Friday, May 8, 2009

THERE'S NO DENYING IT! JULIE'S HERE!

Welcome JULIE:

Julie Lessman is a new author who has garnered much writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. She is the author of The Daughters of Boston series, which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. You can contact Julie through her website at http://www.julielessman.com/.



SKC: Now, that you are here, Julie, please tell us what inspiration went behind the penning of your third book, A Passion Denied.

JL: Gosh, Shirley, I wish I could tell you that I had this grand scheme for Lizzie and Brady’s book, but I’m afraid it just kind of naturally happened as the O’Connor saga evolved. I knew that I loved John Morrison Brady from A Passion Most Pure, and since he was the male counterpart to Faith O’Connor as the spiritual influence in Collin’s life, I found that I couldn’t let him go once the book ended. So in book 2, A Passion Redeemed, it seemed natural to make him Collin’s business partner in the print shop and equally as natural to give 13-year-old Beth O’Connor a crush on him at the same time since she was not only a bookworm like Brady, but a romantic dreamer as well.

SKC: Will you always write historical-inspirational, or do you have plans to venture out, and if so, to where?

JL: Oooo … good question, Shirley! As a matter of fact, I’ve been plotting a semi-contemporary series in my head for a while now, something that would take place in the Baby Boomer era of the 60s, and I’m starting to get pretty excited about it. A series title I’m thinking of at the moment is The Cousins McClare, and basically it would be a love/hate tug-of-war between cousins and their families (and their love interests!) in a small lake community.

But I do love historicals A LOT, so I also have thoughts about a prequel about Marcy and Patrick O’Connor (a story which is hinted at in book 3, A Passion Denied), as well as stories about each of the O’Connor girls’ children … The Cousins of Boston, maybe? J Who knows!

SKC: Tell us about some of the authors who have given you insight on how to express your own voice, and have taught you the most about development of style

JL: Well, without question, Margaret Mitchell got it all started for me with her amazing novel, Gone With the Wind. That book instilled a love for romance in me at the age of 12 that I hope carries through into my novels today. And, of course, King Solomon who wrote the “Song of Solomon” in the Bible, which opened my eyes as to just how passionate God’s love is for each of us. As far as craft, the author who had the most influence on me would be Donald Maas and his Writing the Breakout Novel, and more recently, The Moral Premise by Stanley D. Williams, a book highly recommended by my agent, Natasha Kern, and one that is changing how I look at the structure of a novel.

SKC: When you are in the middle of series and deadlines does it cramp your creativity, or enhance it, and why?

JL: Well, deadlines drive me like nothing else, so when I have one before me, I find that I push on the writing all the more, and the more I write, the more creative I become. So although I don’t LIKE deadlines hovering, they are a necessary evil that seem to spur my creative juices on.

SKC: As we close please give us a hint about your new series coming out next year, where our readers can reach you, and share a question you might have about how they’ve received your work, thus far.

JL: My next 3-book series will finish off the saga of the O’Connors in grand style. Book 1 will be the story of the youngest daughter, Katie, which is 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. Sean's love interest will be ... guess who? Emma, Charity's scarred friend from book 2, A Passion Redeemed! 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 my readers away!

Gosh, Shirley, as far as how readers have received my work thus far, I have to say that I’m pretty blown away by some of the e-mails I have received. Stories like the one from the 15-year-old who couldn’t talk to her mom about anything, she said, UNTIL her mom gave her my book and suddenly they had common ground in their mutual love of the story. Or the guy who contacted me to get a signed copy for a friend he wanted as a girlfriend. When he told her he wanted a deeper relationship with her, she actually made him read A Passion Most Pure because “that was the kind of relationship she wanted, with God in the middle!” Or the fallen-away woman who would not read Inspirational books on a dare, but picked mine up not realizing it was spiritual. She wrote that A Passion Most Pure rekindled her love for God and gave her hope again. It just doesn’t get any better than that, does it?

SDC: Sounds exciting!

JL: Thanks SO much, Shirley, for allowing me this time to connect with you and your readership. Anyone who would like to contact me can do so through my website at http://www.julielessman.com/, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter, in which I feature book giveaways and contests. For instance, currently I am running a contest where I am going to name a character in my next book after the contest winner. 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 http://seekerville.blogspot.com/.

