A Chat with Author, Bonnie Leon!

Mesu Andrews Featured Articles 15 Comments

Bonnie Leon--Eleven MoonsHappy Release Day–

November 15th!

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.Bonnie Leon

I also have an author page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BonnieLeonAuthor.

Paperback books are available on www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com andwww.ashberrylane.com.

You can find ebooks at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, www.ashberrylane.com and all the other usual locations.

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!



Comments 15

  1. Really great interview. What a great heritage. It’s so fun to look to our past and see the lives that have come before us.

    Did you learn anything new while doing the rewrite? Maybe a new piece of history/research you hadn’t known before, or maybe even a new layer to the characters that wasn’t in the first edition?

    Thanks, Mesu and Bonnie!!

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  2. I love the personal connection of your grandmother’s story to this novel. And I’m hoping this release does very well so you can re-write the others in the series, too! You’ll do that, right??

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  3. I was deep in a dark cave today, feeling every bit like Anna ‘n Iya–cozy ‘n protected, so in tune with their hearts, minds, souls–Bonnie made these women be like my friends, my sisters and makes them come alive. No, I will NOT be cutting into a walrus and eating it’s raw blubber anytime soon—but I saw how, and then to use a flint to roast it over an open fire. Or, to read about the tsunami when presently all the folks in the Philippines are going through such trials and travails–Wow–life is so interwoven and connected I am just feeling a part of this Journey of Eleven Moons. Thank you Bonnie! This book is more than fiction, it’s LIFE! I love them–and YOU!

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      Ooohhh, Patti! I’ve got chill-bumps!!! It’s obvious that this book has ministered to your heart at a deep level! What a great testimony to how the Lord combines the power of story WITH current issues to speak to our hearts. So cool!

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  4. Mesu, thank you for including me on your fabulous blog. And I love your website. It’s gorgeous.

    Kristen, there is always more to learn. In general I have a better grasp of the culture and the people than I did the first time around. And I did more study on clothing and the Aleut baskets as well.

    Aleuts wear a variety of different clothing. For some diagrams and photos you might want to stop in at my Pinterest board – The Journey of Eleven Moons – http://www.pinterest.com/bonnieleon/the-journey-of-eleven-moons/

    The baskets are special because of the type of grass that grows on the Aleutian Islands – it’s tough, not supple. And of course the skill of the women and their techniques in weaving add to the specific designs and colors. I find it amazing that a basket made from grass can be woven so tightly that it can hold water.

    And the characters – I feel very close to them. They are real to me, like family. I absolutely know and understand them better than I did when I wrote the first version. They are more deeply entrenched in my heart and I think that shows in the book.

    1. That’s awesome! I loved learning of their weaving skills and all the foods they ate. What an amazing adventure!

  5. April, I’m hoping to revise book two. I’d very much like to make a BIG change in the plot. I’m praying for great success for The Journey of Eleven Moons so that will be possible. I’m counting on your prayers too, gal.

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    Thanks so much, Bonnie, for spending time with us on your RELEASE DAY! What an honor! (And thanks for the kudos on my website–it’s all from our mutual friends at Jones House Creative)

    Lots of great comments and questions–y’all had a party while I was tucked away on the mountain with no internet!!!

    I’m excited to hear Bonnie’s second book in this series is a possibility. We’ll sure pray in that direction! 😉

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