Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Bonnie Leon's "Joy Takes Flight"
Title: Joy Takes Flight
Cover blurb: She longs for the skies, but life keeps pulling her back to earth.
Will Kate finally find a future that satisfies? Newlyweds Kate and Paul are settling in their Alaskan home in the bush country. They rejoice when Kate finds she is pregnant, but soon it is clear that there are hurdles ahead. Should she continue in her dangerous profession as an Alaskan bush pilot? Can she really fall into the traditional role of a wife? Then disaster strikes, life begins to unravel, and Kate fears she may have lost Paul for good.
1) How did this story come to you?
The series idea grew out of stories my mother told me about her life in the Alaskan bush and how she and her family depended on bush pilots to deliver mail and supplies and on occasion a lift to town. She admired and trusted the pilots. Throughout the years she provided me with a small library of books about the brave men and women who risk their lives to serve the people of Alaska and to fulfill their own desire for flying adventures.
One day while reading one of the books, my writer’s mind took over. Soon I had a story idea—there was Kate and a mystery man (who was inspired by a man with a hidden past who lived on a homestead bordering my grandparents’ property), and I started blasting down notes.
The creative aspect of writing is a mystery to me. I don’t know where the stories come from, but they usually begin with a slice of truth and then my mind just seems to find them. Joy Takes Flight is the final book in a series so there were conflicts, questions and troubles I needed to resolve. Readers need to know what Kate decides to do with her life. And Paul’s secret must be told.
I’ve known the ending of this story for three years. It feels so good to finally have it completed, on the page and in print.
2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
While writing the final book in the Sydney Cove series I started thinking about what to write next. I had several ideas and created a synopsis and a limited proposal for each, then sent the outlines to my agent. She and a co-worker looked them over and decided they liked the idea of a woman pilot standing up to the Alaskan wilderness during the 1930’s best. There wasn’t anything like it “out there” and the idea was intriguing, so we went with it.
I presented a full proposal to Revell Publishing and they loved the idea. Contracts were signed and I went to work. It wasn’t easy. There’s always endless research, but I needed to know how to fly.
I didn’t know the first thing about flying. But I found a pilot, Gayle Ranney, who had been flying as a bush pilot in Alaska for more than forty years. She’s the one who helped me plant readers in the cockpit of Kate’s Bellanca.
Book one had troubles and I actually wrote it twice. Books two and three flowed much more easily. It was fun to accompany Paul and Kate on their adventure. I’m sorry to say farewell to them.
3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1. Years ago, when I walked down the church aisle on my wedding day, I didn’t want to get married. I’m glad I did. Greg and I will celebrate our 41st anniversary next month.
2. When I send in a new book to my editor, I’m always nervous. I usually convince myself she’s going to hate the book.
3. I don’t fly. I have a disorder in my ears that makes flying miserable.
4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I’m heading into uncharted territory. I’ve decided to step out and write two books that are a new genre for me. I’m presently working on a true life story about a woman who grew up in Alaska and lived a life few people have experienced and most could never imagine. It’s truly incredible. I can’t wait to introduce this little Cherokee girl to my readers.
I also have a contemporary novel waiting to be written. It is the story of my heart, one I’ve longed to write for a very long time. It the story of five mismatched friends who set out on a cross country trip hoping to rediscover what most take for granted, a “normal” life. They find much more—friendship and dreams long forsaken.
5) Parting comments?
Thank you, readers. I don’t know if you realize how much writers love to write. It fills our lives. We find stories while watching the news, reading history or just allowing our minds to wander. You are the reason we can write. If you weren’t reading our books we’d be out of a job. So . . . thank you. And if you find a book or an author that you love, make sure to spread the word.
6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
It’s easy to find me. My website address is www.bonnieleon.com. Or I’m often visiting with friends on facebook. The address to my author’s page is www.facebook.com/BonnieLeonAuthor.