Sunday, June 15, 2008

Author Julie Lessman - A PASSION MOST PURE - Free Book

When I first heard about this book, I contacted Julie to see if I could interview her. After reading A Passion Most Pure, I can hardly wait for the sequel.

Welcome, Julie. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

Probably more than I should! :-) There’s definitely a part of my personality in each of the three sisters in the series. Faith, the sister heroine of A Passion Most Pure, is my spiritual self. Faith has an intimate relationship with God—she talks and prays to Him as naturally as if He is her best friend, but she gets angry with Him too. You might say she (and I) are emotionally engaged with the God of the Universe—we laugh with Him, tear up at His goodness to us, and worship Him with all of our hearts.

Charity, the sister heroine of Book 2, is my rebellious and “passionate” self, before I came to the Lord. I was a wild child of the seventies, you know, like so many of us. Thank heavens that Jesus got a hold of me (as he does Charity in Book 2)!

Lizzie (or Beth), the sister heroine of Book 3 is my dreamer self. Lizzie is a bookworm bent on fairytale romance, just like I used to be as a little girl, sneaking downstairs to watch romantic movies after my parents went to bed. In her story, Lizzie has to learn (just like I did) that true romance, the kind that really satisfies, comes from following God’s precepts, not the world’s.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Mmm … there’s so many things I could say! I guess one of my quirky tendencies is that I lay out in the sun—in as low as 45-degree weather!! You see, I’ve had a skin condition since I have been a little girl, and it needs sunlight. I actually had someone take a picture of me in my twenties because they couldn’t believe I was lying out on a blanket next to a patch of snow! For me, the sun is so therapeutic, both physically and mentally, that I still lay out in my driveway today while listening to oldies. Only now … ahem … since I AM an “oldie,” I make darn sure I park both my car and my husband’s to block me from the street and the neighbors. Oh, and I also wait until the temperature gets a wee bit higher than 45 … say 60 or so. :-)

You need the sun, and the sun causes skin cancers on my husband. We are all so different. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

Oh, from the moment I read Gone With the Wind! That amazing book inspired me to begin my own novel at the age of 12, a 150-page, single-spaced manuscript that is actually the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. In fact, I was so hooked on romance after reading GWTW, that when I was in high school, I actually dressed up as a nun to go to a free showing of GWTW for the local religious and clergy. One of my friends had a sister in the convent, so she loaned us novice habits and off we went! I sat there mesmerized, shoving free popcorn into my mouth as I watched the tug-o-war between Rhett and Scarlett. It was one of the most fun times of my teens … until we ran into the nuns from our high school! Whew, we got into trouble … but it was soooo worth it (at least at the time!).

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

Oh, I’m pretty set in my ways, meaning I read mostly romance, although a good mystery can lure me away now and then. I’m more of a “Calgon, take me away” type of writer/reader rather than “slice of life,” so I read more romance than women’s fiction. But there are a number of women’s fiction writers I do love (i.e. Francine Rivers, Deb Raney, to mention a few) and one of my all-time favorite books is To Kill a Mockingbird (not a shred of romance in there!). But most of my reading is Inspirational romance/fiction. Oh, and a rare nonfiction book here and there, although I have to admit, I usually have trouble getting all the way through. Sigh.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

Only the three in The Daughters of Boston series: Book 1—A Passion Most Pure, Book 2—A Passion Redeemed, and Book 3—working title A Passion Denied.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I RUN … not walk … to the throne of God! He is my high tower, my place of refuge in ANY storm, be it professional or personal. For me, He has never been a last resort, but the FIRST thing I do when life’s hurried pace overwhelms me. A good example is a story on my Web site about when a doctor told us he thought our college-age son had cancer. Now I am a wired individual under the best of circumstances, so this had the potential to fell me like a tree. But I sprinted to God faster than Jackie Joyner Kersee going for the gold, and the prize was God’s peace. You can read the steps I took in maintaining my sanity at

How do you choose your characters’ names?

Mostly, I just go with what feels right. For instance, in the original manuscript I wrote at the age of 12, the heroine’s name was Faith O’Connor, just like in A Passion Most Pure (which, of course, is based on that early manuscript). Of course, I wasn’t a girl of “faith” then, so I’m not sure why I named her that, but I did. Ironically, it suits her perfectly in A Passion Most Pure because she is the consummate woman of “faith.”

Both of her parents’ names, Marcy and Patrick, were also from that early manuscript, but I renamed Faith’s rival sister, Charity, and the bad-boy hero, Collin, because there names were … are you ready?? Del, short for “Delatha,” and “Bart.” Don’t even ask me what I was thinking at the age of 12 except that I do remember liking the TV show Maverick, which featured a handsome character named Bart Maverick. I chose Charity’s name because Faith had a twin named “Hope” who died at the age of 9, and I was going for “Faith, Hope and Charity.” And Collin’s name, pure and simple, came from a listing of Irish male names.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Professionally, that would be the third book in the Daughters of Boston series, (working title A Passion Denied). It was difficult to write for a number of reasons. First of all, I hit the wall on this book because I was reading another author whose incredible talent made me feel like I wanted to puke on my keyboard whenever I read my own writing. :-) And secondly, because I was attempting not only to tell a very complicated and dark love story about the third daughter, but also weaving in second-tier stories about the parents and each of the other daughters.

