Friday, January 25, 2008

Meet Julie Lessman - Interview & Book Giveaway

Meet Julie Lessman

Julie - Headshot

I’m so happy to present another awesome debut author, Julie Lessman. Julie’s first novel, A Passion Most Pure (Daughters of Boston, Book 1), is the first of a multi-book series. Let’s get to know Julie…

The Bio

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

The Interview

JA: Congratulations on your debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. Tell us a little bit about it.
JL: Well, I think the jacket blurb says it best, so here goes:

She's found the love of her life. Unfortunately, he loves her sister ...

As World War I rages across the Atlantic in 1916, a smaller war is brewing in Boston. Faith O’Connor finds herself drawn to an Irish rogue who is anything but right for her. Collin McGuire is brash, cocky, and from the wrong side of the tracks, not to mention forbidden by her father. And then there’s the small matter that he is secretly courting her younger sister. But when Collin’s affections suddenly shift her way, it threatens to tear Faith's proper Boston family apart.

JA: I love the premise of this book… a love triangle between an Irish rogue, a proper Boston socialite, and her younger sister. How did you come up with the idea?
JL: As one of 13 children (in a family that included 10 girls!), I guess you can say I experienced my fair share of sibling rivalry. I often butted heads with my sister who was two years older than me. She was … ahem … quite voluptuous and very attractive to boys while I was … well, basically not! :) I was so skinny, in fact, that when I played on a girls’ softball team, my older brother commented: “What position do you play? The foul line?”

Needless to say, the idea of competing with my beautiful sister for a boy’s affection was deeply rooted in my childhood, which is actually when I started writing this novel, at the age of 12, after reading Gone With the Wind. Suddenly my passion for romance was awakened, and although I only penned a 150 pages of a single-spaced manuscript at that time, the story is actually the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you look at it!), 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! :)

JA: What do you hope people take away when they finish reading your book?
JL: Well, the MOST important thing I would like readers to take away from this book is the reality of how natural and fulfilling an intimate relationship with God can and SHOULD be. Like breathing. This book may be fiction, but this is NOT a fairy tale here. It is possible to have a living, breathing relationship with the God of the Universe. He’s crazy about us, and if most people really understood that, their lives would turn on a dime and blessings would overtake them. Believe me, I KNOW this firsthand—I used to be a hard, cynical, coarse human being before God pulled me up by the scruff of the neck and said, “Yo, Julie! Get a clue. You’re the apple of my eye!” :) He’s been the love of my life ever since.

Julie - coverJA: Your tagline is Passion With A Purpose. What does that mean to you?
JL: Well, I say it best on my Web site, so I'm going to just repeat that here. My books are what I would refer to as “edgy Inspirational,” meaning they are a tad more passionate than the majority of Inspirational fiction in the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) market. And I did this on purpose. You see, I’m the type of woman who loves a heated romance, you know—the heart-fluttering, pulse-pounding emotional tug-of-war between a man and a woman. It draws me, always has, from the early days of Gone With the Wind. But for me, heated 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.

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 A Passion Most Pure is a novel that 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.

JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
JL: Well, I had hoped to write a fourth book in the “Daughters of Boston” series since there are four daughters in the O’Connor family, but I haven’t sold it yet, so I’m not sure what’s going to happen there. But I would definitely like to do more series. I love writing about families in depth, exploring the emotional highs and lows of a large family (As one of 13 kids, I wonder why! :)).

I especially enjoy incorporating the love affair between the mother and father of the family because that is so critically important in today’s society and so overlooked. You should never stop having a love affair with your spouse—it’s the greatest thing a mother and father can give to their children—a tender and passionate love between each other. And it’s so much fun for me to incorporate in my books the wonderful lessons I’ve learned with my own husband, humbling though they may be!

Eventually I would like to write a book about my own family, growing up with nine sisters and three brothers, which would be more of a slice-of-life, bittersweet piece of autobiographical fiction. But family saga/romance is where my heart is, so I am sure I will be coming up with plenty of ideas in the future.

