Tag Archives: J R Collins

First Line Friday — The Boy Who Danced with Rabbits

18 Jun

Happy Friday! We have been visiting the North Georgia mountains since our daughter attended college there 10 years ago. We were so excited when we acquired a cabin in those hills. Now we have a newer house that, while still nestled in the wooded hills, is a bit more suited to a future retirement home. 😉 With vivid sunsets, mountain views, waterfall hikes, and an abundance of flora and fauna, we love our time there. My husband discovered a book set in those hills and hollers set during the settlement of the area. The area in which our home is situated is Choestoe, or land of the dancing rabbits. Don’t you just love it! 🙂 J. R. Collins, a native of the area, has penned an award winner in The Boy Who Danced with Rabbits. My husband has already read it and is on to the next in the series. It is now waiting on me.

Here is the first line:

I am the last of my time and kind.

Irish settlers homestead the Southern Appalachian Mountains of 1815. 

The Collins family were early settlers to their Appalachian home at the base of Ben’s Knob Mountain. The native Cherokee welcomed them for the most part, some would not. They never got comfortable with the new immigrants from foreign lands invading their home. Hostilities were common in some areas, sought after peace was found in others. It was a time of change for all involved. 

Jebediah Collins, and his best friend Wolf, a full blood Cherokee Indian of the same age, are raised to manhood during this time of change. They live in a valley called Choestoe. This is a Cherokee name which means, the land where rabbits dance. It is a most beautiful place in among the big ridges that surround it. Spiritual as the Indians believed it. Many of those that settled in Choestoe became close friends with the Cherokee. Some even married into each others families and had children. It became the way for many. Jeb’s family, too.

The old growth forest that covered the mountains when Jeb and Wolf were growing up provided the perfect environment for two curious mountain boys. The adventures they spawn during their travels become legend. Whether they are saving an injured slave running for her life through the woods, fending off battle hardened Indian warriors, following a black mountain cat through the mountains for purpose, or dealing with the sudden loss of loved ones, Jeb and Wolf live on through it all. Growing and maturing with each separate adventure or circumstance. 

The story is told by Jebediah Collins when he is aged ninety years. All his friends have made their journey across the Great River to be with the ancestors. Jeb knows he will soon follow, but before his time comes to join friends and family, he wants to tell his story to all that will listen. A story of growing up when life was lived in complete freedom destined by the Will of God. A time when two adventurous mountain boys learned about life, love, and loss, in a land where the rabbits dance.

Rooted in ancestral heritage, JR Collins grew up in the Appalachian valley of Choestoe. Home of his ancestors and family since the late 18th century. An outdoors-man, trained by his father to respect home and the tradition of faith and family, watched as the invasion of progress took his sacred mountain existence. The stories of times forgotten sparked at a young age and he found himself with a need to pass on tradition, to some extent, to the next generation. Married and raising teenage twins, strengthened by a desire for his children to understand the efforts of family, that bought them the right to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Southern Appalachian Mountains.