Sunday, August 31, 2008

Julie Lessman - A PASSION REDEEMED - Free Book

I've really been looking forward to this interview. And my book came yesteday. We picked it up at the post office late, and I've started the first few pages.

Hi, Julie, welcome once again to my blog. Why do you write the kind of books you do?

For women like me who crave a great love story with LOTS of romantic tension, but without the gratuitous sex. According to the American Religious Identification Survey conducted by the Barna Group, “nine out of ten women nationwide consider themselves to be Christian.” The majority of these women fall into a category I would define as “Mainstream Christianity" -- women who proclaim God, but not always in their sexuality. Many of these women want compelling novels with strong romantic tension and often turn to the secular market to satisfy this need. But wouldn't it be wonderful if they were drawn to a novel of passion and encountered God's ideas on sexuality along the way?

For myself, I cannot thoroughly enjoy a novel unless the romantic element is threaded with God’s precepts. Yet it is rare to find a novel that merges romantic passion and spirituality with an intensity that appeals to me and this mainstream majority. One of the few novels that has successfully done so is Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love, which, in my opinion, is why this novel topped the CBA Bestseller List four years in a row, remaining a CBA bestseller to this day.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

Boy, Lena, ask a tough question, why don’t ya?? Holy cow, I’m an emotional type of gal, so I have a LOT of happiest days, but … if I have to pick just one … it would be the day I married my very own romance hero AND my best friend, my husband Keith. I had NO idea at the time just HOW good God was being to me, but I do now, which definitely qualifies it as the “happiest day” of my life.

I understand completely. I was a Christian walking a rebellion when God brought my wonderful husband to me. He was God's greatest gift to me, after Jesus. How has being published changed your life?

The biggest change is that I have more peace about my writing. Before I was published, I honestly had NO idea if I was any good or not. But now, I feel a little more secure with three books under my belt. That is, until I started writing the synopses for the next 3-book series! YIKES, the doubts are back, which is okay because it just means I have to trust in God that much more. And believe me, I do! :-)

What are you reading right now?

I am almost finished reading An Irishwoman’s Tale by Patti Lacy, and although I am not usually a women’s fiction fan, this book has mesmerized me with its vivid imagery and haunting story. It is wonderfully well written.

Good. I'm featuring it on my blog later. What is your current work in progress?

Currently I am putting together another 3-book proposal for my publisher that will finish off the saga of the O’Connors. Book 1 will be the story of the youngest daughter, Katie, which will be fun because she is a pistol who comes of age in the Roaring Twenties, right before The Great Depression. Books 2 and 3 will be about the O’Connor brothers, Sean and Steven, during the exciting era of speakeasies, dance marathons, gangsters, G-men and era criminals like Bonnie & Clyde and John Dillenger. Steven will be a tall, brooding G-man-type modeled after Elliot Ness … you know, a la Robert Stack from the Untouchables? Hubba hubba. I’m very excited because all three plots are very involved, include detailed sub-stories for ALL the character couples (can you say “complicated”???) and each plot has surprises that I hope will blow you away!

I'm sure they will. You do know I'll want to feature you with each book. What would be your dream vacation?

Mmmm … a beach bungalow on an unspoiled tropical island with my husband and lots of my favorite things—good friends, great books and old movies.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

Well, Boston and Dublin are the only two settings I’ve used in all three novels of The Daughters of Boston series, which are the only books I’ve written, and I chose those cities when I was a little girl. As you may remember, I started writing A Passion Most Pure at the age of twelve after reading Gone With the Wind and immediately knew I wanted an Irish family coping with a war (like GWTW), but didn’t have the audacity to try another Civil War epic. :-) Ireland was always a given, and Dublin is one of its biggest cities, so that’s why I chose it.

As far as Boston, I have never been there, but I LOVED Boston Baked Beans candy when I was kid, as well as anything Colonial (I used to LOVE Disney’s Swamp Fox show), so I am guessing I just picked Boston because of those reasons. You can imagine my excitement when I wrote A Passion Most Pure 40 years later and learned that Boston was considered the heart of Irish America because of its large contingent of immigrants after the potato famine. Very cool!

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

President George Bush because I admire him greatly for his deep faith.

