Thursday, December 11, 2008

Spotlight on Bonnie Leon

Bonnie Leon author of Longings of the Heart is visting with us today.

If you would like to win a copy of the novel be sure to leave a comment and don't forget to answer the question at the end of this post.

Bonnie, I am so glad you were willing to share your thought about Christmas. I know that I love Christmas carols. What is your favorite carol or Christmas song?

I love all kinds of Christmas Carols. I’m one of those people who begin playing Christmas music on Thanksgiving. Choosing only one carol is really difficult. But if I must name only one, it is O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. I love the haunting, reverent cadence of the song. It places a spotlight on Christ, telling the story of Emmanuel (God With Us)—who He is, who He’s come to save, and why. It even includes his lineage. Every time I sing the song and listen to the words I am reminded of how wonderful my savior is and what a price he paid. And I can do nothing other than rejoice.

That is a beautiful song. What is the best Christmas present you ever received?

Throughout the years, I’ve received a multitude of wonderful and meaningful gifts, but the one that immediately comes to mind when you ask this question is rather a silly gift. However, to a little girl back in the fifties it was the “best thing ever”.
I treasured horses, still do. As a young woman I used to ride whenever possible, and I had a collection of horse figurines. Anyway, one Christmas when I was about six-years-old I tore wrapping paper off an odd-shaped package and discovered a stick horse. You know the kind that has a body that looks like half a broomstick, with plastic reins and a head made from stuffed fabric and a sticking-up mane.

To me, it felt almost as good as the real thing. I had an active imagination even back then. I took my young and spirited steed and together we rode all over the neighborhood. I can imagine the giggles and smiles from those watching, but it didn’t matter, I was having too much fun. J

One of my dear friends just bought a stick horse for a little boy on the Angel tree. I hope he loves his as much as you did yours. When we grow-up our family traditions change to join with our spouse’s traditions. What traditions do you have that are different from when you were growing up?

My first Christmas as a married woman was a learning experience. While growing up Christmas was a big deal in my home. We had all kinds of traditions and Christmas was definitely my family’s favorite holiday. My husband’s background was a little different. Christmas was much more understated in his house. And that first year as his wife I discovered he wasn’t a big fan of Christmas.

One of my family’s traditions was to go out and find just the right tree, cut it down and then bring it home and decorate it together. We had a ritual for that. My father always set up the tree, then put on the lights and garland. Then my mom, brothers and sisters and I would add all the additional ornaments while my father watched and admired our work. And when every ornament had been hung, my father place a star on top and the lights were turned on. We always oohed and aahed over the beauty of our tree.

On that first Christmas as a young bride, I assumed my husband would play the same role my father had. But he wasn’t interested in any of that. After dragging him out to get a tree from a lot, he refused to help decorate. I did it on my own while he watched. I was angry and in tears. And that was just the beginning of the disappointment of my first married Christmas experience.

Since that time, I’ve managed to stir up some Christmas cheer in my mate. All through the years when our children were growing up, we’d go together to cut a tree and after my husband got it all set up, he’d sit back and cheer us on while we hung ornaments. On Christmas Eve we’d sing carols and read the Christmas story.

Now, that it’s just the two of us, we go together to get a tree, usually cut one and after Greg sets it up, we decorate it together. Christmas Eve we attend church and remember our Lord’s birth. On Christmas morning we still gather with our family, any of those who can make it here to celebrate. However, more and more we are the one’s traveling to our children’s homes.

I notice that my parents do most of the traveling to. My husband and I had very different traditions growing up too but after a few years you begin to make your own. Christmas is a time that many memories are made. What is the best Christmas memory you have?

As I’ve said, my family was big on Christmas and I have many dear memories. But my favorite has to be my first Christmas as a believer. My husband and I were separated and were going through the process of divorce (By the way, Greg and I are still together—38 years now). We’d been living separately for several months and not long before Christmas I found myself on my knees before the Lord, realizing for the first time that I was special and that He loved me. I understood that His death was a gift of eternal life for me.

