Hi everyone! Today we have with us Julie Lessman, the author of many books including A Passion Most Pure (which I finally read a little over a week ago - loved it! I can hardly wait to get started on the next ones when I have time).
Here is her bio and blurbs of her most recent books:
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 14 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as “Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction.” Chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fictionmagazine 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also awarded #1 Historical Fiction Author of the Year in that same poll and #3 Author of the Year, #4 Novel of the Year and #3 Series of the year. She resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter and is the author of “The Daughters of Boston” series—A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. Book 1 in her “Winds of Change” series A Hope Undaunted ranked #5 on Booklist’s Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010 and is followed by A Heart Revealed and A Love Surrendered. You can contact Julie through her website at www.julielessman.com.
He broke her sister’s heart …
will she be next?
Orphaned in Iowa, Annie Kennedy moves to Boston to stay with her spinster aunt, longing for romance to fill the void of her parent’s death. But when she falls hard for Steven O’Connor, the man who broke an engagement to her sister, Annie is worried. Will he break her heart, too, when he discovers she’s Maggie’s sister?
One Woman. Two Men.
One stirs her pulse and the other her faith.
But who will win her heart?
Marceline Murphy is a gentle beauty with a well-founded aversion to rogues.
But when two of Boston's most notorious pursue her,
attraction, dreams and faith only muddle her mind.
Can the light in the window illuminate the path of true love?
Fooled by a pretty boy once,
shame on him.
Fooled by a pretty boy twice,
shame on me.
Jilted by a fortune hunter, cowgirl Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who just as soon hogtie a man as look at him … until Jamie MacKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well lassoes her heart. But when Jamie discovers the woman he loves is poorer than him, Cassie finds herself bucked by love a second time, sending her back to Texas to lick her wounds and heal her heart. In her absence, Jamie discovers money can’t buy love, but love built on faith can set a heart free, a truth he discovers a little too late … or is it?
Welcome to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, Julie!! Will you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure thing, Melanie! I’m a baby boomer (how’s that for side-stepping the age issue?) and CDQ (caffeinated drama queen) married to a man who makes me feel like I’m living my own personal romance novel. I have a 28-year-old son married to a wonderful girl who is a doctor (and for whom I have prayed for since my son was a baby!) and a 24-year-old daughter who just graduated law school and would you believe it—hates to read! And, yes, it’s true – I paid her $20 just to read the first chapter of A Passion Most Pure. I’m happy to say it hooked her, and the rest of the book and the others didn’t cost me a dime! J My husband of 34 years is an artist/designer and we are together 24/7 and actually love it—working back-to-back in a tiny, little office when I’m not outside on the deck with my laptop and hazelnut coffee or feet up in the hearth room during winter.
What inspired your newest book, A Love Surrendered?
My two newest books—A Love Surrendered and also a Christmas e-book entitled A Light in the Window: A Irish Christmas Love Story—are the final two novels in the O’Connor family saga, so I suppose I need to explain where I got the original idea for this family epic since each book springboards off the prior one.
As most of my readers already know, I started writing the first book in this saga, A Passion Most Pure, at the age of twelve after reading Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. I 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 like Margaret, so I settled on WWI instead.
As the 12th child in a dysfunctional family of 13 kids, I also knew I wanted to portray a family the way God intended a family to be—flawed but steeped in faith. The result is the saga of the O’Connors, a passionate but imperfect family of six children who love God and each other in the best way they know how, all interwoven with a secondary love story between their parents. The first three books in The Daughters of Boston series highlight the love stories of each of the three oldest daughters, and the second series, Winds of Change, focuses on the youngest daughter and two sons. Oh, and the Christmas e-book? Ah … that’s the prequel I’ve been longing to write and finally did, which details the tumultuous love story of the saga’s happily married parents, Marcy and Patrick O’Connor.
Mmmm … well, I’m not a girly-girl, meaning I’m not big on diamonds and flowers and shopping, contrary to my daughter! In fact, about 20 years ago, the diamond in my engagement ring fell out of its setting while I was cleaning, and I never did find it. Told my husband I didn’t want another one because a diamond on your hand just gets caught on fabric and things like that, a real annoyance to a dirt-practical bottom-liner like me. But oh, boy, cheap costume jewelry, especially dangle earrings?? To die for!! J
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
HA! My family jokes that I am an “Ambiance Queen” because dim lighting with candles are a mainstay for my winter writing, along with a constant cup of hazelnut decaf with Half ‘n Half or peach iced tea, Kleenex (for the soggy scenes I write), and a mirror handy for those facial expressions I’m trying to capture on paper. Oh, and definitely lip gloss—lots and lots of lip gloss!!
What is the best and/or worst part about being a writer?
Oh, hands-down, the best are the reader friends I’ve made, some of which have become dear friends. And then, of course, writing dramatic, breathless and compelling love scenes is certainly no snoozer!! Sigh.