Whenever I read a first book in a series, I generally fall in love with the hero and heroine and don’t want to say goodbye to them. So in my Daughters of Boston series, each book continues to grow and becomes more complicated and layered. As a result, I worried that book 3 would end up seeming like a bunch of disjointed stories, but everyone who has read it so far (quick prayer here!) says it’s seamless and the best of the three books. So I’m very proud of that accomplishment.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

You mean an animal that describes my nature best? Well, I’d love to say a sweet-natured golden retriever, but then a bolt of lightning would singe my computer! You stumped me on this one, Lena, so I just called my husband to ask him, and he immediately said “pit bull.” After I hung up on him :-) and he called back, he said “a shark” because I never stop moving. Mmm … I think I would have to go with a hummingbird, though, because I do everything fast—eat, talk, brush my teeth, drive, you name it. And I have been known to sip some red nectar on occasion! :-)

What is your favorite food?

Hands-down, turkey and dressing! Second favorite food: Spanish rice.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

For me, it was definitely a “Nike” thing—just do it! It took me almost forty years to sit down and finish what I started after Gone With the Wind impacted me at the age of 12. But it finally happened when God inspired me in a beauty shop. I was waiting for a haircut while reading a Newsweek 2001 cover article about Christian books, movies and music. It said they were on the threshold of exploding, and my heart jumped. Something in my spirit said, “It’s time to write your book,” and the pull was SO strong, that I started writing A Passion Most Pure one month later. From the moment that I wrote the first line, all roadblocks were gone, and I was off and running into the world of the O’Connors!

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Basically the same advice that published authors gave to me:

1.) Join ACFW, FHL and RWA, both to get connected with other like-minded writers and to learn a lot about your craft.

2.) Take a fiction-writing class or attend a writing seminar or conference.

3.) Join a critique group.

4.) Purchase and study writing books such as Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King or Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas, AND invest in a great thesaurus such as The Synonym Finder by Rodale Press (my writer’s bible!!).

5.) Go for an agent first, publisher second.

6.) Then pray your heart out and put it in God’s hands.

Very good advice.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

That this story is basically a love letter from me to my God, who took me from the darkness into His incredible light. Jesus Christ transformed a hard, cynical agnostic (like Charity, the rival sister in A Passion Most Pure) into a person of joy and hope and love (like Faith, the heroine). This is a story I will never tire of telling, and hope to continue to do so in all the books I am privileged to write.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thanks for asking, Lena! Visitors can find me at or at The Seekers group blog at In the next few months, I plan to have a newsletter that will be e-mailed to anyone who signs up on my Web site. It will keep readers updated on the progress of my books and their release dates, plus all the fun things that go on such as title selection, promotion and cover design. YOWZA, wait till you get a glimpse of the male cover model for Book 2—guaranteed to make this book sprout wings and fly off the shelves! :-).

Thanks so much, Lena, for hosting me on your Web site. I had fun, and I hope your readers do too!

Thank you, Julie for spending this time with us. I can hardly wait for the next book to release.

Readers, you won't want to miss this one. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy, but if you don't win, get your hands on one as quickly as you can. The book is a really good read with lots of layers and lots of depth as well as lots of romance.


Jo said...

I am so enjoying reading the interviews. This book sounds very interesting and would love to get entered in the drawing.


windycindy said...

Evening, The interviews you present with the authors are wonderful! I really enjoy learning about the person behind the book. The way that Julie Lessman explained the personality traits of her three main characters make me really want to read this series. Please enter me in your marvelous drawing. Many thanks,

Julie Lessman said...

Hey Jo, thanks for stopping by! Good luck in the drawing.

Cindi, I appreciate you dropping in and leaving a comment and SOOO glad the interview provoked interest in A Passion Most Pure ... now if the book can just do the same, we're in business! :)


Pamela J said...

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I already have this book, "A Passion Most Pure" and completely LOVED it so please do not enter me in this contest for the drawing. So many of what Christians go through in life are demonstrated there along with the steadfastness in the Lord (and weaknesses to overcome)I don't see how the book could have been any more perfect. This is what I call, a WOW book!! I agree with Julie, it was TIME for this book to be out.
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Cheryl Shryack said...

A Passion Most Pure sounds like a wonderful book. Please enter me in the contest. My email is

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, Julie, I can't wait to read books 2 & 3! You are such a great writer. How I love your passionate style! Great interview! I'm so thankful you let God "get a hold of" you.

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, Pam, you little doll -- thank you for stopping by and for your great comment!! So glad I've gotten to know you, my friend.

Hey, Cheryl, thanks for the comment, and I wish you well in this contest.

Melanie!!! Uh, I'm sure glad God got ahold of me too -- otherwise I would have NEVER met incredible people like you, my friend. Thanks so much for your encouraging comment.


