Sunday, August 7, 2011

with Bonnie Leon

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Bonnie!
People talk about life before children—what was your life before writing?

I’ve always believed that one of the best parts of my life has been being a mother. Maybe because of that my life BC (before children) feels incomplete. Of course it wasn’t. In actuality my husband and I had a lot going on. The first four years of our married life was full of heartache-the loss of a baby, my father’s death and my husband and I lived in the midst of a destructive and miserable marriage. In 1973 we separated for seven months and were on the way to divorce court. God had other plans and intervened. He saved us and our marriage.

I was working as a secretary when I had my first child. I decided to stay home and be a full time homemaker and mother. Those were good days. Greg and I loved being parents and, as new believers church was a priority. It was a time of fun, friendship and spiritual growth.

We had two more children and decided to leave the city life in Washington behind and moved to Southern Oregon to a tiny community in the foothills of the Cascades. We joined the community activities, leapt into ministry at our church and went to work on our small family farm. I worked alongside my husband building a home and doing the chores that never end when you live in the country. As a full time Mom I hunted for pollywogs with the kids, picked berries, taught the kids how to fish, attended all sorts of school activities and a long list of other fun stuff. Life wasn’t perfect. We had the usual and not so usual traumas that come with raising a family, but I remember those days as the best.

In June of 1991 everything changed when a log truck tipped over on a tight corner and hit the van I was driving. My body has never been the same. I sustained several injuries that healed, but my back never mended and I was forced to live a sedentary life and to find my way through the weeds of living with chronic pain.

My children, then 9, 11, and 13 took over the household chores and I took a journey through a long, dark valley. I felt as if I’d lost everything I loved about my life. I could not be the wife I’d always been and could no longer be a “real” mother, or so I thought. Like I said, it was a long journey. But God hadn’t given up on me.

It wasn’t easy to learn to live with the new me. I still have days when I struggle with that. In 1992, many months after my accident, I was in the midst of one of my darkest days when all I wanted was for my life to end. I asked the Lord to please give me something to do that was valuable and meaningful for me and for others. He gave me writing.

I attended my first writing conference that year and submitted my first book in 1993. Thomas Nelson Publishing introduced me to the writing world in 1994 with my debut book, The Journey of Eleven Moons. I’ve been writing ever since.

What book have you recently enjoyed reading?
One of my biggest frustrations is that I don’t have enough time to read all the books I’d like. There are so many good ones. Out of the books I read this past year, three rise above the others. Ann Shorey’s The Dawn of a Dream finished up her Beldon Grove series. I loved it and think it’s the best Ann Shorey book to date. I also savored Rosslyn Elliott’s debut novel, Fairer than Morning, which is an exquisitely written historical. James Rubert’s book, Rooms, kept me reading and guessing until the very end. It’s full of surprises and treasures. I highly recommend it.

If you were a dessert, what would you be?
It has to be Angel Food Cake with strawberries and whipped cream. I love the mix of vivid colors—white and red, both symbolic. The cake is light and sweet, which pleases my tongue, and I’d like to be that kind of person. I tend to be a bit melancholoy so I’m thinking being an angel food cake is a “wanna be” thing. And did I mention it’s delicious—one of my favorite desserts. God really did an outstanding job when he created strawberries.

If you were to find a purple polka-dotted monster in your kitchen one morning, how would you respond?
First off, I’m sure the old tune Wild Purple People Eater would flash through my mind. The people eater part would contribute to my terror. I’d sneak out of the kitchen and pray it hadn’t seen me, then get my Glock while I called 911. Once safely out of the house, I’d call my husband and find a good place to hide—probably in my car just in case I needed to make a fast get-a-way. Most likely, I’d have a long wait for the sheriff—we live twenty miles out of town.

I wouldn’t want the creature killed unless it was truly dangerous. Purple polka dots doesn’t sound very ferocious. It would be fun to discover a new friendly life form rather than a people eating one.

Tell us about one of your favorite memories or moments in your life.
There are so many. I could fill a book – or books. :) However, if I must choose only one it’s a summer day when I was quite young. My brother and I were playing in a plastic blow up swimming pool. Somehow or other I’d gotten a hold of a butter knife and I accidentally dropped it into the pool where it poked a hole in the bottom. My brother couldn’t wait to tattle on me and ran to the house. I knew I was in trouble.

