabbits and a boot-wearing Texas angel show her mysterious signs of things to come. Continue Reading