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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spotlight on Bonnie Leon and Enduring Love

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BONNIE LEON is the author of sixteen novels, including the popular Queensland Chronicles and the Sydney Cove series, plus the bestselling Journey of Eleven Moons. She's presently in the midst of a new Alaskan series set during the 1930’s about a woman named Kate who loves to fly. Bonnie stays busy speaking for women's groups as well as teaching at writing seminars and conventions. She and her husband Greg live in the mountains of Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and four grandchildren.

ENDURING LOVE
by Bonnie Leon
Published by Revell

ABOUT THE BOOK

Just when things seem to be looking up for John and Hannah Bradshaw, their world is turned upside down.

Years ago, when John was in prison, he was told his first wife, Margaret, died. So how is it that she shows up in Sydney Town looking to pick up where they left off?

Hannah is distraught. Her marriage is now null and void, and she and John feel they must separate to allow John's first marriage to continue.

But is Margaret hiding something? And just what will she do to get what she wants?

The suspenseful, romantic conclusion to the Sydney Cove trilogy.

A breathtaking story about the emotional risks of relationships, The Moment Between explores the cost of regret, the desire for revenge, and the redemptive power of forgiveness.

Buy Your Copy of Enduring Love today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Tiffany, thanks for including me on your blog. Your questions are thoughtful and creative.

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

I love Psalm 139—the entire chapter. Every time I read it I’m reminded there is nothing about me or my circumstances that God does not know. I’m never out of His sight, and no matter how challenging the situations in my life may be nothing is too difficult for God to solve. Throughout the years, I’ve turned to these verses for comfort.

My own life has been littered with impossible situations. God has been faithful. He’s never let me down—offering mercy, strength and hope in the darkest places. He’s solved my impossible dilemmas and has carried me when I’ve had no strength. Although He didn’t always answer my prayers the way I’d hoped, He never failed to do what was best.

In the Sydney Cove series John and Hannah have faced ghastly trials and yet their faith has been unwavering . . . well for the most part—they are human after all. I wanted the final book in the series to speak loudly to their faith and to God’s, so I threw a worse case scenario at my protagonists, then waited and watched to see what God would do.

It’s my hope that readers will relate to John and Hannah as I have.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

This is a difficult question. My personal experiences always affect my characters. I try to see through their eyes rather than my own, but my perspective rubs off on the people in my stories, to some degree. However, I’ve never created a character who was just like me.

In Enduring Love the overall question presented (Is God sufficient? Is He wise enough and powerful enough to solve this calamity? Could this terrible thing be His will?) stems from my own experiences. When I’ve been in the midst of a storm I’ve asked the questions above and more and wondered how God could resolve my present disaster. John and Hannah also question, yet hang on to the Lord, believing He holds their lives in His hands.

John’s commitment to honor at all costs is more powerful than my own. In the time and place of this story he had few choices, but if I were in his position I’m sure I would have fought harder to have MY OWN WAY. John sought another answer, but when the law was clearly set before him, he fully relinquished his personal rights.

Hannah is someone I would like to be. While living in London, her parents provided her with a strong spiritual foundation. Throughout this story that foundation remained with her, yet she faltered (that’s me). However, in the end it was her steadfast faith and strength of character that made it possible for her to make the hard choices, do the right thing, offer her life a sacrifice and to love the unlovable.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

This is a great question and one I’ve never had before. It took a bit of thought.

John is vanilla. Not because he’s boring but because vanilla is an honest, straight forward flavor. It does not pretend to be something it’s not and there are no other flavors to cover its simple purity. John is devoted to God. He works hard, he loves and cares for his family and he’s dedicated to righteousness. He’s a straight up kind of guy.

I think Hannah would be strawberry (the kind with chunks of berries). It’s a delectable and delicate flavor with bites of sweet fruity surprises. The surprises are like the Holy Spirit which is powerfully evident in Hannah’s life. And strawberries represent the fruit of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. All fruit demonstrated in Hannah.

4. Are there any themes in Enduring Love that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the stories progressed?

When I began writing this story I knew I wanted to present the theme I mentioned above—Nothing is too difficult for God. When we face the impossible, He is our only help.

The issue of forgiveness developed as the story grew. It became apparent to me that there would be much to forgive and if John and Hannah were going to be able to move beyond their present painful circumstances to a place of healing they’d have to forgive the wrongs done to them and to one another.