Yes. I've prayed for him all through his presidency. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

Dinners out with friends, watching old movies (Gone With the Wind, That Touch of Mink, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Susan Slept Here are some of my favorites), gardening and hosting elaborate dinner parties a la Martha Stewart. I’m pretty driven in whatever I do (anal might be a better word). And, yes, I’ve been known to pipe guest’s initials into their twice-baked potatoes, cut napkin rings out of real lemons to hold lemon green beans, and sketch a layout for how the food would be placed on the plate. Which was fine when I was younger and had the energy to do it, but these days, sitting at my computer with a candle burning and a cup of Hazelnut Cinnamon coffee is my pastime of choice.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

E-MAILS. I like to handle the urgent ones first thing in the morning while I drink my hazelnut coffee and eat my peach oatmeal, then pray and read the Bible. BUT, what’s been happening lately, is I seem to spend more and more time on e-mails, which is NOT good. So, what I have taken to doing is turning Outlook off throughout the day and only checking here and there AND trying to stay brief … which as you know from my almost 500-page novels, is not easy.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

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.

Tell us about the featured book.

Here’s the jacket blurb:

No man can resist her charms. Or so she thought.
Depth of beauty … shallow of heart, Charity O’Connor is a woman who gets what she wants. She sets her sights on a man who wants nothing to do with her, and although the sparks are there, he refuses to fan the coals of a potential relationship with a woman who ruined his life. Charity burned him once, destroying his engagement to the only woman he ever truly loved. He won’t play with matches again. But Charity has a plan to turn up the heat, hoping to ignite the heart of the man she loves. And she always gets what she wants—one way or another.

A Passion Redeemed will captivate your heart and stir your soul with a story of faith and redemption rising from the ashes of temptation, desire, and shame.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thanks, Lena, for allowing me this time to connect with you and your readership.
Anyone who would like to contact me can do so through my Web site at, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter, in which I feature book giveaways. Finally, I invite your readers to visit The Seekers, a group blog of which I am a part that talks about “The road to publication. Writing, contests, publication and everything in between.” You can find it at

Thank you for spending this time with us, Julie.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of A Passion Redeemed. If you don't win, be sure to get a copy.

Then check out Julie's web sites.


windycindy said...

Happy Labor Day! What a wonderful person/author. One thing I really appreciate about her books are the absence of the sex. The tension is fine, but I don't need the specifics!
Please enter my name in your book drawing. Much appreciated.....Cindi

Smilingsal said...

I'd like to be considered for this book.

Vickie McDonough said...


I loved your first book and am anxious to read the next one.

Your new O'Connor series sounds very exciting!

Julie Lessman said...

Hey Cindi, thanks for your comment! And, boy, I'm with you -- the romantic tension is more than fine, but let the rest of it fade to black, like a wonderful romance movie from days gone by.

Smilingsal, thanks for dropping by!

VICKIE!!! So nice to have you stop in!! Thank you for your sweet comment, especially about the upcoming series. I'm pretty excited about it myself, which is, as you know, a GOOD thing for an author. :)


Danelle said...

Please enter me also. I enjoyed Julie's first book and can't wait to continue. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

danelli04 [at] hotmail [dot]com

Pamela J said...

WOW, Julie, I missed this one on your calendar schedule for interviews. I LOVE gardening AND emails. Not necessarily in that order. I hope to take a young gardener under my wing and teach her the art of canning veggies. I am also going to introduce her to the world of the ACFW book club, which she is just thrilled about. I do enjoy coffee with my oatmeal, but our coffee flavor is the plain kind. I'll think of you at breakfast time, with coffee, oatmeal and your time with God. Great, Lena, for the interview.
Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks.
Pam Williams
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Jo said...

Happy Labor Day! What a wonderful interview that was. I really enjoyed reading it. I haven't read "A Passion Redeemed" yet and it sounds wonderful. Please enter my name for the drawing.


luv2read said...

Enter me in the contest. I love Julies books.

Ann Shorey said...

I enjoyed Julie's interview, especially when she said she chose a setting for her book without actually having lived in the city. For writers, "write what you learn" can be just as important as "write what you know."

I'd love to win this book.


annshorey at msn dot com

Julie Lessman said...

Danelle, thanks so much for your kind comment!

That's okay, Pam, I like you anyway even if you don't like flavored coffees ... or a my macho cousin calls them -- "sissy coffee."

Jo, Happy Labor Day right back -- hope your weekend is WONDERFUL!

Luv2read, thank you SOOO much for your kind comment!!