On Christmas Eve I walked through the church doors (my mother’s church; I didn’t have one) and I understood the reason for the joy and worship in that place. I sat in a sanctuary with flickering candles that made the deep red and gold adornments glow. The fragrant scent of evergreen boughs was heady. I felt the Lord’s presence. I worshipped Christ, my Savior, and celebrated His birth. When I think back to that night, I can still feel the hushed reverence and it makes me long for my heavenly home.

Bonnie, that is a very beautiful memory, thank you for sharing. I am so happy your and Greg are still together. Wow 38 years!!!

Do you have a favorite holiday movie?

One favorite movie? Impossible. I can’t narrow it down to just one, so I’ll hedge a little
and name two. Every year I stay up late on Christmas Eve, after everyone’s gone to bed, and watch It’s a Wonderful Life. I never tire of the story about a man who thinks he’s done nothing of importance with his life and how he is graciously shown what a wonderful difference his “way” of living effected those around him. No matter how ordinary our lives may seem we impact those around us; we are part of God’s plan.

Also, sometime during the season I make sure to watch A Christmas Carol. I love the wonderful fantasy that speaks so loudly of redemption and how we as new creations are to live and to rejoice.

I always liked It's a Wonderful life too. I have yet to see A Christmas Carol this year. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

To read my review of Longings of the Heart here.
To visit Bonnie's Website here.
To order a copy of Longings of the heart Longings of the Heart (Sydney Cove Series #2)
If you would like to win a copy of Bonnie's latest book, please leave a comment and answer one question. What is your favorite Christmas movie? Leave your name and a way to contact you. This contest is open to U.S residents. A winner will be selected on December 19th.


Ausjenny said...

Christmas Shoes is my favourite Christmas movie, In fact I am going to hire it for the weekend. It is sad but uplifting at the same time. the song makes me cry too.
I also like the sequal christmas Blessing. It shows what Christmas is about.
I love alot of Christmas movies I even ordered some hoping they would be here by now but not yet.
Good Interview and thanks for sharing Bonnie

Sarah said...

I love Elf it is so funny but also very sincere.
rebornbutterfly (AT) sbcglobal (DOT) net

Michelle Sutton said...

Great stuff here! I don't need to be entered because I have this book and I am almost ready to crack it open. Bonnie's novels are always great!

Missy Tippens said...

Great interview!

I'm also a big Elf fan. And also the Grinch. Of course, we watch them off and on throughout the year, not just at Christmas! :)

missytippens [at]

Carole said...

There's so many good ones - It's a Wonderful Life, White Christmas to name a few. My #1 favorite is A Christmas Carol starring George C. Scott (and 2nd to that is An American Christmas Carol with Henry Winkler).

Bonnie is a new author for me and I would love to win her book. Thank you for the giveaway!

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Ann Shorey said...

Great interview. Bonnie's a good friend and critique partner--everything she writes is gold. I already have Longings of the Heart, so don't need to be entered in the drawing.

My favorite Christmas movie is "A Christmas Carol," the version starring Alistair Sim.

ann at annshorey dot com

Bonnie Leon said...

So glad to see you ladies joining in. :-) Hmmm. Wonder who will get a free copy of my latest book? I'll get it in the mail as soon as I know.

And I've got to chime in on Christmas movies. I love so many, but I can't believe I didn't mention "A Christmas Carol". My favorite version is with George C. Scott. He played a fabulous Scrooge.

And evidently I missed a good one because I've never watched "Elf". I'll have to rent a copy and watch.

And Michelle, I'm holding my breath until you review my book. I know you review honestly.

Blessings all,


Martha A. said...

I think my favorite would have to be "It's a wonderful life"
I also like the Christmas Carol with Allstair Sims, and I watched one last year called Christmas in Connecticut that I liked, but still, it's a wonderful life tops them!

I have liked Bonnie's books since I read her Northern Light's series years ago! Even my sister who rarely reads anymore, those were some that stuck in her head! You are an excellent author!


Bonnie Leon said...


Thanks so much! It's wonderful to hear people are enjoying my stories.

Many blessings to you,