The worst? Without question, the emotional roller-coaster one goes through AFTER getting published. Like a lot of unpublished writers, I thought all the anxiety and self-doubt would dissipate after I signed on the dotted line. I mean that would validate me, right? Give me confidence as a writer? But I discovered (AGAIN!) that true confidence is not in accolades from your editor or a really good review, but instead in where your heart is with God. HE is my confidence when my sales rankings on Amazon.com are high or low or that nasty review tries to take me down.
Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
Gosh, I have so many, but one of my favorites (which I used to pray everyday) is the last paragraph in Psalm 139, verses 23-24. But a word of warning—don’t pray it unless you mean business, because God will definitely nail you to the wall on a few things! Here it is:Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
However … since I have become an author, I find that the push and pull of success (vying for sales, awards, accolades) is deadly, taking me places I do NOT want to go. So since then, my favorite Scripture has been 2 Corinthians ll:3: Do not let my mind “be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
Here are a few this-or-that questions:
Snowstorms or Thunderstorms? Oh, definitely snowstorms because my husband and I are fortunate to both work at home so we can enjoy the snow without the worry of having to go into work.
Tea or Coffee? Uh-oh … dilemma!! For hot beverages, GOTTA have that cup of hazelnut decaf every day and throughout the morning, but then in the summertime I switch to peach iced tea in the afternoons and on those frosty winter afternoons, hot peppermint tea.
Print or eBook? Oh, man—another lip nibble here! LOVE the feel and look of print books because I have the habit of constantly turning back to look at the cover throughout the book, which is a pain on a Kindle. But … the dirt-practical side of me sure loves being able to read my Kindle in the car at night or in bed when I don’t want to keep my hubby up with the light.
Early-bird or Night-owl? Definitely night-owl! LOVE to read in bed after hubby is snoozing, either for an extra 15 minutes or two hours, depending on the book. And when I get close to deadline, I have been known to stay up till 5:00 AM burning up the computer.
Cats or Dogs? As a drama queen who needs emotion, I am definitely a dog person, but I do love cats with personality. I’ve put dogs in all my books except for A Heart Revealed because I felt Emma was a cat person, so I gave her a maimed cat who was scarred a kitten, just like Emma was scarred as a young girl, forging a gentle bond between the two. Believe it or not, from that point on, I’ve developed a fondness for cats.
Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint?
I am halfway through book 2 in The Heart of San Francisco series, working title Dare to Love, which is my ninth novel. Like book 1 in the series, Love at Any Cost, which releases April 1, 2013, there is spontaneous combustion between the two main characters right off the bat! My spunky, hot-tempered Irish heroine goes head-to-head with my hard-as-nails, Italian police-detective grouch of a hero in the first chapter—or maybe I should say the first round. I have to admit, I’m having WAY too much fun at the expense of these two in a relationship that goes from fireworks to a flaming romance in the short lick of a fuse. Here’s the premise: A sassy socialite burned by love twice butts heads and hearts with a jaded cop burned by the upper class.
Oh! It sounds really good! Thank you so much for being here, Julie! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?
Yes! Although I usually only have one book release a year, I’m very excited to announce that I have THREE books coming out in a six-month span. A Love Surrendered—the final book in the O’Connor family saga—is available via e-book now and will be released in paperback October 1st. Then my Marcy/Patrick prequel, A Light in the Window: An Irish Christmas Love Story releases November 9, followed by book 1 in my new Heart of San Francisco series, Love at Any Cost, which releases April 1st, so there’s lots of “Passion with a Purpose”—my tagline—coming your way!
Thanks, Melanie, for allowing me to connect with your readers, and I’m looking forward to giving one of them a signed copy of any of my books, including A Love Surrendered or an e-book of A Light in the Window: An Irish Christmas Love Story. Just leave a comment telling me WHICH is your favorite O’Connor book and why. And if you haven’t read any, that’s okay too—just let me know, and if you win, I will make sure you get the first book in the series. GOOD LUCK!!
Of course, I LOVE to hear from reader friends, so they can feel free to 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 http://www.julielessman.com/sign-up-for-newsletter/. My newsletter is chock-full of fun info on my books and there’s always a contest featuring signed book giveaways including one right now to have a character named after you or a loved one in my next book. Also, I have a cool feature on my website called “Journal Jots” (http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots1/), which is a very laid-back, Friday journal to my reader friends that would give your readers an idea as to my relaxed style of writing. Then finally, I can be found daily at The Seekers blog (http://seekerville.blogspot.com/), a group blog devoted to encouraging and helping aspiring writers on the road to publication.
As Julie mentioned above, you can enter to win a copy of one of her books (winner's choice). This giveaway is open Internationally!
Enter via the Rafflecopter below. The mandatory entry is to leave a comment on this blog post letting Julie know which is your favorite O’Connor book and why (if you haven't read any, just say that). After you do that, the optional entries will become available. Happy entering and I look forward to reading your comments. :)