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Interview With Bonnie Leon

When a log truck hit the van she was driving, Bonnie Leon faced the end of life as she knew it. It would take months of rehabilitation, during which time Bonnie prayed for God to give her a new direction and something to do that mattered. He answered, and she hasn’t stopped writing since.

Bonnie, if you could pick one word to describe your journey as a writer, what would it be? Why?


My journey into writing had such a startling beginning. I attended a writing conference in 1992 and was encouraged by Lauraine Snelling to write a novel. I’d been chewing on an idea that she thought the market would welcome. I went home and over the next ten months wrote the story, then returned to the conference that summer and sold it to Thomas Nelson Publishing. The book, The Journey of Eleven Moons, made the bestsellers list.

Every day since has been filled with surprises. God never does things the way I expect. He keeps me on the edge of my seat.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
It wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t walked through the doors God opened. This was all God’s idea. I’d never imagined myself as a writer. My faith and trust was key to becoming a published author.

I’m not a particularly courageous person, but when I found myself without options I stepped forward and followed the Lord’s leading. Throughout the years I’ve zigged when I should have zagged, but God is full of mercy, and in spite of my bungling, He continued to direct and encourage me. I can only guess at what is ahead, but I have confidence God has it all under control.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
When I was younger I was more disciplined and did a better job of organizing my time. These days I’m easily distracted by things like Facebook or email and I often get off on rabbit trails on the internet. Before I know it hours of writing time has been eaten up by my distractions. The writing must get done so I end up working evenings and weekends. I’m just beginning a new book and I’m determined to be more disciplined. I need a life outside of writing.

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
My faith is part of who I am and part of everything I do so it naturally flows into my books. I don’t know how to write without including that part of me, and I wouldn’t want to. It’s important to entertain readers, but I long to bring something meaningful to a story, something a reader can take with them that will impact their lives in a positive way.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
Several years ago I received a letter from a man who had been in prison for ten years at that time. When he was nineteen years old, he’d killed a man during a robbery and received a life sentence (no parole) in a federal prison.

In his youth he’d placed his faith in Christ, but had wandered far from his early beginning as a child of God. A family member gave him a copy of my book, The Journey of Eleven Moons. After reading it, he rededicated his life to Christ and vowed to serve the Lord for the remainder of his life, in prison.

I recently heard that he’s been faithful to that vow. Even now, tears quickly come to the surface when I realize that something I wrote had such a powerful influence in one man’s life and the potential to touch many others. It’s why I write.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
When my life changed because of the auto accident, I felt I had nothing of value to offer. And when God answered my prayer to live a life of consequence by giving me writing and then opened every door to make it possible, I knew it was His will for me. I write for Him.

Ideas call to me from many places. Often times I discover them in my own family history, and it’s not unusual to find a story while researching another project. I may find a historical tidbit that shouts at me and before I know it I’m mentally plotting a new story.

The process of discovery and the creation of a story is a mystery to me, but I love it.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
I’ve heard from some that my writing voice is unique. I’m not sure how to describe my voice except that it’s a straight forward style that flows. I admire writers who seem to effortlessly spit out metaphors and similes and who write snappy, fast paced scenes and dialogue. I’m capable of tossing out a catchy line now and again, but I’m pretty much a storyteller, plain and simple.

Finish this question: The greatest spiritual lesson I’ve learned from the writing journey is … It’s not about me.

Any parting words?
To the writers reading this—Be encouraged. The journey toward publication can be long and arduous, but don’t give up. If God has called you to write, or if you just can’t help yourself, keep going, keep learning, keep writing. Trust God and His timing. He will bring about His will in His time. And as we all know, His timing is always perfect.

Thanks for sharing with us, Bonnie!

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