Starbunny, Inc. is far from autobiographical, but sadly, being lactose intolerant is something I have very much in common with the main character, Blue. When I first wrote the prequel “The Great Bunny Migration” for the Flight anthology, I was so young and carefree! I made a story about bunnies and milkshakes because I loved drawing cute things and eating and drinking ice cream! I grew up in a household that really appreciated their dairy products. I’d literally eat cereal for three meals a day and be happy. And there was no greater party than getting to eat pizza for dinner (or an order of mozzerella- and ricotta-stuffed shells), and a Coke float or strawberry milkshake for dessert.
Then, somewhere around 2008, my body turned on me! I ended up hospitalized for colitis, and was never able to look at my precious pizza or ice cream the same way again. I didn’t have to swear off cheese completely, but to this day I know I’m taking a big risk any time I let myself partake in the pleasure of milk-based treats. There are always consequences. Digestive pills like Lactaid only seem to delay the inevitable “blow out,” as we lovingly refer to it my household. I’ll refrain from going into too many more details, but much like the bunny in the last panel of page 15, I’m sure you get the idea.
The workaround has been adapting to non-dairy substitutes like soy and rice based milk. I’m so grateful to live in an age where these products are increasingly available. So I can still enjoy a bowl of rice krispies on a regular basis. And of course there are many delicious sorbets out there. But if I’m being honest, nothing can replace the childhood sense of wonder that comes from an old-timey ice cream parlor! The magic of small ice cream shops like Ample Hills Creamery and Mt. Dessert Island, that constantly create new flavors like Breakfast Cereal (with milk-sogged bits of Capt. Crunch in it)!! Why are these places trying to kill me?!
So yeah, Starbunny will explore some of my love/fear of ice cream in what will hopefully be a cute and funny way. And maybe together we can discover something equally delicious to help us cope in a world where milkshakes rule.