Bonita Forsyth, the Lac la Hache-based children’s book author, has released the third book (her ninth overall) of The Chronicles of Mineria trilogy, titled Air.
The third novel introduces Arianna, an 11-year-old girl from the Canadian Northwest as the new main character instead of Jonathan who acted as the protagonist, along with Sunny Bunny the snowboarding bunny, in the prior two novels of the series.
Arianna is actually the niece of Jonathan and the daughter of Jesse, his older brother who was introduced in the second book, Fire.
Another change in the third book is the switch of portraying Arianna’s adventure in the first person, rather than third-person as she did for the first two books.
At the suggestion of her editor during the writing of Fire, Arlene Prunkl, Forsyth decided to stick with one point of view rather than switch between narration and character’s point of views.
“I was sort of switching from being inside the head of one of my characters and seeing through them as the point of view and then I’d switch to storyteller and I’d go back into the point of view from another character,” she said. “She said it would be better if I stuck to one point of view.
“On the third one [Air] I wanted it to be totally from this child’s point of view from when she was 11 and suddenly discovered she could fly, which was very traumatic. I wanted my reader(s) to identify with this girl who was like them with every day growing up challenges.”
Arianna discovers a globe that transports her to the world of Mineria, where magic, wizards and dragons reside. She finds herself in the middle of a battle between good and evil as Scarvo, the antagonist of the series, returns from his banishment after the conclusion of Fire.
Forsyth was influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series while writing the Chronicles of Mineria trilogy.
The former teacher said her favourite book in the trilogy was it’s first, Ice, but Air took on a more personal weight to it.
“With my character, Arianna, I tapped myself growing up aged 11, kind of going through what was embarrassing and what life was like and how you start seeing yourself as a person,” she said.
In addition to the writing, Forsyth has illustrated all the images in the books, discovering a passion for painting and animals during her years as a teacher.
She spoke of the spirit of good luck in how her 13-year career as a full-time author kicked off after she first published her first picture book The Snowboarding Bunny around 1998 (she took a break from writing and started travelling between 2012 and now).
“I was in my 40s [when The Snowboarding Bunny came out] so I thought I don’t have time for 99 rejections before I got this published. I want to keep going with this, so I started publishing on my own,” she recalled.
When the book was finally published, she travelled down to the Kootenay’s where she grew up and started visiting people at bookstores and giving them her product.
Unbeknownst to her, one of the bookstore owners submitted the book to CBC Radio where the morning show did a review on it, causing the fax machine at home to go off like crazy her husband had to call her.
“It pretty much launched a career,” she said. “You have to have that good luck along that way.”
Spirits of good luck have featured in almost all of her luck, from being hidden in her picture books to the inhabitants of Mineria, including Air, who can only come to Earth in spirit form.
Bonita Forsyth will be at Nuthatch Books on Birch Avenue from 12 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 15.