Wings of Promise, Alaskan Skies Series #2Wings of Promise, Alaskan Skies Series #2
Bonnie Leon
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Kate Evans may be a woman in a man's profession, but as Alaskan bush pilots go she's one of the best. She often works closely with doctor Paul Anderson, bringing much needed medical services to far-flung people in the forbidding wilderness. But when a new boss who is against women pilots takes over the airfield, Kate's dreams--and even her life--are at stake. Can she prove her worth? Or will she die trying? And will she ever be able to truly surrender to her growing love for Paul?

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Bonnie Leon's home is nestled in the southern Oregon forest, where she loves to sit on my back porch and listen to the breath of the wind huff through the trees. Bonnie is married with three children.

Favorite Verse: Isaiah 40:26 – 31 - "... The Lord is the everlasting God, The Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak And strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, And young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."

 Visit Bonnie Leon in the Writers Corner


 Our Interview with Bonnie Leon


Are you a pilot? Have you visited Alaska?

I’m not a pilot, but writers don’t have to be experts on the topics in their stories, they just need to know one. My brother introduced me to bush pilot, Gayle Ranney. She’s been flying for nearly 50 years in Alaska.  She answered every question and went through the flying scenes with me to make sure I had them right. Gayle’s the reason I was able to plant readers in the cockpit of Kate’s Bellanca Pacemaker.

Yes, I have been to Alaska. It’s one of the most beautiful places on the earth—truly. I’m long overdue for a visit. My husband is retiring this summer and we hope to make a trip north. I have a lot of family who live there and it would be wonderful to see them and to explore some of the state.
How did you come up with the concept for Wings of Promise, Alaskan Skies Series #2?

From the beginning, book one was meant to roll into a three book series. Wings of Promise is the continuing saga of Paul and Kate, along with their slew of friends. Some of the surprises exposed in book one still need to be played out—therefore Wings of Promise was born. More adventures and challenges are waiting for the Alaskan pilots and their friends from Touching the Clouds.

The idea for this series originated with my mother, who grew up in Alaska. She spent many years living on a homestead where her family depended upon bush pilots for supplies, mail and a ride into town on occasion. She had great respect for the pilots as well as tender memories of these heroic people who kept her family connected to the outside. Along with stories of my cast of characters, Wings of Promise reveals more about the lives of those who served the people who lived in the bush.

How many more books will be in Alaskan Skies Series?

There will be a total of three. I’m presently working on book three. It has a great ending – I promise.

Can each of the books be read as a stand-alone or must they be read in order?

I’ve worked hard to make sure new readers are informed about what happened in previous books, just in case they step into the series mid-story. I think the books are more fun if you begin with Touching the Clouds. That way you’ve become acquainted with the characters and their personal stories. However, if that’s not possible each book is enjoyable all on its own.


Do you have a favorite character in Wings of Promise? Why?

This is a difficult question. I care about all of my characters. However, if I must choose only one, it has to be Kate. She’s a one of a kind gal, who in Wings of Promise is forced to push herself to the limits, face up to a long-lived torment, and make choices that are life changing. And she does it with strength of character.

How much research did Wings of Promise take?
Every book requires extensive research. Sometimes it feels as if I’ll never have all the answers I need, and as I write and edit more questions present themselves. The flying sequences are especially difficult because I’m not a pilot. But thorough research and the help of experts, like Gayle Ranney, make it possible for me to paint realistic pictures of the time and place, plus what it feels like to fly above the vast wilderness and rugged terrain of Alaska. And what it feels like when the plane you’re flying fails to function.

What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing Wings of Promise?

Each book presents me with surprises during the research process. I gain an education every time. While doing research for Wings of Promise  I was most intrigued by what I discovered  about medical practices during the 1930’s. Paul is a good doctor, but working under primitive conditions creates unexpected challenges.
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
Lack of time is at the top of my list. Building a story requires chunks of time to allow my mind to meander its way along a journey of discovery. Research, though fun, is imperative when creating a backdrop that is real. Marketing matters, though I wish it didn’t. Connecting with the public can make the difference between a book that soars or flops. I also teach at writing seminars and speak for women’s groups. And from time to time I teach Bible Studies for the women in my church.  And though, mentioned last, friends and family are of utmost importance. I spend as much time as I can with my grandchildren—time is fleeting and they are growing fast.
If I didn’t require sleep I might have enough time to get it all done.

