In 1991, Bonnie Leon’s life was shattered when a log truck hit the van she was driving. The accident left her unable to work, and despite her extensive rehab, doctors told her that life would never return to normal. She asked God to give her something to do that mattered, and she was led to writing.
Bonnie’s first book, The Journey of Eleven Moons, was released in 1994 by Thomas Nelson, and made the CBA bestseller list. Since that time she has become a multi-published author. Still, that first book held a special place in her heart, and she was recently given the opportunity to re-write/re-release it.
Bonnie and her family reside in the small town of Glide, Oregon.
What sparked your childhood interest in reading and writing?
Stories are part of my native heritage. My family and my ancestors have long been story tellers. There is nothing more fun than to gather together and share our stories, even those from long ago—those are often the best kind.
As long as I can remember I’ve loved to read. A book was and is a place to get lost, to jump into adventures I’d never experience in real life and meet unique and interesting people that I’d never have the opportunity to know outside of a book. Stories have always captured my heart and inspired me to try harder and to be a better me.
Some of my favorite early books were Black Beauty and Big Red. And then I discovered Nancy Drew and gobbled up every one of the teen mysteries I could get my hands on. I grew up a little and my interest extended to gothics. Then there was the Hobbit and books like All Things Bright and Beautiful and I even loved the riveting tale called Hawaii.
Stories inspire. They can permeate me with fear and expectation. Sometimes they lift me into the heavens where I can soar.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
I have to laugh because sometimes it seems life is one big detour. I never know what’s coming next.
Probably the biggest and most unexpected detour was the day a logging truck loaded with logs tipped over on a country road and slammed into my van. I was thirty-nine years old and my life was changed forever.
I’d only just begun exploring the joys of writing, but was too weary from pain and endless medical procedures and fighting to find my way in my new body to write even a single word. When I couldn’t return to the life I’d known before the accident I felt despair. What was I going to do with myself? That’s when God carried me back to writing. He lifted me up out of the pit and set me on solid ground and said, “Write.”
And that’s what I’ve done.
I’m so thrilled to present The Journey of Eleven Moons . . . again. It has always been the story I’ve loved most. Maybe because it is tied to my heritage or maybe because it was my first book—I really don’t know. A couple of years ago, I reread the book and I still loved the story but could see that the writing had been done by a writer with passion and promise but one who needed time to mature in the craft. I knew I needed to return to The Journey of Eleven Moons and revise the book and 2013 was that time.
Revising has been more difficult than first creating the story, but I’m thrilled with the result. I can’t wait to share this story with readers. It includes all the things I love about story telling—heartbreak, adventure, beauty, terror, hope and love.
The back cover says it well.
A successful walrus hunt means Anna and her beloved Kinauquak will soon be joined in marriage. But before they can seal their promise to one another, a tsunami wipes their tribe from the rugged shore—everyone except Anna and her little sister, Iya, who are left alone to face the Alaskan wilderness.
A stranger, a Civil War veteran with golden hair and blue eyes, wanders the untamed Aleutian Islands. He offers help, but can Anna trust him or his God? And if she doesn’t, how will she and Iya survive?
Will you be rereleasing the other books in the series?
I plan to revise the remaining books in the series. Whether I do or not will depend upon how well the revised Journey of Eleven Moons is received. Time will show me what to do. I truly hope I will have the opportunity to rework the following books, especially because I have plans for a major plot change in book two that will strongly affect the story and the remaining books.
God often uses our stories to teach us when we’re writing them. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of rereleasing this book?
First and foremost I learned that I still need to grow as a writer—this process stretched me and my editor, Christina Tarabochia, helped me strengthen my writing. The learning never ends.
As I wrote, the characters came to life. They feel real and their story renewed my belief that there is always hope even in the bleakest circumstances. The characters unwillingness to give up buttressed my faith in mankind. We are capable of great sacrifice and love. And I was reminded how deep God’s love is for each of us and how His hand is always upon us.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
There’s always chocolate. It seems to uplift me when I’ve been under stress. But it truly doesn’t feel like a comfort food—it’s just not warm enough.
I think I’m a pasta person. I love pasta of any kind and lunchtime break is always enhanced if there is leftover pasta salad (my favorite) in the fridge.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
If only I did. I have great appreciation for music. It finds its way into my soul, soothing away worries, lifting me above the dreariness that is sometimes life. Music opens my eyes to the beauty around me. I am thankful for gifted musicians, but sadly that is one gift that is not mine to own.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
I don’t know how to answer this question. All kinds of music moves me—I love most styles. I guess if I have to come up with an answer it would be music that makes me contemplate nature and our Creator—wind blowing through the trees, the brilliance of a sunset, the sound of birds in the forest, dry grasses chafing under a hot summer sun or wind chimes dancing in a breeze. It would be music that offers peace.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
It’s a toss-up between—strong female lead and the girl next door. Most of my life I’ve been the one people counted on to be the “strong” one. For the most part, I’ve been able to fulfill that role, but these days I’m beginning to see that I’m not always so strong, which is sometimes a tough pill to swallow.
I’m also the girl next door. I’m easy to know and I get along pretty well with most people. I’m just a country gal who tries to live transparently—what you see is what you get.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
I’ve always been a dog lover. I’m not one of those people who takes her dog with her everywhere or lets her sleep in my bed, but I don’t feel complete if I don’t have a canine companion. Throughout the years, I’ve had some fine, trustworthy dogs. One stands out above all the others. His name was Ben, we called him Bennie. He was a mix of Great Pyrenees and yellow lab. He was a giant who was brave and sweet. His story is in a compilation book called A Prince Among Dogs: and Other Stories of the Dogs We Love. The story about Bennie is called The Shepherd.
He lived with us all his life until he was fifteen and then one afternoon he lay down in deep cool grass and died. He’s been gone many years, but I still miss him.
Thanks, Bonnie! It’s a pleasure to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
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For more information about Bonnie, visit her website.
To purchase The Journey of Eleven Moons, logon to: