Monday, August 23, 2010
Oh, wow, I absolutely LOVE to write about spiritual themes that relate to marriage, because I have learned SO much the hard way in my 32 years with the love of my life! I long to pass all I’ve gleaned onto young women today and maybe save them some agony in the process.
Application of God’s Word in our relationship with our mate is CRUCIAL for a happy marriage, so I like to explore themes like respect for one’s husband (i.e. the dreaded submission Scripture!) or the importance of saying no to your flesh and yes to God when your husband gets in a snarky mood and takes it out on you. NOT that that ever happens to me, mind you, because it’s more the other way around in our house between my even-keel husband and the caffeinated drama queen he married! :-)
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
Well … in exactly ONE WEEK, the first book in my “Winds of Change” series A Hope Undaunted officially releases, although it is available on CBD.com as of three days ago and is probably available in stores now as well too. The next book in the series, A Heart Revealed is written but won’t be released until September 2011, followed by the final book in the series (and the final book about the O’Connors!) A Trust Restored (working title), September 2012.
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
Probably Francine Rivers because she is not only one of the best authors in the Christian market, but she is one of the most humble and godly women I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I would LOVE to pick her brain on spiritual matters that relate to writing.
I was able to visit with her several times when she was the speaker at the first national ACFW conference in Denver. What a blessing! What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
Oh, no contest — Margaret Mitchell, of course! I would like to personally thank that woman for writing Gone With the Wind, the novel that inspired me to be a romance writer at the age of twelve, even though I shirked the calling for many years because I was too blind to see what God had called me to do. You see, I was a professional woman who was a bit of literary snob and wouldn’t be caught dead reading a romance novel. Grin … now I wouldn’t be caught dead without one in my purse or powder room at ALL times! :-)
How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Well, anyone who attended the 2005 American Christian Fiction Writers Conference will remember me as the poor slob who waved her hands wildly in the back of the room when Brandilyn Collins asked who had the most rejections in a year. I won hands-down with 19 (at that time) and went on to garner 45 (both agent and publisher rejections, including three received AFTER I signed a 3-book contract with Revell Publishing!). Even my agent, Natasha Kern, blanched a bit when she first signed me, realizing after the ink was dry just how many times I’d been rejected. I believe the word she used was “daunting.” But apparently not too daunting for her amazing skills as an agent because she landed a contract for me within six months.
Despite 45 rejections, A Passion Most Pure went on to win ACFW’s 2009 Debut Book of the Year and the Holt Medallion Award of Merit, which STILL blows me away! So to all the aspiring authors out there—don’t let those rejections have the final say! For me the trick was to praise God in the face of every single rejection, eyes fixed on HIM instead of myself while I continued to press on. Also, because of the struggles I encountered on the road to publication, I compiled a whole lot of Scripture prayers that I wrote specifically for writers, so I encourage any writers out there to print off a copy from my website at http://www.julielessman.com/from-the-heart/ .
Although the “Winds of Change” is a brand-new series, it does continue the saga of the close-knit O’Connor family, picking up with the youngest daughter’s story at the tail end of the Roaring 20s into The Great Depression. Anyone who has read “The Daughters of Boston” series knows that Katie O’Connor is a spunky, sassy little girl with a sharp wit and dry humor, but never more so than when she butts heads with her childhood nemesis, Cluny McGee. Here’s the jacket blurb:
What happens when the boy she loved to hate ...
becomes the man she hates to love?
The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman—smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband—smart, good-looking, well-connected, wealthy … and eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Cluny McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?
Sounds like anothre winner, Julie. Please give us the first page of the book.
Gladly! Now keep in mind that this is the first page of my galleys, which always have more copy than the final printed page.
Boston, Massachusetts, May 1929
Now this is how love should be—nice and neat. Katie O’Connor sucked the last of her Coca-Cola through a straw in Robinson’s Diner and studied her steady beau Jack Worthington with a secret smile. No, siree, no dime-novel notions of love for her. Love requires a focused plan, she thought to herself with certainty. Cool, calm, rational thinking, not a moment in time where one lovesick glance seals your fate. With a loud, hollow noise, she drained her soda and pushed the glass away, assessing Jack through approving eyes. Her lips slanted. Love at first sight, my foot.
She noted the dimple that deepened on his chiseled face as he delivered a punch line with a boyish grin, and a satisfied smile tilted the corners of her mouth. Falling in love was for fools—blind fools, she reflected with all the mature assurance of her eighteen years. Let other girls “fall” in love with their eyes closed, but not her. No, she preferred to be in control and walk—not fall, thank you very much—into true love. And if she had her way—which she fully intended to have—it would be with a man who was everything on her carefully crafted list.
Laughter disrupted her thoughts, and she found herself grinning along with the two couples sharing their booth as they roared at the finish of Jack’s joke. As usual, Jack’s buddies made a ruckus whooping and pounding their fists on the table in glee, and Katie couldn’t help but sigh with contentment. Good sense of humor. She mentally checked a box on her list and quickly scanned the cozy shop with its black-and-white-checked décor, grateful they had it to themselves at this late hour. Jack and his friends tended to get a bit rowdy, but they certainly knew how to have a good time. She settled back against the red-leather, high-backed booth and shot a glance at the marble counter where a lone soda jerk polished chrome mixers to a gleam.
“For crying out loud, Katydid, you inhaled that soda! And I bet I’ll have to buy you another, won’t I? I’m not made of money, you know.” Jack draped a sturdy arm across her shoulder and pulled her close to his handsome face. The glimmer in his dark eyes matched that of his deep brown hair, stylishly slicked back with Brilliantine. “Or maybe I am,” he teased.
Wealthy and attractive. Check, check. She drew in a deep breath and gave him a patient smile. “Nobody likes a braggart, Jack, but if you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is, I believe I’d like a hamburger. I’m starved.”
“No, you can’t be!” Genevieve Townsend said with a moan. “How can you possibly be hungry? We just had dinner before the picture show.”
Katie shrugged her shoulders. “That was over two hours ago, Gen.” She wrinkled her nose and teased with a ghost of a smile. “Besides, Valentino makes me hungry.”
Jack leaned in to plant a kiss at the nape of her neck. “Mmm … not only for food, I hope.”
I can hardly wait for my copy to arrive. How can readers find you on the Internet?
At my website at http://www.julielessman.com/ , where I talk to my readers every day via a new feature I call “Journal Jots,” or at my group blog, The Seekers at http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com/ .
Thank you, Lena, for hosting me on your blog, and I can’t wait to give you a big, ol’ hug at ACFW, my friend!
And thank you, Julie, for giving us a peek into your life and your new book. See you at the chocolate party!
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