Something that surprised me had to do with the boy, Thomas. John and Hannah took him into their home after he’d lost his parents and his sister. Understandably he was
wary of people and life.

He eventually finds happiness, but when his world is again sent spinning and his security is ripped away he wonders whether or not pure love truly exists. It’s through God’s provision and John and Hannah’s unwavering love for him that he grows to understand the value of his own life. Even though adopted, he is of no less worth than a child born into the Bradshaw family. We, as well, are adopted into God’s family, yet we are fully His children with all the rights bestowed to a child of the Living God.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

The opening pages of a book are always the most difficult for me, particularly in a series. By the time I get to book three a lot has happened. To catch up readers or to inform those who haven’t read books one and two I’ve got to insert important information so they’re not lost. It’s not easy to do without including back story. In the book Enduring Love this was especially difficult because the opening scene includes six characters. I struggled to find a way to help readers know who these people are without intruding into the scene too much. To be truthful, I’m still not completely happy with the end result.

Once I pushed into the first chapter, however, it became one of my favorite segments of the story. Introducing the dilemma was great fun. Those moments, when John and Hannah see the truth of what is about to befall them, are high tension, which is always exciting to write.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

Touching the Clouds, book one in the Alaskan Skies Series, will release next spring. I’ve just completed book one in the series. It’s been a challenge—lots to learn, but great fun. The story has a different flavor than the Sydney Cove series so making the transition was a bit difficult, but I’ve had a good time and can’t wait to see it on bookstore shelves.

It’s the story of Kate, a bush pilot, and a man named Paul, both transplants from the lower forty-eight to Alaska. Each has a history they hope to leave behind. One has too much to prove while the other is simply trying to hide from the past.

It’s a story filled with fun, drama and adventure.

* * * * *

Thank you, Bonnie, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Enduring Love.

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

14 comments:

Joni Post said...

That was an awesome interview! Bonnie Leon is one of the most inspiring authors I've ever read. I can't wait for the next book!
...Joni Post

mez said...

Wonderful interview! I enjoyed Bonnie's thoughtful answers and the fun ice cream question. Please include me in the drawing. Thanks!

worthy2bpraised[at]gmail[dot]com

Barb said...

Great interview... the book sounds wonderful, I will most definitely be looking for this one!

Barb Campbell
ChristianHomes@gmail.com

Jo said...

What a wonderful interview that was and the book sounds fantastic. Definitely want to read it.

Blessings,
Jo
ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

Carole said...

I enjoyed the interview and would like to try Bonnie's books. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Enduring Love.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Carmen7351 said...

Reading an excerpt of this book, it's like waking up in a nightmare. I'd love to win this book to see how it is handling in a Christian format.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Emma said...

Great interview.The book Enduring Love sound wonderful. Please include me in the drawing.Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Enduring Love.


augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com

Rebecca said...

Bonnie is a friend of mine from high school and I am so proud of her accomplishments as a person and author.

Becky Westby
rebeccakw at mac dot com

Hillary Manton Lodge said...

Looking forward to "Touching the Clouds"! Also love the ice cream question. Very insightful :-)

hillarylodgephotography@yahoo.com

Bonnie Leon said...

Hello everyone. Thanks for stopping by. And thanks for all your encouraging words. And thanks to Tiffany for the great interview questions. I really had to think. :-)

That's a lot of thank you's.

And Carmen, it is like a nightmare, but how wonderful to know God will walk with us even through the nightmares in our lives.

Rebecca, high school was such a loonnngg time ago. Hard to believe so many years have gone by. And considering the kind of teen I was I don't think anyone would have figured I'd end up where I have--looked bad back then. :-]

For all of you who don't know, Hillary Lodge was a teen-age student of mine several years ago--a star pupil and she's now awaiting the release of her first book!

Grace and peace to you all from God.

Bonnie

remnant reminscences said...

I'd love to win this. I've had this series on my wishlist for awhile. It looks really good!

ldneuhof at hotmail dot com

Carolynn W. said...

I would love to read this, thanks for the chance to win!
carolynnwald[at]hotmail[dot]com

Michelle E said...

I would love to get a chance to win this book. The interview was great and it made me want to go to Amazon to put Bonnie's other books on my wish list!Please enter me in the contest.
michelle[dot]ellis37[at]yahoo[dot]com

windycindy said...

Fun, drama and adventure sounds great to me! Please count me in!
Thanks very much.....Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com