JA: What’s something that people would be surprised to learn about you?
JL: Mmm … maybe that I pray for EVERY person who visits my Web site or reads my book? En mass, of course, or I wouldn’t get any writing done! :)

But I guess the biggest thing that surprises people is that I am basically a recluse who has the misfortune of having an outgoing personality! If I had my way, I’d stay at home, grafted to the seat of my computer chair and WRITE, WRITE, WRITE!! But with lots of family to keep up with, four prayer partners, 21 crit/support partners, and plenty of coworkers and friends I interact with on a daily basis, my “loner” personality doesn’t stand a chance. Which I guess is a good thing, although there are unproductive days where I am not so sure. :)

JA: What do you read for fun?
JL: Are you kidding???? ROMANCE!!!!! I am more of a “Calgon, take me away,” type of gal rather than “slice-of-life,” so I don’t read a ton of Women’s Fiction or nonfiction, mostly lovely, uplifting, heart-pounding romance. The bigger the book, the better, in my opinion (which explains the … ahem … length of my own novels!). Turn my head with romance and nail me with God’s precepts in the process—that’s my kind of book! Like Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love or Liz Curtis Higgs’ Scottish trilogy—Wow, “pure” enjoyment!

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with the latest Julie Lessman publishing news?
JL: Thanks for asking, Jennifer! I plan to have an e-newsletter that will be e-mailed to anyone who signs up on my Web site, but I have not implemented that feature yet. So in the near future (hopefully the next month), anyone who wants to stay up with the progress of my books and their release dates can do so by signing up for my newsletter.

Thank you, Jennifer, for having me as your guest—it’s been fun!

Thank you, Julie, and continued blessings on your writing journey!

Win the Book
A Passion Most Pure is in stores now, but you can win a copy here. Just leave a reply to this blog. The winner will be picked at random on February 1st. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!


windycindy said...

Hi, What a wonderful interview and review of Julie's book. Please enter me in your contest. I appreciate it!

Hannah said...

great interview! i'd love to win a copy of this book!!! hsmuda[at]gmail[dot]com


Pamela J said...

Hi. I am SO MUCH looking forward to having this book to read, and SOON. I know the ACFW book club is going to discuss the book as a group and my desire is to be RIGHT in the middle of that. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks.
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Julie Lessman said...

Windycindy, Hannah and Pamela J -- Thank you for stopping by. I wish all three of you could win the book!! Good luck!

And Pamela J, WOW, you're working those blogs, girl, and I'm thinking I wish I could send you a book on sheer perseverance!! But right now, I owe Revell more than they owe me, causing my husband to say, "Gee, Julie, I thought this book was gonna MAKE us money, not COST us!! :)

Maureen said...

The book looks very good.


Lori said...

I wish I had this book YESTERDAY. :) Please, sign me up!

aaronandlori (at) gmail (dot) com

Pamela J said...

Julie, No way am I wanting to make you wish to send me a book for persistence. Good for your husband to keep your focus. I'd want to do the same. So you know, I'm having a great time commenting and I'm thankful there are so many chances to win your book. By now, everyone knows I'm looking forward to reading it. While checking out all the sights, I almost feel I know some of the ones who comment. Thanks to Jennifer also for the opportunity to comment and for her time involved in all that she does for us read-a-book wanna-bees. Have a great weekend.
cepjwms at yahoo dot com
P.S. Jennifer, I didn't mean to comment twice and mess up counts of commnets, just HAD to reply to a reply...

Jennifer AlLee said...

Hey Pamela,

No problem - you didn't mess up a thing! Part of the fun of a blog is responding to each other.

Thanks to all you ladies for visiting and responding. Feel free to share this blog link with your friends so they can "meet" Julie, too. Let's talk up that book and sell lots of copies so Julie and her hubby don't have to eat beans! :+}

Julie, again, thanks so much for taking the time to visit us. Interviewing you was SOOOO much fun!

scaramouche9999 said...

This is one book I'm impressed enough with to delay my five WIP's so I could read it. Sign me up for the drawing, please. And thanks for hosting this my friend from Huskerland.
Donald James Parker

Julie Lessman said...

Jennifer said: "Let's talk up that book and sell lots of copies so Julie and her hubby don't have to eat beans! :+}"

LOL, Jen, thank you! And you have NO idea how close to the truth you are!! I have worked at Maritz Travel for over 30 years and JUST gave my notice last week to quit in Mid-March, which is a bit scary for us with an EXPENSIVE daughter in college who is heading to law school next year. So I may be stocking up on beans -- and not the fancy Bush's Best kind, either. Can you say A&P generic? :)

Missy Tippens said...

