Wednesday, September 07, 2016

IN THE LAND OF WHITE NIGHTS - Bonnie Leon - One Free Book

Bio: Bonnie Leon is the author of twenty-one novels, including the recently released In the Land of White Nights, the popular Alaskan Skies and bestselling The Journey of Eleven Moons.
Bonnie’s books are being read internationally and she hears from readers in Australia, Europe, and even Africa

She enjoys speaking for women’s groups and teaching at writing seminars and conventions and especially delights in mentoring young authors. These days, her time is filled with writing, being a grandmother and relishing precious time with her aged mother.

Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and seven grandchildren.

Welcome back, Bonnie. How did you come up with the idea for this story?
The Northern Lights series emerged from my family history. My mother, who is an Alaska native, was the only one of eight children to leave the state when she reached adulthood. Her mother’s home was Unalaska and the opening chapters of book one came from an incident she experienced as a young woman. She stood on a bluff overlooking a beach as a tsunami swept ashore. That and other family stories sparked my imagination and the series grew from there.

I’ve always been drawn to the stories handed down by my family, but not until I dug in and did the research did I fully appreciate my native roots. It was a thrilling experience. 

If you were planning a party with Christian authors of contemporary fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
  • Beverly Lewis – It would be great to meet her and tell her how much I love her book, The Shunning.
  • Hillary Manton Lodge – She was an early student of mine. I love her stories, especially her atypical and humorous Amish tales. Plus she’s lots of fun.
  • Susan Meissner – Her book, The Shape of Mercy, is contemporary and historical. An amazing tale. I’d love to find out how she does her story processing.
  • Christa Parrish – I admire her gutsy writing voice and would love to meet her.    
  • John Moore – He’s written several novels, but his story, The Land of Empty Houses, was a daring tale for the Christian market when it released in 1998. It has a stunning ending that took me completely by surprise.
  • Joyce Scott – She is a mystery writer I met many years ago. She is a gifted writer. 
Now let’s do that for a party for Christian authors of historical fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
  • Francine Rivers – She wrote one of my all-time favorite Christian romances, Redeeming Love.
  • Camille Eide – Camille is a friend and fellow Ashberry Lane author. Her most recent book, The Memoir of Johnny Divine is ... divine.
  • Lauraine Snelling – She writes touching stories and is a lovely person, full of optimism and fun.
  • Lynn Austin – The depth of her characters and historical accuracy is breathtaking. It would be a privilege to meet her.
  • Lori Benton – She is a dear friend and one of my favorite historical authors. I absolutely love her books.
  • Ann Shorey – Ann has been a critique partner of mine for many years. She writes beautiful historical novels and is a lovely woman who would brighten any party. 
Many times, people (and other authors) think you have it made with so many books published. What is your most difficult problem with writing at this time in your career?
I’ve been forced by time and circumstances to slow down. For me that means writing fewer books, less exposure, and fewer sales. It’s not been an easy transition.

Now in my mid-sixties I no longer have the energy I once did. And so much more is required of authors these days. We are asked to be a social media expert, a teacher, speaker, a publicist and a writer. There just aren’t enough hours in a day. I’ve reached a place where I value my time and refuse to expend all of my energy on my career. There are so many important things in life, specifically people—my children, grandchildren, and friends.

In the last year I started having difficulty with my vision and was recently diagnosed with bilateral macular puckering—a funny name, but not a humorous condition. It distorts my vision and creates blind spots, especially when I’m reading or working on my computer. The condition slows me down, and it takes me longer to get my work completed. I’m praying it doesn’t progress. Only time will tell.

I’ll pray for you and your eyes. Tell us about the featured book.
In the Land of White Nights is book two in the Northern Lights series. The story began with The Journey of Eleven Moons which opens on an Alaskan shore in 1868 where a tsunami changed the lives of two native girls, Anna and her sister Iya and the life of an American adventurer, Erik Engstrom. The three set off in search of a new home for the sisters, but when book one ends there’s a lot more story still to tell.

Book two picks up with the three travelers heading to Sitka and a new adventure. Erik and Anna are caught up in the painful transition that takes place in Alaska soon after it becomes an American territory and the first of many gold finds threatens to strip away the distinctive qualities of the territory. Anna and Iya struggle against intolerance as well as the threats of an old nemesis, Jarvis Moyer, whose blackened heart can think of little else but their destruction.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Alaskan Territory
May 1869
Anna’s stomach tightened as she watched the dory travel back to the dock of onlookers, leaving her on the ship anchored in the harbor. Was this the right thing to do? Would whites accept Indians like her into their world?
Erik moved to her side and smiled down at her. “Ready?”
Nodding, Anna stepped forward on the wooden decking of a sturdy clipper ship. She held baby Luba in her arms and her five-year-old sister, Iya, stayed close beside her.
The captain shouted orders to put out to sea, and the crew set to work, clambering over riggings, pulling on lines, and climbing up masts to unfurl the sails. The men worked in unison, almost as if in a dance. The sails expanded and the ship moved beneath Anna’s feet as they headed into the deeper waters of Cook Inlet.
She turned her face into the wind and couldn’t keep from smiling. Cool air caressed her cheeks, the clean smell of the sea lifting her spirits. Stifling an impulse to laugh, she glanced down at Iya and squeezed her hand and hugged Luba more tightly. What would Kinauquak say about her taking his child to a new land? He would want what was best. He would want her to be loved. Anna pressed a kiss to her daughter’s head. Delight at being on the sea once more swept away fears of the unknown.
She took a slow, deep breath and looked up at her betrothed. Tall and handsome, Erik had his gaze fastened on the swelling sails. He seemed aware of nothing but the billowing white canvas that flapped in the wind. His blue eyes shimmered with anticipation and he gripped the railing tightly, as if by doing so he might hurry the ship along.

