From lumber to literature: Larson pens her first novel

By Stacy Walenter

When Bonnie Larson went to Newfoundland to do genealogy research about her great-great grandfather Alexander Cooper, she didn’t expect to see a park in the small town of Harbor Grace with an airplane and a statue of Amelia Earhart.
Though Larson would discover that Earhart had flown from Harbor Grace to Ireland, meaning it was possible that her family may have known the famous pilot, Larson didn’t necessarily think much of it, except that the possible acquaintance was intriguing.
Later, when Larson visited Waynoka, Oklahoma for more research, she found Earhart again. This serendipity, this repetition, stirred something in Larson. She began to research Earhart more.
“She was such a big part of our country moving forward,” Larson said. “She showed us there’s no glass ceiling. You can do anything you want if you just believe in yourself.”
The idea of Earhart brewed in Larson’s mind for several years before Larson finally decided to set Earhart in the center of her recently published novel Flying So High. Larson’s novel is historical fiction with Christian themes and interweaves the stories of Earhart, Theodore Roosevelt, Alexander Graham Bell, and Admirals Richard Peary and Robert Byrd.
The novel focuses on how these pioneers changed America at the turn of the 20th century.
“These individuals were opening the world and Bell brought them back together with the telephone,” Larson said.
Larson especially appreciates Bell, who was a proponent of women.
Larson also incorporated her great-great grandfather into the novel. Cooper was friends with Admiral Peary. Cooper sailed out to greet Peary after he returned to Sydney, Newfoundland from the north pole.
“These people had incredible talent and combined those talents in the spirit of cooperation. They made great things happen for all of us. They opened new doors for all of us. Believe in your journey, believe in yourself, and believe in others because all things are possible,” Larson said.
The spirit of local cooperation also helped initially lead Larson to novel writing. While taking business classes at Flathead Valley Community College’s Lincoln County Campus, Chad Shilling sat Larson down and said that he didn’t want to let her graduate with just a business degree. He wanted her more well-rounded. And he wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Larson said it was the most sage advice she has ever received.
So, Larson began taking science and English classes, but it was Shakespeare who had the most profound effect on the budding novelist, especially A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
“I took Shakespeare’s Comedies from Dorothy Hintz and I was hooked,” Larson said. “I wanted to discover how Shakespeare wrote to multiple audiences.”
Larson hopes that she is writing to multiple audiences in her own novel: the spiritual, the non-religious, and the scientific.
“A couple of the people in the book wrestle with how they feel about God,” Larson said. “Wrestling is a good thing.”
Between Hintz and FVCC’s other writing instructor, the late John Herrmann, Larson began to find her authorial voice.
Hintz commended her for so quickly understanding the heart of literature, for grasping what Shakespeare was trying to do. Herrmann praised her writing style and called her a “contemporary Hemingway.”
Larson adds Flying So High to her other five-star Amazon books. She has also contributed to The Spiritual Writers’ Network 2016, 365 Days of Angel Prayers, and 111 Morning Meditations.
Larson plans to have several book signings in the near future. One of these signings will occur at the grand opening of Larson’s roadside chapel, located near Larson Lumber. It will be called Three Bells Chapel.
As a lay minister, Larson said she constantly strives to uplift people. As an integral part of Larson Lumber for nearly 20 years, she sees her work as not merely the supplying of boards, but contributing to the growth and development of the community.
Larson is currently working on two more novels. In these she hopes to explore the spirit of cooperation today and how the social aspects of our human lives are declining. She believes that if people come together in dialog, and if people can believe in themselves, any problem can be tackled.
Flying So High is now available for Kindle and in paperback at Amazon.com. You can also visit the website www.flyingsohigh.com or like the Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/flyingsohigh