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  • Writer's pictureT.R. Slauf

The Rabbit Man - What, Why & How I wrote it

Updated: Jun 10

The Rabbit Man book with two 5-star review seals
Cover Art by Inkwolf Designs

Rabbit Man is a horror novel, a collection of short stories and flash fiction. But it's more than that, it was a cathartic and therapeutic writing break, it is real-life problems blown up under a microscope, lastly it is a tangled web.

Maybe I should back-up a bit and start from the beginning.

Early in my author career (I count this as the time after I made the conscious decision to sit down and finish one book and write a sequel, around 2019) I was working a day job in a generic grey office and writing Redemption at night while promoting Hidden Realm. As much as I loved writing the Legends of Lightning books it was not an easy task. I was new to authoring and it was grueling task. A true labor love full of long, lonely nights.

I often times was unsure if being an author would work for me or if I would crash and burn. Needless to say, getting those two books drafted took its toll.

Whenever I was in need of a mental break or a pick-me-up I found myself jotting down snippets of other stories. One or two pages of new characters on quick adventures hunting witches, or detectives cracking a case. I took old children's stories and played with their verses and themes, twisting them into something new.

After years of these drabbles coming and going, I found full stories scattered across multiple notebooks and scraps of paper. The first one I assembled was the title story, The Rabbit Man. Originally this story was told in two parts. The first from the rabbit himself, the second from his unwitting victim. Then came Poison, a classic tale of revenge and haunting.

By 2023 I realized I had enough material to create several full-length stories and novelettes. The Rabbit Man got a third part, Poison had two more added. From puzzling together my notes came eight total short terrors, one being a flash fiction about a demon hunting cat, Mr. Tibbles.

A long-haired cat laying on a shelf
Illustration by Miss Vie Book Designs

Once the stories were completed, I contemplated them. (For what was probably longer than entirely necessary). Did I want them published? Were they worthy of sending out to my readers? At the very least, were they mildly entertaining?

See, something about The Rabbit Man I struggled with was my other works are fantasy. So fantastical that they take place in magick realms far away from real-life society and issues, in contrast, the stories in The Rabbit Man take place down the road. They feature terrible truths and heart-breaking realities we all face every day. Familial abuse, addiction, and abandonment put on display in a New York apartment feel more real than when it's depicted in a made-up realm. And let me be clear, a few of these stories are dark. Obsession and The Rabbit Man may be some of the darkest work's I've done yet.

Once more, I laid bare some of my own nightmares and experiences. For instance, the plot of Vanished was one such nightmare I had continuously after I first married my spouse. Although the nightmares I experienced were different than the final version that made it to paper, (where I ended up in an asylum after my spouse inexplicably disappeared without a trace) the terror it instilled in me was still very real. The sibling relationship in Horse Play, let's just say I seriously watered-down my own to pen that part ... Did I want my nightmares on display in my published works?

With these considerations in mind, I came to an important conclusion. True terror comes not from the monsters hiding in the imagination, but from what humans do to each other on a daily basis across the globe. Some of these stories highlight very real issues and terrors that have plagued us since written record and will continue to do so for decades to come.

That is what makes them terrifying.

That is what makes them important.

A spilled travel coffee mug and a shattered smart-phone
Illustration by Miss Vie Book Designs

After deciding to finalize and publish these stories, I got to thinking ... where are these all happening? Are the hauntings happening down the road from the detective's office? Or are they in different universes? Could ghosts and real-life monsters live in the same plane of existence?

Yes. Yes, they could.

When editing and fleshing out the stories, I started adding in references and call outs to each other. Eventually making the whole novel an Easter egg hunt! Which I think is very fitting. The title story does have a bunny mascot head in it ...

I found I rather enjoyed planting the Easter eggs and decided to take it a step further. I'm considering crafting a book box where each item is linked to a story. As you read you would have a checklist to help solve the mystery of which item belongs to which story. A bit corny - yes. A lot of fun - absolutely!

(Let me know below if this type of book box sounds interesting to you!)

Guinea pig with a monster shadow
Illustration by Miss Vie Book Designs

Overall, writing The Rabbit Man collection has been a long process, but very fulfilling. Once the stories were finalized and the Easter eggs hidden, I worked with a wonderful artist to create illustrations for each one and commissioned a fun yet haunting cover.

And who knows, maybe some of these characters will live on to make appearances in future works. A series about an order of demon hunting house cats sounds like a blast to write!

A carousal horse neighing ominously
Illustration by Miss Vie Books Designs

Read the 5-star Literary Review of The Rabbit Man on Reder Views

Read the 5-star Literary Review of The Rabbit Man on Independant Book Review

Read the 5 and 4-star Literary Reviews of The Rabbit Man on Reader's Favorite

The Rabbit Man is scheduled to release on June 18, 2024.

Pre-Order your copy today!

Pre-Order sale $0.99 (USD)

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