Interesting. I love your writing, Bonnie. How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing this new book with me and my readers.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
In the Land of White Nights (Northern Lights) - Paperback
In the Land of White Nights (Northern Lights Book 2) - Kindle

Comments Starting Questions: Have you ever been to Alaska? Have you wanted to go to Alaska, but haven't yet?

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Connie Porter Saunders said...

I haven't had the opportunity to visit Alaska but I would love to go. Thanks for sharing Bonnie's interview.
Connie from KY

Bonnie Leon said...

Connie, if you've never been I urge you to include it in your travel plans. There's no place like it. You're going to love it!

Unknown said...

Dual Military family have lived on both coasts and 3 overseas tours but currently living in the Adirondacks of NY! Never read any of your books but love Christian Historical Romance!!

Cindy Nipper. mrs(dot)nipper(at)gmail(dot)com

Bonnie Leon said...

Cindy, you've really done a lot of traveling. I'll be you've seen some spectacular places and have some great stories to tell.

Bless you.

Mary Preston said...

I enjoyed the first page thank you.

Mary P


Cindy W. said...

Hi Bonnie. I'm sorry to hear about your eye condition. I am praying the Lord will heal your eyes and reverse the macular puckering.

I have been to Alaska when we came home from almost four years in Japan. What I saw was beautiful but I was only 10 and we were only there a few hours refueling before coming home to California. I was an Air Force brat.

I would love to win a copy of your new book. Thank you for the excerpt.

Cindy W. from Indiana

Cathy said...

Very interesting interview with the personal background and historical basis for the story. I greatly enjoy historical fiction and have read numerous books set during the general time period in the West, but there are few based in Alaska. My husband and I would love to visit the state as we appreciate the outdoors and national parks.

Cathy said...

Cathy from TX - am sorry as forgot to mention my location with my comment and was not able to determine how to edit the original post.

kim hansen said...

Alaska is on my bucket list. north platte nebraska

Melissa Henderson said...

I have never been to Alaska. I have a friend who travels to Alaska and loves the area.
Melissa in Mechanicsville VA

Holly Ison said...

I would love to visit Alaska someday! I think an Alaskan cruise would be magnificent! --Holly in Morehead, KY

Bonnie Leon said...

Thank you, Mary.

First pages are tough for me, especially in a sequel. A writer has to introduce the main characters and the time and place and hint at what's come before in the first chapter and it must begin with a captivating first page. I always write and rewrite first pages.

Bonnie Leon said...

Cindy, I hope one day you'll be able to return to Alaska and spend time exploring the state. It really is spectacular.

I appreciate your prayers. Good vision is so major in life, and I've taken mine for granted for so many years. I want to stay engaged in the world and those puckers in my retina are interfering. Remembering Romans 8:28.

Bonnie Leon said...

Cathy, I love all fiction but especially historical. I wasn't at all interested in history when I was young, but through the years I discovered how precious human history is. When writing a story the history is integral to the plot and characters and becomes its own character in some ways.

I have a new historical in my mind, just waiting to be told. And it takes place right here in Southern Oregon.

Bonnie Leon said...

Kim, I've never been to Nebraska, but my husband and I are planning another cross country trip for next year and we plan to visit. Do you have any special recommendations for places we should see?

Bonnie Leon said...

Hi Melissa. I hope one day you will travel to Alaska. My husband and I are hoping to go up to see family next summer. We'll take the Alcan Highway. There is so much to see between here and there.

Bonnie Leon said...

Holly, I've never taken an Alaskan cruise but I have several friends who have. They've all loved the excursions. I hope you'll get your Alaskan cruise one day.

SavingsInSeconds said...

I've never been to Alaska. A friend of mine cruised there this year and said it was beautiful.

Abigail Mitchell said...

Great interview. Looking forward to reading your books. Please enter me.
Clarksville VA

Brenda W said...

I've always wanted to see Alaska.
I think I would really enjoy the book because it is Christian Historical Fiction and in Alaska which is very different from TN where I live.
Brenda W

Nancy M said...

I have been to Alaska! Beautiful state! I love in KY!