Today we chat with my dear friend and author, Bonnie Leon, about the revised and re-released version of her very first novel, The Journey of Eleven Moons.
This fantastic Alaskan-adventure novel was first published twenty years ago (Thomas Nelson), and re-released TODAY!
I’m excited to glimpse life in the Aleut tribe of 19th-century Alaska. Thanks for visiting with us, Bonnie!
Mesu: How long had you been writing before your first book–The Journey of Eleven Moons–was published 20 years ago?
Bonnie: I started writing personal experiences, poems and short stories in late 1989. I didn’t see myself as a published author, but while attending Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference in 1992 Lauraine Snelling encouraged me to write my first book. I returned home and set to work. Ten months later I’d completed The Journey of Eleven Moons and returned to the OCW conference where I presented the manuscript to the acquisitions editor for Thomas Nelson Publishing. Several months later I signed a contract for the book.
When I look back on that time, I’m still flabbergasted by how quickly everything fell into place. I figure when God intends for a thing to happen it does. 🙂
Mesu: Why revise and re-release this book–why not just write another?
Bonnie: I’ve always loved the story of The Journey of Eleven Moons, but as I stated above, it was my first attempt at novel writing. Surprisingly the plot pacing was pretty much spot-on, but I lacked experience and needed more time to perfect the craft of writing. When I read it years later, the book felt incomplete and a bit frayed around the edges.
I decided this year was the year it would be reworked and enhanced. I love the rewrite. Christina Tarabochia is a quality editor who worked alongside me. The result is a much improved Journey of Eleven Moons. I think readers are going to love it.
Mesu: (After doing a little more research on this book, I discovered Journey of Eleven Moons hit the CBA Bestseller List on its first release! No wonder Bonnie loves this story. Evidently others felt the same way…even BEFORE the new edits!)
Mesu: What about this book stands out to you–above/beyond your other 18 novels? What sets it apart?
Bonnie: It was my first experience at novel writing. I fell in love with the process and discovered how deeply involved a writer becomes with a story and its characters. I laughed and cried my way through the telling of the novel and, at times, even found myself breathless when I’d finish a scene. It was an amazing experience.
The Journey of Eleven Moons was inspired by my native grandmother. An Aleut, she grew up on the Aleutian Islands and one day as a young woman she stood on a bluff and watched a tsunami charge onto the beach below her. Since first hearing the story as a youngster, the image remained in my mind waiting for an opportunity to come to life.
Mesu: What spiritual impact did the book have on you the first time you wrote it–was it the same or different during the revision?
Bonnie: While doing the research I rediscovered my own native roots. I grew up listening to tales of my Alaskan family and my heritage but I’d never fully connected with the reality of what it meant to be native. In the process of creating the book I discovered my heritage and embraced it. I fell in love with my people.
Reworking the book stirred up many of the original feelings I had when I first wrote the story. Also, this time I paid closer attention to details about each character – who they are and how they see the world. I feel a real-life connection with each. And I can’t wait to jump into the next story in the series so I can spend more time with these incredible people.
Mesu: How do readers contact you? Buy the book?
Bonnie: It’s easy to find me on the web. My website address is www.bonnieleon.com.
I also have an author page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BonnieLeonAuthor.
Do you have questions?
Bonnie will be checking the comment section today, so if you have questions or comments for her, please jot them down! She’ll answer as soon as possible.
I want to thank Bonnie for taking time to visit with us and pray that the Lord continues to bless her ministry through the Alaskan stories He places on her heart. Blessings on you, dear friend!
- @Bonnie_Leon 20th anniversary debut, The Journey of Eleven Moons, re-releases today!
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