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

Being a writer has a number of benefits—working from home, being in charge of my time, and meeting unique and interesting people from all sorts of backgrounds.  However, what I love most is the creative process. It is a mystery—I have no idea how a story emerges from my mind; it just happens. It’s so much fun to discover the story and its characters.


What clubs or organizations are you involved with helping with your writing?

I’m part of Oregon Christian Writers. They are the organization that helped launch my career. I often teach at the summer conferences, which is an amazing experience. OCW is a first rate organization with exceptional people.

I’m also a member of American Christian Writers, which is an online group. Their site is a great place to meet other writers, mentor new writers, and receive guidance and encouragement from the authors who are part of the group.

A couple of years ago I was invited to join Chilibris. It’s an excellent place to learn from some of the best in the industry, and there’s always a fascinating discussion going on. The authors who post on the online loop have years of experience in the industry, are full of great ideas and offer friendship. It’s a top rate group.

Christian Authors Network is another good organization. Each week they offer writing tidbits, guidelines, encouragement and prayer and they help promote one another’s work.
Facebook was intended to be a place for friends to meet, but it’s more than that to me. It’s also a site where I can connect with readers and writers. There’s always new information about what’s happening with other writers and in the industry. It’s also a lot of fun. I have to be careful not to allow it to take up too much of my time.
What do you do to keep your writing fresh and improve on it each time you write a book?

First and foremost I make sure to get time away from writing or writing related work. Life can’t be just writing. Making time for people is extremely important. Stories are about people. If we cloister ourselves away from real live folks, how can we write about them? They are the heart of what I do.
I try to read quality books. They are like food to my imagination and often I see something in a book that inspires me to do more with my own writing.

I love movies. They’re fun, but also have a lot to be teach a writer about how to present a scene or build a captivating plot. And movies are especially helpful when it comes to watching body language, which conveys what’s going on within a character.

 My spiritual life needs to be vibrant and ongoing. I write for God, therefore I must remain close to Him. He is my inspiration.


Are there any other new projects on the horizon?

I always have a new  story or two brewing in my mind. Presently, I’m finishing up the Alaskan Skies series, but I have five other book ideas rolling around my head. I can’t wait to begin working on a new series. My next project will most likely take place in 1920’s America. I’ve been thinking on it for quite some time and in the next couple of months I’ll send a proposal to my agent. I’ve also got another Alaskan tale demanding to be told. It’s based on a true story. I hope that while I work on the new series I’ll be able to spend a good deal of time with the woman who lived the story.

What message would you like your readers to take from reading Wings of Promise?

Life is never perfect—there is heartache and disappointment. Yet, we can still find peace and happiness if we refuse to allow fear, anger or shame to control us. There is so much wonder in this world to be enjoyed and treasured.

What is your greatest achievement?

I’m not sure how to answer this question. Sometimes I feel like I’m the greatest failure. I fall short on so many counts, but I can’t dwell on those kinds of thoughts.  Instead I’ve got to open my heart and mind to the Lord and see who He sees. God loves me, and if I’m willing He will use me to make the world a better place. What an amazing privilege.

All that to say, I believe my greatest achievement has been to push on and to push through troubles toward the goals laid out by God for me. It is only through trusting Him and allowing Him to use me that my weaknesses have been used to glorify God.
What do you do to get away from it all?

I love to meet my husband somewhere for dinner or get away together to the coast or the mountains. Even after forty years of marriage I love to spend time with him. Sometimes we just get in the car and drive. Where we live we’re surrounded by the wonders of God—His handprint is everywhere.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Jesus told stories. Using a story to share truth can change lives. Being a writer is a great privilege but it is also a fearsome responsibility. I want to honor God in what I write and to stay true to His Word.  And so I ask for prayer.



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