TikTok inspires Lac La Hache writer – Williams Lake Tribune
A Lac La Hache author found inspiration through TikTok.
Bonita Forsyth has found a new way to engage with her fans — old and new — through a new TikTok account, Huckleberry Hollow, a collaborative effort with her daughter-in-law Raven Gentry. TikToks consist of stills of his art and books, as well as royalty-free music.
“Making these little videos inspired me to no end,” said Forsyth, 69, adding that she had no social media or sales during the pandemic. “Raven throws them for me and adds the animation and special effects.”
Forsyth, a lifelong illustrator and painter, was first inspired by writing while teaching first grade at Lac La Hache Elementary School. His first book snowboard bunny was based on an old story she had told her son Jonathan. One of the characters is named after his son, while the snowboard bunny is later named Sunny.
“I love teaching, I love story time, I visualize stories going through my head all the time, so I decided to try writing children’s books,” he said. she declared.
The book proved popular both in his class and around the South Cariboo, and Forsyth eventually created the Huckleberry Hollow series of children’s books, based on sites and experiences around Lac La Hache. Local animals are the stars of the series, from a kitten befriending a fawn to a rescued white mouse that appears in every book.
“I loved animals so much and wanted kids to love them too. I would put a factual page at the end of every book, for education,” Forsyth said. “I realized, as a teacher , that a 35-page picture book is just perfect for story time for first graders, so I knew I had to prepare so many paintings.”
After retiring from teaching, Forsyth hit the road “traveling as far as his car could take him” to visit schools and book signings across the province. As his audience grew, Forsyth’s books also matured, evolving into chapter books. One night in a dream, she had an idea for a mirror fantasy world that her character Jonathan, still based on her son, would find when her bunny Sunny accidentally entered it.
She dubbed the world Mineria, a planet that had no pollution and whose inhabitants had evolved from insects to look like fairy humans with wings, four fingers and an antenna. Forsyth eventually wrote a trilogy of books titled Ice, Fire and Air who explored this world and its interactions with ours, illustrated with his sketches.
“I love the ending and the kids are constantly writing to me to make one now called Earth“, said Forsyth. “I could see it, but after all this work I wanted to go back to my paintings and that’s why I’m doing another picture book.
Forsyth has already started work on a new version of one of his second books, blueberry tea, the story of a “hairy bear”. She is looking forward to revisiting the story and painting new pieces and aims to complete it by 2024.
Forsyth said she’s grateful that Gentry “showed her the way” to understanding social media. She currently has 129 subscribers, but once she hits 1,000, Forsyth said she can go live and take her readers behind the scenes.
“I was really scared at first, when she first put me on Facebook, I was just overwhelmed with how many people there were and how non-private it was,” a- she declared. “Now I’m getting used to it and loving TikTok the most because I have a whole bunch of relationships with other writers and artists and I learn so much from them and they’re so supportive of my work.”
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