la·gniappe (lnyp, ln-yp) n.
Chiefly Southern Louisiana & Mississippi
1. A small gift presented by a storeowner to a customer with the customer's purchase.
2. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit.
I hope these entries give you a little something extra with posts about this southern gal living in the north, about writing, author interviews, new releases, and occasional photos from my photography sojourns.
Thanks for reading!
Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe
Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains
Monday, August 10, 2015
Bonnie Leon - To Dance With Dolphins
Good Monday Morning
Today, Bonnie Leon visits Lagniappe to discuss her latest release, To Dance With Dolphins.
Tell us a little about To Dance With Dolphins.
Willow, Tom and Taylor are part of the same support group and live with chronic
illness.Seeking a more meaningful life,
they decide to travel from Oregon to Florida to swim with wild dolphins. Their
first day out, they run into trouble and take on a hitchhiker, Sean, and
although the last thing he wants is to be harnessed to a group of disabled
travelers, he agrees to become their driver.
They set off
across the country, hoping for the courage to follow their dreams. The journey
is a difficult one, but the travelers soon realize that following God might be
What is the best
WRITING advice you’ve received?
way to learn to write a book is to write one.”
In 1993 at my first writing conference, Lauraine Snelling gave
me that advice when she encouraged me to write The Journey of Eleven Moons.
She was right. I returned home after the conference and went to
work. I didn’t know much about the logistics of putting together a novel, but I
jumped in and started writing anyway. With the help of a critique group I
completed that book, my first one ever, ten months later. I’ve been writing
Give readers your
brand/tagline and share how you came up with it.
My tag line is Unveiling Truth Through Fiction.
When it was time to create a tag line I wrote a list of words
that described who I am and what I hoped to accomplish as a writer. I’ve always
have been a person who believes that the truth should not be compromised in our
personal lives or in God’s Word. And it is my desire that those who read my
stories will better understand the truth and be set free from their troubles.
After all, God’s Word says that the truth shall set us free.
Jesus used stories to help people see the truth. And I agree
with his methods.J
Are there any new
authors that have grasped your interest?
Camille Eide has recently published two novels, Like There’s No Tomorrow andLike a Love Song. She’s a brilliant
writer and her story topics are fresh and perfect for the contemporary market.
I can’t wait for her next one.
Another one to watch is April McGowan. Her first two novels are Jasmine and Macy, listed under healing
fiction, an accurate a tag line. She’s a wonderful writer and you don’t want to
miss her stories.
Is there anything you
find particularly challenging in your writing?
These days, it’s time management. It seems there’s always so
many other needs crying out for my time. And too often a day slips by with
little productivity. And the older I get the more difficulty I have with the
discipline of staying in front of my computer and working, rather than keeping
touch with friends on Facebook—my partner and nemesis,
was one of the most surprising things you've learned while writing your books?
was and continue to be surprised at how a story flows from my mind. I plot out
a book, but there are always surprises, unexpected twists and turns and
characters that do something I’m unprepared for. When I begin and there are no
words on page one, I’m always swamped with uncertainty and wonder how I’m going
to pull it off again. I go to work anyway and throw the story down on the page.
That first run through is always a wreck, but after multiple edits the story miraculously
finds its way and comes together. It’s a beautiful mystery to me.
can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
best thing a reader can do to help make a book successful is to tell other
people about it. Word of mouth can make all the difference. Publishing houses
can’t continue to publish books with low sales, so please, readers, get your
megaphone out and announce your favorite books to other readers.
lovely stories have remained mostly invisible because no one heard about them.
It’s very sad.
do you write? Can you describe your favorite writing place? (If you’d like to
send pictures that would be great! Attached to the email please don’t embed in
the Interview word doc.)
have an office. When I created it, I imagined it would be a place of peace and
order. It’s not. Somehow or other, things get left out, are not filed, and
research items tend to get stacked on my desk or most convenient location.
I have a spectacular view from my office window and whenever I feel the need to
get away, I just spend a bit of time enjoying the splendor laid out below my
Here's Bonnie's view from her office:
What an awesome view!!
What can we expect from you in the
Presently I’m working on another contemporary with a working
title of Morning Glories. It’s the
story of a woman called McKenna who lives in San Francisco. She works for an Ad
Agency and has wandered into the lie that work is all she needs. She no longer
has time for the little things in life, the things that offer flavor and joy.
The death of her Aunt Jean turns McKenna’s life upside down. And
a relationship with a new man in her life isn’t what she thought it was.
Socks or slippers or
Vacation: Beach or
(I live in the mountains)
The Voice or American
Birthday Card: Email
or Snail Mail?Snail
Pride and Prejudice
or Gone with the Wind? Pride and Prejudice
Steel Magnolias or
Fried Green Tomatoes?Steel Magnolias
Twenty-two-year-old Claire Murray has suffered from a mysterious
disease for years. Her social circle has shrunk to a small support group for
people with chronic illness and disability. But what if life could be
about more than doctors, pain, and medications?
Claire and three others—old grouch Tom, hippy-holdout Willow,
and moody Taylor—hatch plans for a cross-country trip to swim with the dolphins
in Florida. Only a day into the trip, they unexpectedly need help. And who
happens to be hitchhiking along the highway but a young, good-looking loner
named Sean Sullivan? However, the last thing he wants is to be harnessed to a
bunch of ailing travelers.
Though the journey proves difficult, following God’s plan might
be even harder. Will they find the courage to follow their dreams and dare to
is the author of more than twenty novels, including the recently released To Dance With Dolphins and bestselling The Journey of Eleven Moons.
1991 a log truck hit the van she was driving, and her world changed. The
accident left her unable to work, and after months of rehabilitation she was
told by physicians that she would never return to a normal life. Facing a
daunting fight to reclaim her life and in search of personal value, she
discovered writing. She has been creating stories ever since.
familiar with the challenges of disability beyond her personal experience. Her
sister endured the debilitating illnesses of lupus, MS, and Bi-polar disorder.
And her daughter is grappling with the chronic progressive disorder of
chronic pain and disability Bonnie found new purpose. She enjoys speaking for
women’s groups, teaching at writing seminars, and mentoring young writers. She
also administers an online support group for those living with chronic pain and
disability and is a participating member of the Syringomyelia and Chiari
is married to her teen-age sweetheart, the mother of three grown children, and
grandmother of eight. Bonnie and her husband Greg live in the mountains of
thanks for visiting Lagniappe! Bonnie's parting thoughts and question for you:
To Dance With Dolphins is all about the characters. The cross-country journey is fun and the theme is important, but when I contemplated writing this story I knew the bottom line was that I needed to create meaningful and realistic characters, people that readers care about.
What hooks you into a book most, the characters or the plot?