Readers, I've loved Julie since I first met her at an American Christian Fiction Writers national conference several years ago. And I've loved her writing since I read the first word of the first book in her Daughters of Boston series. She writes books with the kind of passion I'd like to include in mine, but my publishers always delete the best parts. I feel the same way as she does about romantic passion and a passion for God. (You'll read about that in the answers to her questions.
Dare to Love Again is another winner. I've loved all the character in her books, but I think I love the ones in the Heart of San Francisco the best. Her storylines catch my attention, and her characters pull me straight into the story and don't let go until long after I read the last page. This was true in Dare to Love Again. And she paints a tapestry of setting that is true to San Francisco in that time period. You won't want to miss this marvelous read.
BIO: Award-winning author of “The Daughters of Boston” and “Winds of Change” series, Julie Lessman was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards. She has also garnered 17 RWA awards and made Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction. Her book A Light in the Window is an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers' Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner.
Welcome back, Julie. Why did you become an author?
Lena, frankly I got
SO sick of the world pushing its amoral agenda in romance novels that I decided
to try and write my own where I could push God's agenda instead. My thinking
was to promote His precepts with the lure of the same kind of passionate
romance that I fell in love with at the age of twelve, when I read Gone With the Wind, which, by the way,
is when I started writing A Passion Most
Pure. Back then I wrote 150 single-spaced pages of what is today my debut
novel, but I didn't finish it till after I turned 50. But … better late than
I will admit my books are a tad more passionate than the majority of Inspirational romance in the Christian market today, both romantically and spiritually. And I did this on purpose. You see, I’m the type of woman who loves a great love story. You know—the heart-fluttering, pulse-pounding emotional tug-of-war between a man and a woman that makes romance the #1 genre in the world? It draws me, always has, from the early days of Gone With the Wind. But for me, passion in romance is not enough. Without God and His precepts in the middle, it’s nothing but lust—heat that burns but doesn’t keep you warm. So when I started writing my own novels over 13 years ago, it was primarily because I didn’t want to read secular romance anymore. Unfortunately way back then, I had trouble finding the level of passion I wanted in a Christian romance novel, so I decided to write my own. My intent was to write romantic passion that is more real and relevant to what young girls are exposed to in today’s amoral society, but laced with a spiritual thread that is just as passionate.
Let’s face it—passion is powerful. It can drive a woman into the arms of a man, or a person into the arms of God. In truth, romantic passion gives us a glimpse into the very heart of God. After studying the “Song of Solomon” in the Bible , I’m convinced that the God who created passion and intimacy did so to mirror the intensity of His own love for mankind. It is my belief that romance laced with God’s precepts is also powerful—it can draw, woo, and win advocates to its cause with the stroke of a keyboard. It is my hope that my novels will strikes the balance between romantic and spiritual passion for the broad base of readers searching for its message, and by interweaving the two, bring them into an intimate relationship with the true Author of Romance.
If you weren’t an author, what would be your dream job?
Oh, gosh, I have no idea! At one time I would have said Christian counselor because I’m a bottom-line kind of person who likes applying God’s Word to people’s problems, then shoring it up with prayer. But since I’ve gotten up in years a wee bit, I don’t seem to have the energy for an occupation like that anymore.
If you could have lived at another time in history, what would it be and why?
What place in the
have you not visited that you would like to? United States
Oh, are you kidding?
of course! I know, I know—as an author of two series set in Boston, it’s downright shameful I haven’t
been there yet, but I can blame my hubby for that because he refuses to go.
Apparently he had a bad business trip there once, and it’s scarred him for
life. But, oh … Boston has been a love of mine
since I was a little girl watching Walt Disney’s Swamp Fox, which chronicled the Revolutionary War, of which Boston was a huge part. I
LOVE the history of that city, especially after researching it while writing
the Daughters of Boston series and you know what? I have craved Boston Baked
Beans candy and Boston cream pie ever since!
How about a foreign country you hope to visit?
HA! That’s a no-brainer too.
Ireland, of course! ;)
I knew that would be your answer to that question. Readers, if you want to know why, read Julie’s Daughter of
series. Now Julie, what lesson has the Lord taught you recently? Boston
“Do not fear your weakness,
for it is the stage on which My Power and My Glory
perform most brilliantly.”
-- Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, Dec. 21 Entry
The most recent lesson is from the Scripture above, when God showed me that Jesus' Power and Glory—in the flesh, through the birth of a human infant born in a bed of straw—is the very thing that can and will eradicate all of my fears and yours. Oh, the joy of knowing that my imperfections—and God knows they are many—are obliterated by a God Who loves me—and you—just the way we are!! Talk about “joy to the world”! Because in our weakness He is strong.
So, like the disciple Paul, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” And, oh baby, if my weakness equates to God's strength, than I'm bending bars of steel like pretzels ... and bopping them over the devil’s head. :)
I have used Jesus Calling for my devotional several times. And I often give it to someone else as a gift. Tell us about the featured book.