SDC: Julie, I can’t thank you enough for coming by to visit. I am in the middle of A Passion Denied right now, and look forward to the read.
I also understand you look are forwarding to donating a book to one of our guests! What a great gift for POST Mother's Day!


A big congratulations to Linda Wagner of Minnesota! You have just won Julie's book. Thank you so much for joining us and leaving your comment. Be watching for your book!
Blessings
Shirley


38 comments:

  1. I also love Gone with the Wind. It was one of the first grown up books I ever read and loved. I would love to win Julie's book!

    atforkner [at] yahoo [.] com

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  2. It would be awesome to read Patrick and Marcy's story! I hope you write it Julie! Great interview, I'd love to win A Passion Denied!

    steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com

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  3. A great interview! Speaking of Mother's Day, I've been trying to get my mom to read this series, but she hasn't yet. I think I need to start working on it again!

    ashley.vanburen[at]gmail[dot]com

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  4. Hi Julie! I'm going for it again! And yeeessss....I know I need to read them in order! ;)

    I think as an author it would be the most awesome thing to get emails from readers who have been changed by the story that God has given you. May God continue to fill your mind and stir your creativity to keep touching lives!

    Great interview, Shirley! Thanks for sharing Julie! (I hear she is queen of the Kiss!)

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  5. Julie, reading how your books have touched lives and have been used by God to bless people gave me holy bumps! I think that's wonderful! I enjoyed reading your interview and am soooo grateful to have found Shirley's blog and to be part of FHL group of RWA! Thanks for sharing your faith in Jesus through your pen!

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  6. TINA, oh, another GWTW advocate -- wish I could give you two chances in the drawing for that!! And I have heard INCREDIBLE things about your books, Tina, and have them both on my TBR list. Thank you so much for dropping by!

    RENEE (Steelergirl ... love that addy!), thank you for popping in again and for your vote of confidence for Marcy and Patrick's story. I don't know if you have read A Passion Denied yet, but their story within the book rips my heart out so much that I cry everytime I read it, which means it probably would make a pretty good prequel if I explored their past in depth.

    LEY!!! Gosh, we just HAVE to get your mom to read these books!! I'm saying one right now that she does, and one for you, too, for trying to promote my books like you do! Thank you SOOO much!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  7. SHERRINDA, dear Lord, girl, if ANYBODY should win a book, you and Borders Girl should!!! Thank you for following me around to leave comments on the blog interviews I am doing. I would absolutely LOVE to send you a signed copy of your choice, so keep it up, PLEASE!! :)

    RAYNENE, thank you for your kind words, and I totally agree -- I am sooo glad you and I are both part of such a wonderful group such as FHL AND both Shirley's friends! And, grin, I am glad to have given you "holy bumps"! I just love when that happens, don't you?

    TO ALL FUTURE COMMENTERS: I am leaving town in a few minutes for my daughter's college graduation, and will not have Internet access till late tonight, so I will respond to you all then, okay?

    In the meantime, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to everyone who warrents it and HAPPY WEEKEND to those who aren't there yet!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  8. I've been trying to NOT feel like your stalker and keep telling myself "She SAID to keep commenting on all the blog interviews to win!". It's not creepy, is it? lol

    And congrats on the college graduate! Wow! You look young!

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  9. Loved this interview too! Goodness, y'all! Marcy and Patrick's story would be WONDERFUL to read. Once again, I'm going to try to win A PASSION DENIED. hee hee!

    courtneylp1323(at)aol(dot)com

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  10. Great interview! I think that you have so many wonderful ideas for the future...the boys' stories sound so exciting! I hope that God blesses your writing abundantly!

    Also, I loved the stories you shared. It's so amazing how God works through us to reach out to other people!

    Thanks so much for allowing me to continue blogging...like Sherrinda said, I hope you don't find me a pest!

