Welcome back, Bonnie. Tell us about your salvation experience.
When I was a child I believed in God and His goodness, but through the years I rejected Christ each time I was given the opportunity to believe. I trusted more in my own rebellious ways, my own power.
God had plans for me, and He loved me enough to drive me to my knees. In a matter of months my father died, a dear friend died, I lost a baby, and my husband walked away and filed for divorce. I was devastated and alone.
One night an old friend from my high school days came to visit. She was excited to share her new-found faith in Jesus. I wasn’t interested, but I watched the 700 Club with her that evening. As she was leaving, she stopped and said, “I just want you to know one thing—Jesus loves you.”
I needed to hear those words so badly. Most of my life I’d felt unlovable and unloved. Inside, I grabbed for the lifeline she threw, but outwardly I acted as if the words meant nothing. But what she said stayed with me and I wondered if Jesus was the answer.
A week later, I turned on the 700 Club, and when Pat Robertson shared the gospel, I knew it was true and that it was for me. I got on my knees right there in front of my television and prayed. And God reached down and lifted me up. He showed me that I was special, created by Him, and loved by Him. My life has never been the same.
Thanks for sharing that. I know someone who reads this blog needs to hear it. You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
That’s a difficult question. There are so many fabulous writers.
John Steinbeck – His writing is dark, but magical.
James Michener – I love his dedication to historical detail. It has been said he went through his lengthy manuscripts 17 times before considering them completed. His commitment to excellence is inspiring.
Billy Graham – I admire him deeply and trust him. He is the real deal. When I listen to him speak and read his writings it’s as if I’m hearing from God.
Bodie Thoene – She writes with devotion and passion for God. Her faith is palpable. A conversation with her would be amazing.
Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
I do more writing than speaking, but each time I get in front of a group I feel privileged, and the energy from the audience uplifts me. Looking into the eyes of listeners and knowing that we share the same heart is a remarkable thing.
I love to teach those who love to write. It’s so much fun to see students grasp new writing principles and realize they can create the book or article they’ve been longing to write.
Small groups are my favorite. I thoroughly love the give and take that happens in a small group, whether it’s a readers group or small writing retreat. Getting together with people passionate about the written word is exhilarating.
No matter whom I speak for or where I always feel I receive more than I give. Now, that’s a great deal.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
Any time I’m teaching I always over prepare, determined to do a great job. Sometimes I get things wrong—grammar, a writing principle, or historical detail. It always embarrasses me. But I’ve learned to be kind to myself—no one knows everything. And I look at each error as something newly learned.
And then there was the time I intended to go fishing but ended up in the drink. I stepped into the boat, but before I could get my other foot off the dock the boat slid away from me. I straddled the water, knowing there was not going to be a good outcome. With my muscles and my jeans about to tear, into the water I went. Someone gave me a hand up out of the water, then with my sneakers squeaking and pants dripping, I walked up the dock, feeling like a piece of wet seaweed and well aware of the giggling audience.
People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
It happens a lot. I’m not one to squelch dreams. I ask them what they want to write about and what they’ve been doing to create their book. If they have questions I answer them and will often give information about how to get connected with other writers and writing organizations, and I encourage them to take the necessary steps to make their dream come true.
Tell us about the featured book.
Where Eagles Soar is a true story about a Native American woman who grew up in the Alaskan wilderness. She lived in the bush where she learned the skills of hunting, trapping, and mushing dogs from her father who was a brutal man.
The book is told in Lily’s voice, as if she were sitting across from you and telling her story. It’s a tale of heartache, survival, hatred, and forgiveness … and of a mother’s love and the Great White God who saved her life and her heart.
Please give us the first page of the book.
My people were story tellers. My dad was a story teller. And I’m a story teller too. But more than that, I am a truth teller. I know about life and death, hope and desperation, riches and bankruptcy. A bankruptcy of the soul, and the beauty of God and his truth—how it shines when it is held up alongside the twisted, ugly lies of the Evil One.
Sometimes the way we begin our life has little to do with where we end up or who we become along the way.
And sometimes it has everything to do with it.
There are people in this world who walk around all scarred up inside—angry and never able to find their way. But for some, scars make them stronger and show them a better way to live.
I’m one of those. And I want to tell you my story.
Most of my life I lived in a muddle of love and brutality, raging inside. Mama was good and kind and her life was one of sacrifice. Daddy didn’t know how to love. He only knew how to get what he wanted. And no one had better ever get in his way, not even family.
Living with ruthlessness can turn a person sour, like milk left out in the heat too long. That was me. I learned I could be better, only it took a great God, a lot of years, and a miracle to show me the way.
I can’t wait to read it. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website address is http://www.bonnieleon.com.And I can always be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BonnieLeonAuthor
Thank you so much, Bonnie, for sharing some of your life, and your new book, with us.
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Where Eagles Soar - Paperback
Where Eagles Soar - Kindle
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