Monday, July 5, 2010

Bonnie Leon's "Touching the Clouds"


We're happy to have Bonnie Leon with us today talking about her book, Touching the Clouds. To learn more about Bonnie and her book, read on!

1) How did this story come to you?
My mother grew up in Alaska where she and her family lived on a homestead. The only way to get in and out was either by boat or plane. Bush pilots were her connection to the outside world. She loved and admired them.

The stories my mother shared about those days have stuck with me, and throughout the years she’s given me several books about the bush pilots of Alaska. One day while reading one of these books I had a glimmer of a story. It grew and soon I was ready to tell the story of a woman named Kate who flew the Alaskan bush.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
How did you know this was a journey? When I first came up with the idea for this story I thought it would be easy to write. After all, I’ve written several books set in Alaska and I’ve done a good deal of writing placed in the 1930’s.

I couldn’t have been more wrong about it being easy. The flying sequences were extremely difficult because I wasn’t a pilot. I needed to find one and I did—Gayle Ranney. She’s been a bush pilot in Alaska for more than fifty years. She’s amazing. I couldn’t have written the book without her.

When I finished the book I felt that something was out of sync with the story. My editor confirmed my fears and I had to go back and rework the book, beginning with my characters. When the characters change, everything changes. I basically had to rewrite the entire book. But, I feel good about the finished product.

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1)Back in the 60’s and early 70’s I was part of the hippy movement, a “flower child” at heart. I experimented with drugs and life and was actually arrested at one point. The real secret, though, is that I have good memories of those times—they were fun and weird, and filled with good friends.

2)After four years of marriage, my husband and I separated and filed for divorce. We had only to show up in court when God stepped in and saved us and our marriage. We will celebrate our thirty-ninth anniversary in August. God is good.

3)The first book I ever wrote (The Journey of Eleven Moons) sold to the first publishing house to look at it and it became a bestseller. That whole process really took me by surprise.

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I’m working on book three in the Alaskan Skies Series. Actually I haven’t started the process of writing yet. I’m thinking mostly and doing some reading. I know how the book begins and how it ends, but all the stuff in the middle is still a mystery.

5) Parting comments?
Remember that God is good all the time. Even on our worst day, He is good. We can trust Him.

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
I love to hear from readers. You can contact me at http://www.bonnieleon.com/

33 comments:

  1. Sounds like a fantastic book. Would love to read it.

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  2. "Touching the Clouds" sounds like a thrilling, wonderful book. It is wonderful that you found such a wealth of knowledge in the bush pilot, Gayle Ranney . It helps me to enjoy a book more when the author has done research for the era, location, events, etc., that they are writing about. I've read my share of poorly researched books in the past. I enjoyed your interview very much and would love to be entered in the drawing.

    Blessings!

    Beverly
    bgrider2[at]cox[dot]net bgrider2@cox.net

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  3. I'd Really like the opportunity to read this book Sounds really good.

    Thanks for putting my name in the hat.

    Blessings

    Nora St.Laurent
    The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org
    norafindinghope (at) gmail.com

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  4. Alaskan Seas series...great series.

    ~Steph
    soklad@hotmail.com

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  5. please enter me, I enjoy these messages on facebok

    mamat2730(at)charter(dot)net

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  6. This sounds like a great book! I love Alaska and I think a story involving a woman pilot in Alaska would be very exciting.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    hspruitt AT {juno} dot COM

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  7. I love stories set in Alaska.
    wsmarple/at/gmail/dot/com

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  8. I would like to read Touching the Clouds, because I have enjoyed other books about Alaska. I haven't been there, but I love to read about it. I like the idea of a lady pilot.
    Kaye Whitney
    kayewhitney@bellsouth.net

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  9. I enjoyed the interview with Bonnie. As an aspiring writer I appreciated when she told about having to pretty much rewrite the book. This gives me encouragement as I struggle with changes in my manuscript. Please sign me up for the giveaway.
    Deborah M.
    debbiejeanm[at]gmail[dot]com

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  10. would love to read this novel...thanks for the chance :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  11. Hi Karla, hope you get a chance to read it. And that you love it.

    Blessings to you,

    Bonnie

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  12. Kameko,

    Thanks so much for your comments.

