Sunday, December 15, 2013

Oregon Author Bonnie Leon

Hello, Bonnie, welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft. Is there a story behind The Journey of Eleven Moons?

I have a special interest in the Aleut natives of Alaska because that is my heritage. My mother is native and grew up in Alaska. She was a young woman when she moved to Seattle. She was the first in her family to leave the state.
The story idea for The Journey of Eleven Moons originated with an experience my grandmother had as a young woman. She stood on a bluff and watched a tsunami wash ashore, taking with it everything on the beach below.  I’d always imagined what that must have been like and when I first considered writing a book the story was there in the back of my mind waiting to unfold.

The Journey of Eleven Moons is the first book I wrote. It was quickly snatched up by Thomas Nelson Publishing. Since that time I’ve matured as a writer and have always loved the story, but felt it needed revisions. In 2013 I decided it was time to make the improvements and went to work. This is the twentieth anniversary of The Journey of Eleven Moons now revised and updated. I’m thrilled to share it with readers once more.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?

I fell in love with all three main characters, but Anna most intrigued me. I loved watching her struggle, grow and finally accept. I empathize with her because of my own similar life experiences. I understand her inner battle. I share her stubborn, strong-will and I often put on a fa├žade of strength when I’m actually scared spitless.

Like Anna I fought against God’s influence. Though I longed to know Him I was unwilling to release my will to Him. It took shattering life experiences before I humbled myself and accepted God’s gift of His Son.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?

My biggest distraction is family. My two daughters and their families live next door to me. I love spending time with them and I have great difficulty, when they come to visit, sending them away. Unless I’m on a tight deadline I almost always welcome them in for a chat. And hugs and conversations with my grandchildren can not be ignored.

Writing is part of who I am and I can’t imagine my life without it. However, family is precious and I know I couldn’t take another breath if I were to lose them. Every moment together is valuable.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

Though I love all kinds of books—fiction and non-fiction, my favorites are historical fiction.  I love deep stories full of history and interesting details. And if there is a bit of romance in them then all the better. I have too many favorite authors to mention, but two recent discoveries are Laura Frantz, who has a number of outstanding books available and Lori Benton whose debut novel Burning Sky is powerful and stunningly beautiful.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?

Innocent, fun-loving children. Curious unruly kittens.  A baby’s smile.

What is a favorite memory from your childhood?

There are so many great memories—picking huckleberries in high mountain fields, clam-digging at the beach, family campouts and horseback riding.  My childhood had its dark times, but I had a good family that loved me and we spent quality time together.

One of my favorite memories began as a terrible day. My father couldn’t find his wallet and, for reasons I can’t remember, he was convinced that I’d lost it. I was punished with a spanking.

Even then, I had a strong sense of honor and of right and wrong and believed in always telling the truth, so being accused of stealing and lying was devastating to me.

My father found his wallet and realized he had been the one who misplaced it. So after apologizing to me, he gave me the leather strap and with the family gathered around he stood with his hands on the wall and told me to give him a good spanking. The entire family cheered me on and through tears and laughter I gave him a swat.

This might sound peculiar for a favorite memory, but through the experience my father demonstrated honor and fairness. I remember feeling deeply loved and proud that he’d owned up to his mistake.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?

Going to the doctor. After an auto accident in 1991 I spent two years in and out of specialists’ offices. Ever since, I can barely make myself go.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

I’ve stepped out of my customary genre and  written a memoir. It is a true story of a Native American woman who grew up in Alaska. Lily read several of my Alaskan stories and was certain I was the one to write her story. She called me a few times hoping I could do that, but I was already contracted and not available. Finally we met. After hearing some of her tale I was convinced it was a story that needed to be told and I wanted to be the one to share it with the world. She has lived a life few could even imagine.

Here is just a taste of the story—Hidden away in the Alaskan wilderness, Lily Sanders lives under the thumb of a brutal father, a man greatly admired as a mountain man and hunting guide. Hoping to please her father, Lily runs her own trap line by age nine and assists her father on hunting trips, displaying expertise as a hunter and a dog sled musher. But there is nothing she can do to earn his respect or love.

Lily may be invisible to the world, but God sees her. And within His perfect plan He leads her out of darkness.

It sounds intriguing. We'll look forward to it. Thanks for sharing today.

Connect with Bonnie Leon at:

Bonnie Leon is giving away a copy of The Journey of Eleven Moons. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.



Boos Mum said...

What a great story about your father. Thanks for the giveaway.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

It is good that her father admitted his mistake. Funny how we teach our children to apologize and yet there are parents who think they shouldn't have to apologize to a child.It's a shame. This sounds like it will be a good book. Please put my name in for the chance to win. MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

Diana Flowers said...

I loved Bonnie's series set in Australia, and this once promises to be just as intriguing! Thanks for interview and giveaway! My birthday is coming up right before Christmas...this would make a lovely b'day present! ;)


Jackie McNutt said...

hank you for review. Bonnie's book sounds very interesting. I like learning of new authors and their books.

Mary / Touch of Heaven said...

I love books about Alaska. Thanks for the offer.
atouchofheaven2010 at gmail dot com

sm said...

I would like to read about Native Americans, as I know very little. I've seen lots of historical sites for Native Americans in the Western States, but would like to read a novel like yours. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Patricia Bradley said...

I really did enjoy learning about Bonnie. And kittens are one of my favorite things too. pat at ptbradley dot com

Jennifer said...

Thanks Bonnie for telling us about your childhood it was great to hear your experience with your dad. How scary for your Grandma to witness that tsunami.
Baby smiles make me happy to as well as kittens.
lennydtipton at gmail dot com

Rick Estep said...

Her books are very well read in our library. Great review. Thanks for the chance to win this book.

librarybooks at religious dot com

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