Jessica said...

Please enter me! Ever since I've heard of this book I've wanted to read it!

lollipops said...

I would love an opportunity to read this book. Please enter me in the drawing.

vernetlh at yahoo dot com

Melissa Neece said...

looks like a great book. thanks for the contest.
Melissa Neece (lots of pregnancy and natural living links) (holistic reviews for the practical person) (book reviews by a voracious reader)

lovedandamazed said...

Thanks for the chance to win! What a good interview... very good advice.


Julie Lessman said...

Jessica, Lollipops, Melissa and LovedandAmazed ... really appreciate your comments and wish you all abundant blessings.


Chandra Lynn said...

Please enter me in the drawing for a copy. I enjoyed the interview and have heard os much about the book. ~Chandra

Katy Lin :) said...

please enter my name as well! can't wait to read it! (even if i don't win!)


Melissa said...

I would like to win.
Great interview.

parcelhome at comcast dot net

Linda Goodnight said...

HI Julia and Lena,

I really enjoyed the interview. Julia, your energy and love for Jesus shines through.

Linda g

Jennifer AlLee said...

Thanks, Julie and Lena, for the fun interview. Please enter me in the drawing... I've GOT to read this before Book 2 comes out!


Hope Chastain said...

What a lovely interview! Please toss my name in the hat, too. Thanks!

hope _ chastain @ yahoo . com (no spaces)


Julie Lessman said...

Chandra Lynn, Katie Lin and Melissa,thanks for taking the time to come visit. Wish I could give EVERYONE a free book, but my husband would string me up! :)

Linda, thanks so much for your incredibly sweet comment -- I hope and PRAY that my love for Jesus shines through, not only in the interview, but in my books!

And Jennifer, you sweet thing, thank you so much for dropping by. We're gonna get you a book by hook or crook because YES, YES, YES, this is one series you absolutely MUST read in order!!


Donna M said...

I would love to win this book. We are reading it in our bookclub so if I had a copy to give away that would be wonderful.

Kit Wilkinson said...

Please enter me. I would love to win a copy of Julie's book!

Kristinia said...

I'm soo happy to see more inspirational books , I loved your review and if i don't win I will surely go out and purchase this book!

Carole said...

I learn so much about the authors behind the books I love in these interviews, so thank you! I also enjoy series because I get to follow up with the main characters of book #1, plus see other relationships developed.

I've wanted to read A Passion Most Pure for quite a while now, so thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Cindy Kirk said...

I enjoyed the interview and getting to "know" you better.

The book sounds great and the cover is simply beautiful!

Julie Lessman said...

Hope, Donna, Kit, Kristinia, Carole and Cindy -- thank you all for your kind comments! I greatly appreciate you taking the time to stop by.

And, Carole, if you like series because you enjoy seeing more of the characters from the prior books, you will not be disappointed with Books 2 & 3 in The Daughters of Boston series. I am a firm believer if I love a family and the main characters, they are going with me in major detail in ALL books, so get ready for more stories about each of the prior couples in books 2 & 3.


Ausjenny said...

Good interview (dont enter me i have the book) and its great book also.

Janet Dean said...

I loved A Passion Most Pure, Julie and can't wait for A Passion Redeemed! Thanks Lena and Julie for this interesting, fun interview.

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, Jenny and Janet, thank you sooo much for dropping by to say hi! It's always so nice to see a familiar face!


Mary said...

Great interview! I would love to read Julie's book, please enter my name. Thanks! Mary

Anonymous said...

This was an excellent book! I just finished reading it a few days ago and loved it. Here's my name for your drawing: Jacki

Julie Lessman said...

Mary, thanks for joining Lena and me for this interview -- we wish you the best in this contest.

And, Jackie, I'm SO thrilled you enjoyed the book ... I really appreciate your kind comment -- thank you for stopping by.


ChristyJan said...

Julie's Daughters of Boston series sound like wonderful books. I've been wondering what to get my daughter-in-law for her birthday and I think I know what to get her now.

Julie Lessman said...

Hey ChristyJan, Ooooooo, YES, this would make a wonderful birthday gift for your DIL!!! Grin. Thanks so much for thinking of it and dropping by. :)


Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Lena and Julie. I can't wait for A Passion Redeemed!!!!!!!!

Julie Lessman said...

Mary, you sweetheart you, thanks for dropping in. I can't wait for it either, girlfriend, because it's may favorite of the three books in the series.


luv2read said...

I love this book and would like to win an extra copy to give to my book club. spowell01@bellsouth(dot)net

Julie Lessman said...

Hey Luv2read (is that you, Shellie??), thanks so much stopping by. Not only would you love to win an extra copy for your book club, but I would LOVE you to win one for them too! :)


kamewh said...

Great interview! Thank you for the giveaway!

Anita Mae said...

Hey Julie - I haven't read one of your books yet, but from the excerpts I have read, it sounds like something I would really enjoy.

anitamaedraper at hotmail dot com

Julie Lessman said...

Kamewh and Anita Mae -- thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. The drawing should be soon, so good luck!