A successful walrus hunt means Anna and her beloved Kinauquak will soon be joined in marriage. But before they can seal their promise to one another, a tsunami wipes their tribe from the rugged shore—everyone except Anna and her little sister, Iya, who are left alone to face the Alaskan wilderness.
A stranger, a Civil War veteran with golden hair and blue eyes, wanders the untamed Aleutian Islands. He offers help, but can Anna trust him or his God? And if she doesn’t, how will she and Iya survive?
Bonnie Leon is the author of nineteen novels, including the recently released Joy Takes Flight, book three in the Alaskan Skies series and the popular Sydney Cover series published by Revell.
She enjoys speaking for women’s groups and teaching at writing seminars and conventions. These days, her time is filled with writing, being a grandmother and relishing precious time with her aged mother.
Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and seven grandchildren.
Unveiling Truth Through Fiction
Where did you get the idea for this book and the main character?
My grandmother was an Alaskan Native—Aleut. She grew up in Unalaska, which is an island in the Aleutian Chain. When she was a young woman she stood on a bluff overlooking a cove and while she stood there a tsunami barreled into the coast.
The first time I heard the story the image of what my grandmother had seen was ingrained in my mind. When I first started writing, her encounter with nature’s violent power came to mind and along with it a story emerged. I’d always felt connected to my native roots and when I realized I wanted to write I knew my heritage was something I wanted to explore.
When I went to work on the book, I dug in and researched the history of Alaska and its native culture, particularly the Aleut culture. The more I understood about my roots the more completely the story came together. It was an incredible experience.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
Each character is dear to me. I really don’t think I have a favorite.
I love Iya’s sweet courage and her ability to trust in others and embrace whatever life brings her way.
Erik is everything I’d want the man in my life to be. He’s emotionally steady and physically strong. And he loves God above all others, including himself.
Anna is the one I most identify with. She is a strong-willed and tenacious woman. Wrongly, she believes she must present a facade of strength even when she is weak and fearful. And yet, her inner core is strong and resilient. In spite of her fears she follows through with what must done. Though she can be inflexible she is has enough confidence to bend her will when she must.
Were you surprised at the twists and turns that happened? Was this the result of character growth, rebellion, or change?
When I wrote The Journey of Eleven Moons I’d never before experienced the creation of a novel. It was an incredible experience. Every day I’d sit at my computer and the story would roll out of my mind, onto the keys and appear on the screen. It was exhilarating. As one scene rolled into another the characters became more and more real to me. During the rewrite the experience continued and expanded. Anna, Erik and Iya feel like real people to me. I love and care about them. I want the world to know them too. They are exceptional people living out an extraordinary story.
Did you hate to leave the characters in the end and still think about them?
The characters have never left me. They are kind of like family. I believe more so than any others I’ve created throughout the years. That may be because they are part of my first writing experience. In addition, Anna and Iya are native and they helped me connect with my own heritage. In a way, I discovered more about myself as I discovered who they are.
Unveiling Truth Through Fiction