GREAT FALLS — In front of a packed house Friday at Cassiopeia Books in Great Falls, former C.M. Russell High School Drama Teacher Stacy Bergquist unveiled his debut children’s book, The Story Tree.
“This book is about a grandfather and his grandson discovering the wilderness of Western Montana, and sharing stories about the animals that they see and the events that they have, the hikes that they have, etc.” Bergquist explained. “It’s just a wonderful thing to share with kids. As my wife says, the book is written for all children, from the ages of 4 to 94, so I think all people will enjoy it.”
The teacher, actor, director, producer, and now author read a couple of stories from his book after introducing his inspiration for The Story Tree, his grandchildren.
“One of the things that happened was I started going to the cabin with my oldest grandson, and that became the kernel of the idea for Story Tree Year One,” he said. “Then my younger grandson started to go, so now I’m in the process of writing stories that involve him, and I really think that’s great. And then Year Three is going to be my granddaughter, who currently lives in Seattle, but she’s coming out this summer, and we’re going to go spend some time at the Story Tree.”
Great Falls residents, former students of Bergquist’s and any lover of books found a home at the small Central Ave book store on Friday night. People clapped and laughed and were moved by revelations such as “this book was made to be read to those that we love,” and other nuggets of brilliance that the author shared with the overcrowded bookstore.
What makes the book’s journey even more special is that it was published by The Get It Factory, a publishing company based right here in Great Falls.
“I went in and I talked to Ryan and Becky, at The Get It Factory, and I pitched my book,” said Bergquist. “I explained my idea for the book to them and they called back the next day and said ‘we want to do it, let’s go,’ and one of the fun things was, they said it was going to take a year, and I went ‘oh c’mon, it can’t take that long.’ It’s been every bit of a year to get it to where we like it to where it is now, and I’m very proud of the book.
The book contains fairy-tale stories that could even be passed off as real. During the Q&A session of the event, one man in the audience asked Bergquist if starting the writing process was the hardest part, to which the writer responded that he had so many ideas in his head, he couldn’t have gotten pen to paper soon enough.
“I wanted to write it to share my stories with my grand-kids,” he said with a smile. “Basically that. Just, they need to be told and re-told.
At one point, Bergquist held up his book and noted its size; small enough to fit in one hand. The reason it was that small, he explained, was so that you could hold it in one hand, while you held a loved one in the other hand and read to them.