Author and illustrator Shelley Brown, M.A., spent much of the last two decades as a business writer and graphic artist. An avid lover of the outdoors, whenever she wasn’t working, Shelley could be found backpacking, rock climbing and biking in National Parks across the U.S.
In 2012, however, Shelley contracted a tick-borne illness that prompted her to leave the high-intensity environment of the corporate landscape to try her hand at writing and illustrating children’s book. Her experience was the inspiration behind her first boo k, Peter, Pancho and the Pesky Tick, followed by Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground with Bunkie. Never losing her affinity for the outdoors,today, Shelley expresses her appreciation mostly through her writings and illustrations.
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MAGIC, MAYHEM AND LIFE UNDERGROUND WITH BUNKIE
BARNES & NOBLE
Bunkie made his presence known through a culmination of various factors. I have
always been a fan of animals and have had a large variety of animal species as pets, including a blue-gray rabbit named Georgia, many years ago. Georgia wasfriendly, intelligent and quite affectionate. I was surprised at how similar having a pet rabbit was to having a pet cat or a pet dog. The memory of Georgia set the stage for Bunkie’s affable personality and served as the proto-type for Bunkie’s physical appearance
Additionally, around the time that I began writing Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground
with Bunkie, my aunt had unintentionally acquired two pet rabbits that had escaped captivity from the home of a nearby neighbor. To my aunt’s dismay, the furry visitors were making daily appearances in her tomato, black-eyed pea and flower patches –devouring them all – despite her multiple attempts to stopthem. My aunt posted these events regularly on NextDoor.com, and my husband and I were following the story. The final influencing factor is simply that I enjoy drawing and writing. Prior to beginning Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground with Bunkie, I had written and illustrated a shortbook for young children about checking for tick bites after spending time outdoors. I enjoyed the process of writing and
illustrating that book so thoroughly, that I couldn’t wait to start another book. I began the
second book, before I had even attempted topublish the first. All of these factors culminated in the creation of Magic, Mayhem and Life Undergroundwith Bunkie and influenced the creation of the Bunkie Bernstein character. The characterof the flying squirrel came from my experience rehabilitating flying squirrels in myhometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Through the rehabilitation of flying squirrels, Ibecame a flying squirrel owner, and became quite familiar with their elusive nature, making this animal a perfect fit for the mystery character in the final chapter. I dedicated Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground with Bunkie to the first flying squirrel that I rehabilitated, who my husband and I affectionately named Finne
us. Virtually everything that means anything in life is born out of some sort of strife, and for
me, this was particularly true with regards to the creation of this book. Not long ago, I
was employed at a large corporation, writing proposals for hundreds of millions of dollars
in new business for that company. I had been there for several years, when I contracted atick-borne illness that I have had a very difficult time healing. Eventually, I became too sick to stay with that company. It was very difficult to start over, and financially, that hardship was magnified. However, had I not become sick, I never would have found the time to write and illustrate children’s books – something that I enjoy much more than business writing for an inhuman, indifferent, mega-corporation