    ~Border's Girl

    stokes[dot]a[at]suddenlink[dot]net

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  11. Great interview, Julie! All things God and romance -- that's you : )

    How can you not touch lives when you so deeply live and reflect those values? The publishing world is a better place with you and the O'Connors : )

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  12. SHERRINDA, honey, I am just SO thrilled when somebody shows up and leaves a comment, I don't give a rip if it's the same person each time -- I am nothing but grateful!! And you are doing exactly what you need to do to win, so don't worry about me! In fact, another frequent commenter (steelergirl) just won A Passion Denied tonight from another blog interview I did, so the odds are with you, girl!

    COURTNEY, I am sooo glad there is an interest in Marcy and Patrick's story, because I would love to write it. And after you WIN A Passion Redeemed (you're bound to with YOUR diligence), you'll get better insight into what the story may be.

    BORDERS GIRL!!!! Always great to see you, Amber, and keep chugging away, girl ... you and Sherrinda are neck in neck in winning a book, I'll tell ya! :)

    AUDRA!!!!!!!!!!! I just LOVE it when a Seeker bud drops in -- thank you SO much, girl! And hey, if I didn't already have the tagline of "Passion with a Pupose," I think I would go with yours of "All Things, God and Romance"!!!! Thanks for dropping in, sweetie.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  13. I'd love to be entered to win! I love deadlines too, though I'm a procrastinator. My poor editor at the newspaper always got my article at the minute of its deadline. LOL
    I'm really excited about your upcoming stories. :-)

    jessica_nelson7590(at)yahoo dot com

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  14. Hi,
    Please, please enter me, I'm dying to read this book! I would also love to read Marcy and Patrick's story, I love their relationship!

    Julie, on one of the last interviews you commented on my display picture. It's actually not me, it's my little cousin Cheyenne, you can't really tell cause the picture is so small.
    I agree with you, a picture like that would make a great cover for Katie's book!
    Cheyenne is a cute, little trouble maker, who I love to pieces.
    She's going through a hard time, her Daddy died a few months ago from cancer. She doesn't understand why she can't see him anymore. We miss him terribly...but life must go on.

    Anyway thanks for the chance to win your book, I look forward to reading each and every one of them. :)

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  15. Be forewarned: Once you start this book, you won't want to stop! The interplay between the sisters, NOW ALLIES, will warm your little heart. And Julie's captured my soul with a poignant scene on a chapel pew. Did I mention I've only just STARTED the book??????

    Enjoy!
    Patti Lacy

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  16. Are you letting the winner choose the book? If so please enter my name!
    I already have Denied, but i need copies of the other two!

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  17. JESSICA, so you have an editor too, and deadlines?? Oh, the pressure, but a small price to pay to be able to write, eh? Thank you for dropping by to leave a comment and for your excitement about my books -- I SOOO appreciate it!

    Oh, CAROLYNN, I am heartbroken to hear about little Cheyenne's dad! I am saying one for her RIGHT NOW that God will usher her and her family through this tragedy. Please give her a hug for me, will you?

    PATTI!!!! Thank you SO much for stopping by, sweetie, and I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!

    REBORNBUTTERFLY, we definitely have to get you the first book in this series or die trying!! Already two other frequent commenters on my blog interviews (Sherrinda and Steelergirl) have won books with their diligence, so you could be next! Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  18. I hope there is still time to enter to win this book. I cannot wait to read it. LOVE Julie's writing. So honest and real.

    Julie, I just got your newsletter that asked people to post reviews, but only good one, but I have to say it was a bad review that got me to buy your first book! So one person's bad review is another person's good review.

    Gail
    bookwurm70 at gmail dot com

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  19. I would love to read Patrick and Marcy's story. I really enjoy their deep love and devotion to each other and how it spills over into their family. Toss my name in the hat for A Passion Denied. Thanks!

    worthy2bpraised[at]gmail[dot]com

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  20. GAIL, okay, now you convinced me!! So I guess I shouldn't be put off by the blog reviewer who said she put A Passion Denied down halfway through because "In my opinion, smut is smut. Even if you slap God's name in it on occasion it's still smut." I have to admit, that one HURT, but thank you for your comment that tells me reviews like that can also help my cause ... :)

    MEZ!!! You just gotta win a book soon, girl, so keep it up. And thanks for your comment, sweetie!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  21. Interesting that your books influenced a couple that they passed your books back and forth so they could have a great relationship. That's the kind of story writing that's pertinent and the kind I love!
    Please enter me in your contest.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

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  22. Thanks again, LINDA, for making the rounds on my blog interviews! You better be careful or you will win a book that way ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  23. another great interview.
    I would love to be entered in the drawing for A Passion Denied!
    Thanks so much!
    Tammy A
    Tatertam1@aol.com

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  24. Julie

    LOL, the "smut" one is probably the one that convinced me to buy it! I seriously doubted it would be "smut" and it certainly is not.

