Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bonnie Leon's "The Journey of Eleven Moons"

The Journey of Eleven Moons
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 village from the rugged shore—everyone except Anna and her 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?

1)How did this story come to you?
When I was a girl my mother shared a story with me about my grandmother who grew up on the Aleutian Island of Unalaska in Alaska. My grandmother, an Aleut, was a young woman when she stood on a bluff and watched a tsunami charge up the shore of a cove below her. The image of her standing on that bluff and the treachery of the tsunami always stayed with me. When I was ready to write my first novel the tale of Anna and Iya emerged from that family story. I think it had been waiting in the back of my mind until just the right time. When I started to write the story flowed out of me. It was my first introduction to the mystery of story creation. I am always amazed at the process.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I originally wrote and published The Journey of Eleven Moons in 1994. At a writing conference Lauraine Snelling encouraged me to write a novel and when I told her I’d never written one before she said, “The best way to learn is to write one.”

I believed her and went home intent on creating my first book. Over the next ten months I discovered Anna and Iya’s story, with help from my critique group.  Manuscript in hand, I returned to the conference the following summer and presented the book to the acquisitions editor for Thomas Nelson Publishing. Within a few months I had my first contract. I was stunned by how quickly it all happened.

A couple of years ago I took another look at the book and although I loved the story I felt the writing needed sprucing up, and a desire to make the story shine took root. Last year, 2013, turned out to be the right time to do it.

Revising was more difficult than I’d imagined and it took many months to complete the revisions. When I had it finished I connected with friend and publisher, Christina Tarabochia. We decided it would be fun to work together. After many additional hours of updating and revising The Journey of Eleven Moons felt brand new and became an Ashberry Lane book.

I loved working with Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Tarabochia. They are tremendous women of faith and partnering with these two visionary women was an exceptional experience.

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.I’ve celebrated motherhood for many years and being a mother is one of the most precious experiences of my life. Yet, years ago I decided I would never have children. I felt strongly that the world was no place for innocent children. I didn’t want to bring more into such an ugly place. I’m thankful God gave me eyes to see the beauty in life and changed my heart about being a mother. My husband and I had our first of three after six years of marriage.
I don’t fly. I used to travel by air, but I developed an ear condition that is sometimes absolute misery, especially if I fly. Barometric pressure changes can cause vertigo, and episodes sometimes go on for weeks. Sadly, these days, I keep my feet on the ground.
We are building a new house and when we move in it will be the twenty-fifth home for my husband and I. After this we hope to stay put.

4) What are you working on now and what’s next for you?While revising The Journey of Eleven Moons I also wrote my first memoir for a Native American woman who grew up in the Alaskan wilderness during the 1940’s and 1950’s. The story is amazing and powerful and I can’t wait to share it with readers. Presently I’m searching for the right publishing house. I’ll keep you posted.

I’ve also started something brand new. It’s a contemporary story that takes place in San Francisco and the Napa Valley.  It’s a volatile mix when a high-powered marketing executive collides with a slow-talking down to earth tradesman who seems  happy with a no frills life style.

I’m having a good time discovering the characters and their story. I hope it won’t be too long before I get to introduce the book to readers.

5) Parting comments.
I just have to say that I love the story of Anna, Iya and Erik, possibly more than any of my other books. I can’t say why for certain. Maybe it’s because the book was my first or maybe because it takes place in Alaska where my family and ancestors originated. I hope you’ll all read it and love it too. The Journey of Eleven Moons is available in paperback and ebook.

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
You can find me at -,,,