When my mother showed up she inspected the damage while I apologized again and again and tried to hold back my tears. She looked at me with her most serious hazel eyes, hands on her hips and then she smiled and said, “You’re full of prunes,” which was an endearment. She pulled me into her arms and explained that she understood it had been an accident. Grace—pure grace. My mom’s the best. :)

What's one of your dreaded things to do?
I dread confrontations, especially the ones you know you’re supposed to do, that you must do. I’m afraid I’ll do it all wrong and make the situation worse. And I really, really don’t like it when people are mad at me.

What is the Lord teaching you, or recently taught you?
The learning never ends. Most recently I’d say, He continues to remind me to rely on Him, not me. And to rest there. The world is not going to fly apart if I don’t get something done perfectly or within my time frame. And even if the worst thing happens, I won’t face it alone.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Wings of Promise was set to release August 1st, but it is already out. It is book two in the Alaskan Skies series and is the continuing story of Kate Evans who, in 1935, chose a career over marriage and moved to Alaska. The question of whether to be a pilot or a wife continues to plague her. She will have to make a decision one day.

Kate is also haunted by the death of her best friend, Alison. The two had been flying when the plane went down and Alison was killed. Kate carries a heavy weight of guilt, which is one of the reasons she chose Alaska and a career as a bush pilot. She needs to prove that she’s a skilled and dedicated pilot who isn’t afraid. She believes that running to Alaska is a way to rid herself of guilt. She doesn’t yet understand that guilt isn’t something that can be left behind.

In book one, Touching the Clouds, Kate met Paul Anderson, a doctor who is also using Alaska as a place of escape. She tried not to love him, but the quiet serious man snagged her heart and now, the two of them work together to help the people in the outback of Alaska.

IN CELEBRATION OF MY NEW BOOK RELEASE: I’m running a really neat contest called Escape to Alaska. You have until August 8 to sign up. To get all the details stop in at my website at

You can purchase Wings of Promise from Amazon.

Bonnie is giving away a copy of Wings of Promise. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Jo said...

Loved your interview and would love to read the book.


cjajsmommy said...

I wasn't too interested in the book until I read the second part of the author interview. I like this lady! I would like to win a copy of her book.

Susan H said...

This sounds like a great book! Look forward to reading it.

Tracy Smith said...

Thank you for hosting this giveaway. It sounds like another wonderful read!

countrysunset40 (at) aol dot com

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read bonnie's latest novel :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Judy said...

Bonnie's interview was touching. I sat here with tear filled eyes reading about Bonnie's accident and the dark places it left her. Isn't it just like God to let us know we are still useful and has plans for us?

I would love to win a copy of this book. Bonnie is a new author to me. I have put her on my list of authors to read.

God Bless!


Rebecca said...

This looks amazing. I would love to read this. Thanks for the chance to win this.


ann said...

I would love to win this book. I enjoyed the interview also. Amazing what God has in store for us when we least expect it.

amhengst at verizon dot net

Marianne said...

i have read Touch the Clouds and would love to win Wings of Promise! Thanks for interviewing one of my loved authors, Esther. i love finding out new things about her! Also for the giveaway. mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com

Marianne said...

i have read Touch the Clouds and would love to win Wings of Promise! Thanks for interviewing one of my loved authors, Esther. i love finding out new things about her! Also for the giveaway. mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com

PriviesAndPrims said...

Tough way to get started in writing, but I'm glad the Lord gave ya something that you enjoy. :) It makes all the difference.

priviesandprims at yahoo dot com

Charity said...

I read the first book in this series and would love to read this one as well. Thanks!

apple blossom said...

Please enter me thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Bonnie Leon said...

Hello everyone. Thank you for your wonderful comments. I would have stopped by sooner, but didn't realize this interview had posted.

God does work in mysterious ways, doesn't He. :-) I'm so thankful He's in charge and not me.

Grace and peace to you.

Jones House Creative said...

If you enjoyed Bonnie's first two books (Touching the Clouds and Wings of Promise), you will love the series conclusion in Joy Takes Flight!

Be sure to enter her SOAR TO NEW HEIGHTS Contest celebrating the release of the book! Tomorrow is the last day to enter - visit the link below for your chance to win one of 3 terrific prizes from the novel!

Contest Link:

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