Well, book 2 in the Heart of San Francisco series, DARE TO LOVE AGAIN, released January 1st and tells the story of the second McClare cousin, Allison McClare, a woman who has had her heart broken three times and is determined it will not happen again. She’s seeing red and wielding a stick, a dangerous combination when she meets a crotchety Italian police detective whose temper is as loose as hers. Here’s the jacket blurb for this sweet and funny love story that I will warn you, is the sweetest, least passionate of all my books, which means there are very few kisses, but LOTS of romantic tension! ;)
She’s a sassy socialite burned by love.
He’s a jaded cop burned by the upper class.
When sparks fly … will love catch fire again?
Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless, independent woman. But when she takes a notion to explore the wild
Barbary Coast, she quickly discovers she’s no match for
the unsavory characters that haunt the dark streets.
Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything than teach this petite socialite self-defense, but it seems he has little choice.
Sparks fly every time the
two meet until a grudging friendship develops into something deeper. But is he
just a fraud like all the rest of the men Allison’s cared for? Or the one man
she can dare to love again?
As you know, I read the book as soon as it arrived. Please give us the first page of the book for my blog readers.
Here’s the first page from my galleys, which runs a wee bit longer than the actual printed page:
Providence . . .
I smell a rat! Allison McClare sniffed with nose in the air, the unmistakable
scent of Bay Rum drifting into her empty classroom of the Hand of Hope School.
Although not uncommon for an antiquated Victorian house a stone’s throw from
the sewers of the Barbary Coast, this smell of
“rat” was altogether different and far more frightening. She wrinkled her nose.
The man kind.
“I think you took a wrong turn, lady, high tea is at The Palace.”
“Oh!” Body jolting, she whirled around at the bulletin board, almost inhaling the straight pin in her teeth. She blinked at a tall, disgruntled stranger cocked in the door of her classroom who might have been dangerously attractive if not for the scowl on his face. An unruly strand of dark hair, almost black—like his mood appeared to be—toppled over his forehead beneath a dark Homburg he obviously felt no courtesy to remove. He hiked a thumb toward the front door, his gruff voice a near snarl as he glared through gray-green eyes that seemed to darken by the moment, the color of stormy seas. “I assume that’s your fancy car and driver out front? Well, it needs to move to the back alley, lady, whether you’re here to teach or just out slumming with the poor folks.”
The straight pin in her teeth dropped to the floor along with her jaw. As she gaped, hardly able to comprehend the rudeness of this Neanderthal who’d be better attired in bearskin and club than the charcoal suit coat draped over his shoulder. Rolled sleeves of what might have been a crisp white shirt at one time revealed muscled forearms thick with dark hair like the brainless caveman he appeared to be. It was only two in the afternoon, but already dark bristle shadowed his hard-angled jaw, lending an ominous air to a man who possessed less charm than found on the head of her pin. Her nose scrunched, the smell of “rat” surprisingly strong due to a keen sense of smell and three near misses at the altar. She fought the squirm of a smile over his high starched collar with its off-center tie—loosened as if in protest to fashionable attire he considered a noose ’round his neck.
Like the one I’m envisioning now . . .
He squinted as if she were the intruder instead of him, daring to invade his cave. “What, cat got your tongue?”
Yes, you pinhead . . . a polecat. She glared right back in silence, figuring if she waited long enough, his face would crack . . . something she’d pay good money to see. She almost wished she’d gone home with Mother and Cassie earlier instead of staying later on a Friday the week before they opened their new school. Her gaze flicked to the clock on the wall that indicated her elderly driver Hadley was on time to take her home. And not a moment too soon, if this barbarian was any indication of the rest of her day.
Her silence apparently ruffled his fur because his eyes narrowed, if possible, even more than before as he blasted out a noisy exhale, shaking his head as if she were the one with a pea for a brain. “Great—a rich dame as dumb as she is lost,” he muttered, and every word his insolence had stolen from her lips marched to the tip of her tongue to do battle.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Oh, Lena, thanks for asking because I LOVE to hear from reader friends, so if they like, they can contact me through my website at http://www.julielessman.com, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter at:
Also, I have a cool blog feature on my website called “Journal Jots” at http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots1/, which is a very laid-back Friday journal to my reader friends that will give your readers an idea as to my relaxed style of writing.
Or readers can check out my favorite romantic and spiritual scenes from each of my books on the “Excerpts” tab of my website at http://www.julielessman.com/excerpts/.
Finally, I can be found daily at The Seekers blog at http://seekerville.blogspot.com/, a group blog of 13 published authors that inspires, encourages, teaches, and informs aspiring writers on the road to publication and beyond.
I'm so thrilled to have you on my blog again, Julie.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Dare to Love Again - Christianbook.com
Dare to Love Again: A Novel (The Heart of San Francisco) - Amazon
Dare to Love Again (The Heart of San Francisco Book #2): A Novel - Kindle
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.
The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.
If you’re reading this on Google +, Feedblitz, Facebook, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.