We have a real treat today, dearies! Julie Lessman is dropping by to tell us about her latest book, A Heart Revealed, and giving away a signed copy! Julie’s books are filled with faith and passion and as I’ve had a chance to get to know her these past months I can see why – because they are just like her! She is such a delight! I am thrilled to get the chance to ask her some questions.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into writing?
Well, I’m a baby boomer married to a very talented artist/designer 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 just delivered our first grandbaby, Aurora (Rory) Grace and a 24-year-old daughter in her last year of law school who 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 other four didn’t cost me a dime! 🙂
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.
2. What is the best part of being an author?
Oh, hands-down, 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.
3. What are your inspirations for your books? What was the inspiration for the Winds of Change series?
Without question, I strongly believe my inspiration for writing A Passion Most Pure was God. Although Gone With the Wind was the original impetus 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.
As far as the “inspiration” for the Winds of Change series, you might say A Passion Most Pure was the springboard for all of the novels in this passionate family saga, although to be honest, I never planned this as a series. Every book thereafter, both in the Daughters of Boston series and the Winds of Change series just seemed to flow from that first plot, each forging a life of its own. I guess you could say I literally followed the trail that the prior story laid out, expanding the plots as I went along. Kind of like Hansel and Gretel following a trail of breadcrumbs to find my way home. J
4. Please tell us about your new book A Heart Revealed.
A Heart Revealed is book 2 in “The Winds of Change” series, and it’s the forbidden love story of the oldest O’Connor brother, Sean O’Connor, a confirmed bachelor, and his sister’s best friend, Emma Malloy, a battered married woman. Here’s my blurb:
The ring on her hand belongs to one man …
But her heart belongs to another.
As a battered woman, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston ten years ago, seeking shelter for a heart badly bruised by both her husband and guilt. But when she falls in love with Sean O’Connor, a confirmed bachelor who wrestles with demons of his own, fear and shame almost destroy her … until she is finally set free by a heart revealed.
5. Do you have a favorite part? Favorite character?
One of my favorite “spiritual” parts in A Heart Revealed is a scene where the heroine Emma Malloy, an abused woman still chained to a monster through her marriage vows, is explaining to her young neighbor Casey about the love affair she has with God, which has been her saving grace. I love this scene, not only because it depicts the doubts I once had as a Christian who had a “long-distance” relationship with God, but also because I truly believe it is the relationship that God longs to have with each of us. Here’s a short clip:
Casey’s eyelids lowered as she shifted in her seat. “But we can’t see or feel God, Emma, so how can you feel his love? I need more than prayers to a God I can’t touch, see or hear—I want to hear words of love, see kind actions, feel hugs and kisses …”
“We all do, because yes, we’re human beings. But we were made in God’s image.” Drawing in a deep breath, Emma leaned back in her chair, her eyes tender. “Which means, Casey, like Father, like daughter. You want to be loved? So does he. You want to be touched? So does he. You want to feel the rush of a kiss or the warmth of a hug?” Tears pricked Emma’s eyes. “So does he, Casey. Which is why I rushed to him when Rory hurt me and my family betrayed me. And you know what? I found a God whose arms were open wide and whose heart leapt with joy when I called his name. As protective as a mother and as jealous as a lover, this was a God who wanted me for his very own. Me—Emma Malloy! To touch, to bless, to fill with his pleasure.” She swallowed hard, her gaze locked on Casey’s. “Until I overflow, spilling his love on all those around me—treasured possessions of a passionate God.”
As far as a “favorite character,” that would be Charity O’Connor, the heroine’s best friend (and heroine of book 2 in the saga, A Passion Redeemed. Charity has always been one of my favorite characters, I guess because she is a woman like I used to be before Christ—selfish, manipulative, lost. I think that’s why she fascinates me so much, because I look at her (and women like her) in the same way I suspect God looked at me back then—with eyes full of love and hope that we all can become new creatures in Christ Jesus. And quite frankly, I think she is just downright funny and quirky and such a hoot that she makes me laugh. And OH MY, what she does to a woman who is after her husband in A Heart Revealed?? You won’t believe it OR the fact that yes, it is something I would have done at the drop of a hat way back when!
6. What are you working on next?
I am currently writing a new trilogy entitled “The Cousins McClare,” a poor-man, rich-man scenario among three cousins amid the Irish-political landscape of 1902 San Francisco, Nob Hill and the Barbary Coast. Think Little Women meets Dynasty.” And for those of you too young to remember the TV show Dynasty, think family wealth and poverty in a 1900 political setting. Following book 1 of The Cousins McClare, I’m hoping to write a prequel about the O’Connor parents, Marcy and Patrick O’Connor, before they were married as well, so say one for me!
7. Where can we find you and your books?
Thank you, Jamie, for allowing me to connect with your readers. I LOVE to hear from reader friends, so they can feel free to 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 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.
Thank you SO much, Jamie, for hosting me on your blog!
To enter to win a copy of Julie’s book, A Heart Revealed, just answer this question in the comments: God revealed to Julie that her passion for writing A Passion Most Pure was still in her heart and she wrote her first book (which I have read and LOVED!). Have you had something in your life come alive again? Some passion of yours (hobby/job/ministry/etc.?) What happened?
Can’t wait to hear your stories! 🙂 And don’t forget to leave a way for me to contact you if you win!! I will announce the winner on December 1st!
Also!! Because it is Cyber Monday I will include a copy of my Christmas novella, The Snowflake! Happy Reading!