Julie Lessman is a debut author who has already garnered writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She is a commercial writer for Maritz Travel, a published poet and a Golden Heart Finalist. Julie has a heart to write “Mainstream Inspirational,” reaching the 21st-century woman with compelling love stories laced with God’s precepts. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. Her first book, A Passion Most Pure, was released January 2008. Visit her Web site at www.julielessman.com.
Firstly thanks Julie for doing an interview for my blog.
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Well, I’m a baby boomer (how’s that for neatly side-stepping the age issue?), married to an incredible artist, the love of my life for 30 years this September. We have two children, a son married to a beautiful med student in Omaha, and a gorgeous daughter who is completing college in three years before heading off to law school. We are blessed, not only because they are amazing kids, but because God is extremely important in both of their lives. I am quitting my travel writer job (after over 30 years!) to write fulltime, and hope and pray I won’t starve!! J My favorite things are Gone With the Wind, old movies, great romance novels, and dinners with good friends.
2. How did you know you wanted to be a writer, have you always had the desire or did it come later?
From the moment I read Gone With the Wind at the age of twelve, I was hooked on romance. So much so, that I immediately set out to write (along with thousands of other love-struck young girls, I’m sure), what I hoped would be “the great American novel.” Obviously my dreams of grandeur didn’t go anywhere (grin), but I did write 150 single-spaced pages of a story that is actually the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. Hard to believe that almost forty years passed before God breathed new life into that early attempt and inspired me to finish my childhood novel of passion—only this time the “passion” would be for Him!
3. If you were not a writer what would you like to be?
Oh, gosh, either a psychologist or a motivational speaker, I suppose. Either way, I have a heart to encourage people, especially when it comes to having an intimate relationship with God. But the true desire of my heart is … and has been since the age of twelve … to be an author. And, WOW, to actually be an author who writes for God – pinch me!
4. What was you motivation for writing A Passion most Pure?
Without question, I strongly believe my motivation for writing A Passion Most Pure was God. Although Gone With the Wind was my original inspiration at the age of twelve, I can’t deny the prompting of the Holy Spirit forty years later to finish my childhood novel. It came about while I was waiting to get a haircut in a beauty parlor in 2001 and reading a Newsweek magazine cover article about Christian entertainment. It said Christian books, movies and music were on the threshold of exploding. My heart jumped, and something in my spirit said, “It’s time to write your book.” Now, I have to be honest—up until that moment, I had never seriously considered writing a book. But the pull was so strong, that I started writing A Passion Most Pure one month later—almost forty years after penning those first 150 pages.
5. How do you come up with the characters for your books and are they modeled on people you know?
Well, at the risk of sounding narcissistic (gulp), three of my sister characters are based on different aspects of my personality. Basically, I like to delve into characters on a deeply emotional level, and so I draw upon the wealth of emotional baggage from my own past. And trust me, we’re talking the mother lode! For instance, Faith, the sister heroine from A Passion Most Pure, is my spiritual self while Charity, the “wicked” sister is my sensual or worldly self before I came to Christ. In book 3, A Passion Denied, the sister heroine is Lizzie, who is a bookworm and dreamer, which is how I used to be as a child. I will have to say, however, that in book 4, which will be the youngest daughter’s story, Katie, her character will be based on my own daughter, who was a real pistol growing up.
6. What was the Hardest part of writing "A Passion Most Pure"?
Well, if there was a hard part, it would have been sitting down and starting that very first paragraph (of which there were MANY!). After that, there was NOTHING hard about writing that book whatsoever. Every word, every scene was sheer pleasure to write and rewrite. Now getting it published? Another story altogether, and THAT is was actually the “hard part” of this book for me—five years and 45 rejections hard!
By the way, talking about the first paragraph made me curious as to what my original first paragraph had been, so I looked it up and winced. Here it is:
Faith O'Connor would have given anything to trade places with her sister. To be the second rather than the firstborn … or at the very least, the firstborn of a mother who didn't cling to the catechism of the Holy Mother Church in the naming of her offspring!
7. How many books will there be in "The Daughters of Boston" series and how long do we have to wait for the next book?
There will be three books in this series. Book 1 is Faith’s story, A Passion Most Pure, and is in stores now; Book 2 is Charity’s story, A Passion Redeemed, and will be released in September 2008; and Book 3 is Elizabeth’s story, A Passion Denied (working title), which will be released in February 2009.
8. Can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
Well, there are four “Daughters of Boston” in the O’Connor family, but my publisher tells me they only do 3-book series. But I am compelled to tell Katie’s story (the fourth and youngest O’Connor daughter), especially since she is a pistol who comes of age during The Roaring Twenties, right before The Great Depression. That said, I am hoping to pitch another 3-book series to Revell which would feature Katie as book 1, the oldest brother, Sean, as book 2 and the youngest brother, Steven, as book 3 of that series. I am also toying with the idea of doing a prequel on Marcy and Patrick because you get a glimpse of their past in book 3 of the original series, and it’s a pretty exciting story. So time will tell.
9. Do you have any final thoughts for us?
I just want to thank you, Jenny, for hosting me on your blog. It’s been fun! And I LOVE to hear from readers, so they can contact me through my Web site at www.julielessman.com, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter.
Currently, I am giving away a signed hardback copy of A Passion Most Pure to a winner drawn from those who sign up for my newsletter. The newsletter will be an “insider’s circle” of updates on The Daughters of Boston series, with sneak peeks inside the publishing process, fun tidbits and up-to-date info on book releases and signings. I also invite your readers to visit The Seekers, a group blog of which I am a part, at http://seekerville.blogspot
Finally, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview and sharing your time with us.
(Jenny here)I for one am looking forward to book 2.
Julie has kindly donated a copy of "A Passion most Pure" to be given away on this blog for All readers (international also). To enter just leave a comment and a way for me to contact you. the giveaway will be open til midnight Sunday March 30.
You can read my review here