    God is so good. Every project he connects me with at least one person who is the perfect expert on the topic or place I'm writing about. Gayle Ranney is such a great person and a true Alaskan bush pilot. I hope we'll get to meet one day.

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  13. Nora, thanks. I hope you get a chance to read the book. :-)

    God bless,

    Bonnie

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  14. hspruitt, I love Alaska too. I was hoping to make a trip north this summer, but it isn't to be. Maybe next year.

    Grace and peace to you,

    Bonnie


    www.bonnieleon.com

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  15. Wendy and Karen, thanks so much for stopping by. I've written several books that take place in Alaska. It's an incredible place!

    Bless you,

    Bonnie

    www.bonnieleon.com

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  16. Bonnie, I am very eager to read your Touching the Skies series. Alaska is one of my favorite settings and I am drawn to the plot.

    I loved the "3 things" about you and since Touching the Clouds is drawn from personal experience, I believe you could also draw from the story of your marriage and write another winner.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

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  17. Sounds like this book has a strong woman character! I love it...
    Many thanks, Cindi
    jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  18. I would be honored to win this book. Bonnie is one of my favorite ppl in the whole world. I love the way she really encloses her readers in the historical world she creates.

    mimcheney at yahoo dot com

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  19. Wonderful comments. Thanks so much.

    Deborah, when I teach classes on writing I always say, writing is rewriting. Although I don't relish the idea of rewriting a book after I've sent it in, sometimes the best thing is the hardest. I'm thankful my editor made me work hard because I now have a book I can feel good about.

    I pray you will find joy in the work.

    Blessings,

    Bonnie

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  20. Carole, thanks for your encouragement. Actually I have a story I'd like to write, loosely based on my experience with an uhappy marriage and a God who loves enough to save it.

    I'm so grateful for my husband. He's a really good man who has stood by me all these years. I can't say enough good things about him.

    Grace and peace,

    Bonnie

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  21. Kaye and Windy, my protagonist Kate is a strong character. And I love the idea of a woman pilot too. It was so much fun to work with the idea and get to know Kate. She's a lot of fun, but tough when she has to be.

    God bless,

    Bonnie

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  22. Hi Miriam. I love you too. Wish you lived closer. I'll be thinking about you and praying for you during the OCW conference. That is one of the really neat things about not being there this year--I get to pray for all my writing friends. I know the Lord will have special meetings all pre-arranged for just the right people at the right time. :-) It's so exciting!

    And thanks for the very kind words.

    Love ya,

    Bonnie

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  23. You gave me Goosebumps reading about your heading to court for your divorce!! Please enter me to win this book!

    alekee02[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  24. Please include me in this giveaway!

    readingatthebeach(@)gmail(.)com

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  25. Love to win Bonnie's book!
    Ann_Lee_Miller@msn.com

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  26. Please enter me
    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  27. Thanks for all your great comments. this has bgeen fun.

    And Maureen, even now all these years later, I'm astounded at what God did for my husband and me. It was a outright miracle.

    Grace and peace to you all,

    Bonnie

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  28. Thanks for stopping by to chat Bonnie.

    Pls enter me in the giveaway.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

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  29. I have always been interested in book that tell about Alaska, I have my son-in-law's sister and her family living there. They were from the deep south and after a tour in the military there went back to live there. Some of the family goes there each year and they come home once a year. I can't understand someone living that far from home so I read every thing I can about Alaska. This sounds like a good book. Thanks for giving it away. Maybe I will win it. ybutler@oppcatv.com

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  30. Misskallie, I love to chat and I've thoroughly enjoyed spending time here on K. Dawn Byrd's site. It's an outstanding blog.


    Grannyvon, I hope you make lots of trips north to see your family. Alaska is a very special place.

    Grace and peace,

    Bonnie

    www.bonnieleon.com

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  31. Our winner is Carol! Congratulations!

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  32. We have a winner! Congratulations, Carole!

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  33. I love a good adventure and that is just what this book brings to the table. Set in Alaska while it is still a territory, Kate has an adventurous spirit that just isn't ready to be tamed yet. She leaves her fiancee before the wedding because even though they have been friends their whole lives growing up in Washington, she just doesn't feel ready to settle down. She has a dream and that involves the Alaska territory and piloting. She sets out to accomplish just that and it was fun to join her on her journey.

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