When people ask Sequim author Bonnie Louise Gillis what she did during the pandemic, she can hand them “Lavender,” her latest book.
Now available in print and online from Sasquatch Books with worldwide distribution through Penguin Random House Publisher Services, Gillis’ 28th book continues to share her love for lavender along with 50 self-care recipes and projects for natural wellness.
Following the release of her previous book, “The Lavender of Sequim,” Gillis said she was contacted by Sasquatch Books’ editors to write about lavender with more of a universal approach that focuses on wellness and the natural benefits of lavender.
“It was the lavender fields that first drew me to Sequim, and I wanted to do my part to help preserve our gorgeous farms, to help them thrive,” she said.
“In both books, my goal has been to draw visitors and customers to Sequim’s lavender farms.
“It was on my couch in Hawaii that I first read about Sequim in a book. So perhaps some of my readers, too, will choose to visit this beautiful area and spend their tourist dollars at our lavender farms.”
Writing her latest lavender book led to countless trips sitting among rows of lavender, taste testing recipes and creating an array of projects, she said.
Some of Gillis’ book includes advice on how to make homemade items using lavender with hand sanitizer, bath salts, lip balm, mustard, sugar, cocktails, butter, tea, fire starters, dryer bags, pillows and more.
“(Lavender) is one of those tastes that can go sweet or savory. Mint is one of its relatives and you can have it with lamb, or ice cream. Lavender is very much the same way,” she said.
“I was testing recipes nonstop. I also worked with a couple of people to help me on that. It’s nice to have a sister-in-law in food and beverage her whole career.”
Gillis said she spent ample time on scientific studies about the benefits of lavender.
“There’s so much misinformation on the internet about essential oils. It’s sad and scary,” she said.
“I dug really deep into the science behind it and why it works for some people and why it doesn’t for some people.”
She said essential oils is a hot topic worldwide and “Lavender” purposefully opens with several pages on safety.
“There are so many misconceptions about essential oils,” Gillis said. “Just because it’s natural doesn’t make it safe. Tornadoes are natural.”
To double check her work, she worked with a naturopathic doctor and certified aromatherapist to review the book.
From the outside looking in, Gillis said there are some misconceptions about lavender, particularly that it’s just one kind and color.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” she said. “I think more of it like wine. You can do lavender smelling like wine tasting. The nuisances are very different. You think of a sweet white wine compared to Bordeaux. Lavender is every bit as different.”
When she thinks of lavender, Gillis thinks of relaxation and stress going away too.
“To me there’s nothing like going out in a field of lavender being surrounded by the bees and the scent,” she said. “It’s always so interesting; not everyone is affected the same way. I’ve seen it with some young children who walk into a lavender field for the first time and get so happy. They want more and more of it. It has that effect on people. Me too.”
With more than 450 varieties of lavender worldwide, Gillis said she estimates there about 150 types in Sequim.
“Lavender” features more than 100 color photographs with many of them taken at Sequim area lavender farms.
For more about Gillis, visit her site at booksbybonnie.weebly.com, Facebook, Instagram or sasquatchbooks.com/books/lavender/.