    Gail

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  25. TAMMY A ... great to see you making the rounds, girl!! Three commenters who did the same thing (left comments on most of my blog interviews) have already won, so it definitely pays off.

    And, GAIL, WOW, that makes me smile that the "smut" comment convinced you to buy it. Honestly, it really isn't, trust me. It's just that romance in the Christian market has been so tame for so long, that ANYTHING that gives "a kiss" more than a line or two or doesn't wait till mid or end of book to introduce it seems like smut to some people. And believe me, I definitely give it more than a line or two ... and it's pretty much throughout the book too. Oh well, some of us just like a lot of romance, eh? :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  26. I think I'd enjoy these books. Here's hoping.........
    Sylvia G

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  27. You don't trust me, SHIRLEY???? Smart girl! :)

    NADE, thanks for stopping by ... here's hoping too ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  28. Well, Julie
    I have been reading your book and gasping for air throughout

    What can I say

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  29. Oh-oh, Shirley ... that could be good ... and that could be bad. YIKES!! I hope you don't agree with the "smut" lady! :)

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  30. I am so glad that Julie has burst onto the scene in the Christian fiction market! I live in an area that's often called "Gone with the Wind country" so I love the impact Margaret Mitchell had on Julie. I was a teen in the early 60s, so I also hope the Baby Boomers series develops.

    I save Julie's books for seasons when I have lots of time to read, and am never disappointed. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of A Passion Denied.

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  31. Sorry...I forgot to leave my e-mail in the previous post.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

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  32. Oh, Carole ... you live in GWTW country??? That should give you two chances in the pot, in my opinion!! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment -- good luck!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  33. Julie, I live south of Atlanta in Jonesboro, GA. Murals from GWTW are painted on the sides of some buildings downtown, and the Battle of Jonesboro is "fought" locally every October. I doubt there's any truth to it, but the county I live in claims to be the home of Tara. Good for tourism, though!

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  34. I didn't think A PASSION MOST PURE was smut--not at all. I found it boring. I put it down at about page 70 and gave it to a buddy who I figured would like it. As I read it, the entire plot in those 70 pages was: he puts the moves on. She resists (sort of), and gets mad at him. He backs off. He puts the moves on. She resists. He backs off.

    It didn't interest me. I suppose some might say if I'd given it another 20 pages I'd have gotten into it, but I didn't want to. So I'm bad. I bailed.

    I no longer stick with books I find boring. Sorry but it's true.

    No apologies. But I find I don't always like the books I'm supposed to like.

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  35. Thank you so much for your honesty, "anonymous."

    Authors don't always receive the best reviews...I know, because I still don't get the top rating for my Flame from Within, but that's because I have a ways to go with my learning. (I'll get there)

    I do believe it is best we hear all that reviewers have to say, since reviewers are an example of our readers.

    I know it isn't easy sometimes to write those thoughts down.

    I, too, find that I stop reading a book I am trying to take a look at, if it doesn't do anything to keep me going.

    One reviewer of my own recent Civil War novel wrote she got to a place where it was difficult to go on (Her reasoning was because I had to enter a dark area with my heroine, and it was difficult for her.) but I'm glad she plugged on. I also appreciated her comments and review of my story.

    Her reasoning was different from yours for the book you spoke about, and that has to make it even more difficult to leave a review.

    Whatever the review is, each one helps us so much--whether or not the result may always be what we'd hoped for. The important thing to me is that the good can be shared along with the not-so-good.

    Your comments are welcome here, always. Thank you for writing in your comments.

    Blessings
    Shirley Kiger Connolly

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  36. Thank you for hosting Julie Lessman! And thanks to Julie for the book!!

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