|Author Bonnie Leon|
See Paula's review below and find out how to win ONE HUNDRED VALLEYS!
Paula: Was it easy to get back into writing after your absence?
Bonnie: It was difficult. After discovering I am losing my vision I decided to retire, and then both my sister and my mother died within a six week span. I lingered for a long while in my grief.
When I decided it was time to get back to work (because I could still see, kind of) I had to shake off my grief, at least during my working hours. Some of what Emmalin suffered in the book was similar to my personal experience, and walking through her journey was cathartic for me.
Although I’ve been writing for many years getting back into a daily rhythm was a surprising challenge. I’m still working on it but gaining ground.
I am grateful to be writing again. It’s good for my soul. My life is richer and more meaningful when I’m writing.
Paula: Where did the idea for your new setting come from?
Bonnie: I’d like to say that I had a compelling reason for choosing Southern Oregon, but that’s not true. I’ve lived in the Umpqua Valley region for forty years and have never written about it, and I decided it was time. The depth of the story came as I developed the plot and the characters. Discovering what the book would say continued into final edits.
Paula: So, you've been to the area of Oregon where your town of Deer Creek is!
Bonnie: Yes. I’ve lived in the Land of One Hundred Valleys for forty years. The present town of Roseburg was originally called Deer Creek, the setting for my story. I love Southern Oregon and would never want to live anywhere else. Even after all of these years I am still moved by the beauty—deep valleys, rolling hills, forests and mountains, wild rivers—it’s magnificent. And I get to live in the midst of it all. For me, there is no better place.
Paula: What surprised you most about Emmalin?
Bonnie: I was disappointed in her attitude toward the natives. She had no factual concept about who they were. She trusted in newspaper reports, books, and conversations among people who knew little more than she did. And for a long while she was inflexible in her beliefs. But Emmalin wasn’t hard-hearted and in time she came to understand what was true about the Umpqua Indians.
Paula: The cover of One Hundred Valleys is stunning. How much input did you have in its creation?
Bonnie: I love the cover. WhiteFire Publishing allowed me a great deal of input. They are very easy to work with.
When Roseanna White began developing the cover, she asked if I had anything that would be of help. I sent off photos of the main characters as well as pictures I’d taken of the beautiful countryside here in Oregon, and the North Umpqua River. Roseanna’s first draft of the cover was stunning, but I was still able to offer insight into what Emmalin might have been wearing and some of the cover background. At each phase Roseanna asked for my opinions and ideas. When we had what we thought were acceptable cover options, I held a contest on my Facebook author page. We received a great deal of insight and ideas from my followers, and we paid attention.
In the end, even with all the input, the gorgeous presentation of my book is about Roseanna. She’s the one who pulled it all together.
Paula: What are you planning for your next book?
Bonnie: I have a contemporary romance in the works, but when I’d finished writing One Hundred Valleys I didn’t feel finished with the story. I want to spend more time with Enmalin and Jacob and see what happens to them. And I love the community of Deer Creek and would truly enjoy spending more time there. I am considering writing a sequel.
Paula: Great news! How has the present pandemic affected your publishing life?
Bonnie: It has made launching my book more difficult. It’s been hard to stay focused. My mind wanders often to the darkness of the world. I will be thankful when Covid 19 has run its course. In the meantime I pray a lot.
I had to cancel a book signing scheduled in Roseburg, which was a huge disappointment. Because the book is local it would have been great fun to celebrate with hometown readers. I’ve had a difficult time getting signed copies to readers in my community, but have had some success.
However, I don’t think the consequences are all bad. I suspect more people are reading during this pandemic, and I hope some of those readers will pick up my book and discover the harshness and beauty of wilderness life in the Oregon Territory of 1855.
Paula: Thank you so much for being our guest, Bonnie!
Visit Bonnie at her website, or Facebook Author Page
From the stunning cover of One Hundred Valleys, to the picturesque settings, you will be captured by the story of wealthy Emmalin Hammond as she makes her arduous journey to remote Deer Creek, Oregon in 1855. Emmalin sets out to find her estranged father but doesn’t know what to expect when she arrives. Can she trust Jacob Landon, the rough, backwoods guide who leads her to her destination?
Emmalin has an immature faith but it grows in spite of the hardships that confound her. In Deer Creek, she gets to know her father and makes a friend in Margaret a widow and owner of a cafe, who becomes her mentor. As they talk of tragedies that have befallen Emmalin, Margaret counsels: “God didn’t promise to protect us from all harm, but he did promise to walk with us as we struggle in the hard times and to help lead us through life. When it feels the darkest is when His light shines its brightest. And He uses every bit of the good and bad times to mold us into people who will honor Him.”
After much soul searching, Emmalin finally realizes where she belongs and “that what the enemy meant for evil, God always intended for good.”
For a story of reconciliation and finding your worth in God, be sure to pick up a copy of this book.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through WhiteFire Publishing. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
After the death of her mother, Emmalin Hammond discovers she is not the heiress she’d always assumed she’d be. The revelation exposes her fiancé’s true intentions when he withdraws his marriage proposal, leaving Emmalin heartbroken and humiliated. When she discovers the father she believed to be dead is still alive and living in the Oregon Territory she decides it is time to meet the man who has been hidden from her all of her life.
Accompanied by her Uncle Jonathon, she sets out for the Oregon Territory in search of answers and hoping for a renewed relationship with her father. When tragedy strikes, she confronts the terrifying challenge of completing her quest alone. Faced with few options, she entrusts her life to a mountain man named Jacob Landon who agrees to transport her to a small settlement in Southern Oregon called Deer Creek, a place also known as the Land of One Hundred Valleys.
Emmalin is not prepared for the hardships of life in the Oregon wilderness. Each day presents a new challenge. Newfound friends, including the reserved Jacob Landon, who unexpectedly stirs her heart, come alongside to help her adapt. Yet she feels out of place. Should she brave the arduous journey back to Philadelphia for the life she once knew or remain and hope for something better in the Oregon wilderness?
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