Ann said: For writers, "write what you learn" can be just as important as "write what you know."

Amen to that, Ann -- you sound like you may be a writer who knows what she's talking about! Thanks for stopping by.


renwren4him said...

can't wait to read your book! This sounds really interesting! Maybe I will win the free one.

Anonymous said...

I've read quite a bit about this lately and I am looking forward to reading it. Thanks for having this giveaway.

ladystorm said...

I loved Julies first book and would love to win this one. Even if I don't win one I will buy one lol.


Alycia said...

Ms. Lessman, your books your working up to now sound like they'll be really good! I've read A Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It was a good book but stayed clean. I'm glad when I can read books that are clean but still romantic.

Anonymous said...

Great interview Lena and Julie! I've read Julie's first book, and, Julie, you know I gotta read the rest of them. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

Deborah Piccurelli

Anonymous said...

Renwren4him and Elizabeth -- Grin, I can't wait for you to read my book too!! Good luck to both of you!

Thanks SO much, Stormi and Alycia -- your kind comments are much appreciated. And I totally agree with you, Alycia -- I want ROMANCE that's clean and according to God's precepts!!

Hey, Deb, so good to see you here!! Thanks for dropping by.


Carole said...

Julie, I appreciated it when you said, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if they were drawn to a novel of passion and encountered God's ideas on sexuality along the way?" Keep writing novels like that so women can see God's way.

Technology is wonderful, but time spent on e-mail is a problem for me also. Coffee and quiet time before sitting down at the computer sometimes works for me, but not always.

Thanks for the opportunity to win Julie's book.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot net

Carrie Turansky said...

Oh, I loved Julie's first book. This new one sounds terrific. Can't wait to read it. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks very much!

Carolynn W. said...

Julie writes the perfect romance novels in my opinion, can't wait to read Charity's story! Thanks for the chance to win!

Maureen said...

Please enter me. It looks like a wonderful story with a strong heroine. mce1011[at]aol[dot]com

Cherie J said...

Would love to be entered in the drawing. I read the first book and loved it. Looking forward to reading Charity's story.

sarahw said...

i really enjoyed Julie's first book and would love to be entered in the contest for her second one.
sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, AMEN, Carole, and God willing, I will keep writing romantically tense novels that emphasize God's precepts in an amoral world.

Carrie, thanks so much for dropping by and for your kind comment about my book -- always extra special when it comes from a respected author and peer.

Gosh, Carolynn, the perfect romance??? Man, you would be shoe-in for this contest if I were picking tonight, after that comment!! Thanks for your encouragement.

Hey, Maureen, yes book 2 is about a strong heroine, but nothing like she is when Christ is finally Lord of her life!

Cherie J and Sarah -- thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know you loved A Passion Most Pure. I hope Charity's story wins a place in your heart as well.


Liv said...

Julie is a seriously awesome writer. fan-tastically-utterly, FANtastic. :) and I'd love to have this book in my collection (as it's not in Canada at all yet; my poor country). Honestly - everyone P.i.c.k. one up N.O.W.!


Julie Lessman said...

Holy cow, Liv, what an e-mail to start my day with!!! Thank you SO much for your kind words!


~Ley said...

I won the first book in this series when we did it for the ACFW book club, and LOVED it! I cannot wait to get my hands on A Passion Redeemed. And see Charity's sida of things.... :D


Julie Lessman said...

Hey Ashley,

So glad you won book 1!! Let's hope your luck holds out on this contest, eh? Thanks for your sweet comment.


Keli Gwyn said...

I am very much looking forward to reading this book. Please enter my name in your drawing.


Melissa said...

I would love to win a copy!

parcelhome at comcast dot net

Julie Lessman said...

Hey Keli and Melissa -- hi again!! That's what I like to see -- diligent commenters!! Thanks for your support and good luck!


lilac grandma said...

This book sounds so fantastic! I can so relate to the "fear of abandonment!" Thank you for a wonderful interview. Love and prayers Melody

Julie Lessman said...

Lilac Grandma -- LOVE your name!! Lilacs are my favorite flower! Thanks so much for stopping by.


Cheryl said...

I would love to win this book. I've read the first book and can't wait to read this one. Please enter me in the drawing. My email address is shryackmom[@]charter[.]net

Julie Lessman said...

Hey Cheryl, thanks so much for stopping by and good luck in the drawing!