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Imagination and bubbles lead to UP author’s first children’s book

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A bubble wand transformed by a little girl’s imagination has resulted in a new children’s book by University Place author Lori Forrest.

“The Castle in the Bubble” is the first in a series focusing on a strong young heroine who goes off on adventures into imaginary worlds that suddenly appear within bubbles in her bubble wand. Forrest, who is also a gifted artist, took several decades before she began transforming her memories into a children’s book.

As an English Literature major at University of Puget Sound, Forrest took numerous creative writing classes and wrote a few short stories and poetry, then put her writing career on hold after she got married and had four children. During that time she took several online painting and drawing courses, which led to several exhibits, commissioned work and murals. Writing children’s fiction, however, was always in the back of her mind.

After her divorce, Forrest realized art would not be enough to make a living, so she decided to make a major change in the direction of her life.

“I realized that it was my time to rekindle what I wanted to do in life and to build something for myself. One of my goals was to be an author and I didn’t feel like I had made a real go at it, so this was my chance,” she said.

Childhood memories of happily playing with bubbles for hours provided the inspiration for her first book. “Bubbles warp what we see and they change the light,” Forrest said. “As I looked at the changes within the bubbles, my brain would envision individuals who were enclosed in worlds different from the world I was living in.”

The imaginary worlds soon led to an adventure featuring a young heroine named Erin (after one of Forrest’s daughters). The book is geared toward ages 7-10 or a 3rd-4th grade reading level to address what Forrest believes is a lack of good books for newly independent readers.

Forrest also hopes her young female character will inspire young girls. “There aren’t enough young female characters who are strong and adventurous,” Forrest said. “I wanted to emphasize that girls can be brave, go on adventures and solve problems.”

The importance of holding onto your imagination is another key aspect of the book.

“Imagination is a quality that gets lost into adulthood. Responsibility and practicality takes over when you become an adult, but if you can maintain your imagination that you had as a child, it enhances everything you do in your adult life,” Forrest said. “Being successful in your job often means coming up with ideas and thinking out of the box. It’s important to foster imagination so that it isn’t lost as kids grow up.”

Writing the story also helped Forrest learn about herself. “I didn’t know what was going to happen when I first started,” she said. “As I wrote, I got to go on the adventure with my character.” And like her heroine, Forrest found it wasn’t always an easy task.

“Trying to self publish and deal with a multitude of tasks was very challenging and scary. It took determination to get to the end and at times I didn’t feel like I could do it. I’m braver than I thought I was. I was constantly working on my goal and I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished.”

And like the girl in the bubble, Forrest will continue on her adventure as she works on her second book entitled “The Underwater Bubble.”

Earlier this month, Forrest was the featured author at Chambers Primary in University Place, reading excerpts from her book to 3rd-grade classrooms. She also donated copies of the books to the classroom libraries and school library.

You can order copies of “The Castle in the Bubble” at amazon.com or on the series website www.magicbubblewand.com. The book is also available for download on Kindle on amazon.com and free download is available July 1 through July 5. You can also follow her on twitter @magicbubblewand and on facebook.com/magicbubblewand.

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