Julie, I hope we'll get to see that Book 4!! :)

I have the book already, so no need to enter me in the drawing. But do you think you could add "free time to read" as a drawing prize??!! :)

I'm still at the beginning of the book and am LOVING it!!


Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Great interview. I'd love to read this book.

Julie Lessman said...

Hey Scaramouchee9999 and Jennifer Hudson Taylor -- thanks for sweet the comments!

And geez Louise, Scaramouchee9999, I wish I had five WIPs going!! You must be a powerhouse!!

Missy, always love to hear from a Seeker bud! Thanks for stopping by!


Margo Carmichael said...

Hi, Julie, I'd love to win your book. I want to read your travel articles, too. I looove to travel. Been blessed to visit Scotland, Paris, London, Tokyo, old Orleans, France, New Orleans.... Should I win, please leave a comment on my blog. (I worry about privacy issues, putting my email out there. I've googled my name and seen my comments everywhere.) Thanks!


Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, Margo, but I'm hoping my books are a wee bit more interesting than my travel writing (grin)!! Unlike you, I have not traveled widely (despite having worked for a Travel Company for over 22 years!), but it's amazing what one can do with research, eh?

So nice to hear from you! Thanks for your comment.


Ruth Axtell Morren said...

Hi Julie,
Sounds like my kind of story! I also love Redeeming Love and L.Curtis Higgs Scottish series.
Hope you find a home for your 4th book.

Ruth Axtell Morren said...

Oops, I forgot to leave my email addy the way you suggested:

Bebemiqui said...

I'd love to read this!

Tara said...

This book sounds great!

Anonymous said...

sounds like a good book!

Count me in please.

blogged ya:

Jennifer AlLee said...

You ladies are awesome! You know, I've heard nothing but excitement over Julie's book. I want to read it SOOOO much, but am committed to read a couple of others first and trying to finish the edits on a MS of my own. But I'm going to read it this year for sure!

Julie, congratulations on leaving your day job and being a full-time writer! I know it's gotta be scary, but I think God's definitely got His hand on you. And if you get tired of beans, you can always switch to packages of raman noodles. When I was in college, you could get 10 for $1.00. My roomies and I swore by those!

Anonymous said...

I really would like to read this book! Thanks for the chance!

Carolynn W. said...

I loved the interview especially the part where Julie said, "This book may be fiction, but this is NOT a fairy tale here. It is possible to have a living, breathing relationship with the God of the Universe."
I just love that, and I want to have that living, breathing relationship! Thank you Julie for writing the truth so that we all can take something away from your book and grow closer to God in the process!
I'd love to win this book, please enter me, thanks!
carolynnwald at hotmail dot com

glimpsed said...

Wow, this is an awesome interview - cant wait to read this book (either by winning or buying it!), thanks Julie!!

glimpsed said...

i know, i know - double post! but i just realized i had entered my email wrong..oops!

Cherie J said...

Enjoyed the interview! I have been hearing fabulous things about this book. Please enter me in the drawing. Would love to win a copy.

Livvie said...

I love the interview - and i can't wait to read this book :) Julie keep writing LOTS and LOTS okay? i'm gonna clear a lot of space for you on my self - and it's a lot! (enter me please!)


Audra Elizabeth said...

Sounds great!

thepeachykeenwriter [at] yahoo [dot] com

Sue H. said...

great interview!! Please enter me in the book giveaway. Thank you very much.

marjolein said...

here is my entry. lovely book cover!

etsong said...

I just finished reading your book and I absolutely loved it! Its now one of my favorites! I just had to go online to learn more about the author. Looking forward to the rest of the series!

Julie Lessman said...

Gosh, I just want to thank ALL of you for your kind comments -- what a blessing!

And Eunice, I'm sooo glad you enjoyed the book! Thanks for letting me know -- it's music to my ears!


Jennifer AlLee said...

I put together all the answers on both my blogs and drew a winner. Congratulations to Hannah! Thanks to everyone who left a comment!