Monday, September 20, 2010

A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman


Today, I'm honored to have the author of "a Hope Undaunted", Julie Lessman with me.

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 13 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as “Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction” at http://www.borders.com/online/store/ListView_best2009favefiction. She resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son and daughter-in-law and 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 www.julielessman.com.

Matter-in-fact, Julie is up this week for another award, ACFW Carol Award, with her book, A Passion Denied at the ACFW conference. Winners announced here.

I first became acquainted with Julie's writings when Passion Most Pure came out in 2007. She had me sold from the first page. She's absolutely wonderful. Welcome Julie and thanks for taking the time to answer questions for my readers. Could you tell my readers a little bit about yourself.

Well, I’m a baby boomer (how’s that for neatly side-stepping the age issue?) married to an incredible artist who’s the love of my life for 32 years come September 29. We have two children, a son married to a doctor, and a daughter who is in her second year of law school and dating a computer whiz (Whoo-Hoo, we have all the bases covered for any help we need—doctor, lawyer, artist, writer and IT assistance!! J). We are blessed, not only because they are amazing kids, but because God is extremely important in both of their lives. A while back, I quit my travel writer job (after over 30 years!) to write fulltime and have never regretted the decision. Besides writing, my favorite things are Gone With the Wind, old romance movies, great romance novels, and dinners out with my hubby, family or good friends.

Loved the way you side-stepped your age. I got in on the tail end of baby boomer age. Congratulations on your up coming wedding anniversary. Come January my hubby and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Yes, for a writer it sounds like you have all your bases covered as far as help you need. Cool! Could you tell us what was your first ever published item?

Oh, good question, Abi! Would you believe after answering over 700 questions, I have NEVER been asked this question before??! My first published items were two poems published in the National Anthology of High School Poetry when I was a high school sophomore and OMIGOSH … I STILL remember them!! Uh, I think. It seems they went something like this …

Francis Park (or any other)

Whenever I’m a swing,
I sail through the air, hair wind-raped and toes touching the clouds.
And I never stop to think that the swing is tied down
or that I can’t go any further than the blue of the sky.
I just feel free … completely free.
Whenever I’m on swing.

Mrs. Jones’ Cat
“Hey, Cat,
With you I wish to chat.
They think I’m crazy in the head.
Yep, Cat, that’s what they said.
But someday I’ll prove them wrong,
Then without them I’ll get along.
Oh-oh, Cat—better run,
Hurry and scat,
Here they come.”

“Mrs. Jones, why are you mumbling to yourself so low?
I’m not a deaf nurse, I heard you, you know.
And why are you holding that blanket like that?”

And Mrs. Jones screamed, “Don’t you touch my cat!”


How neat. thanks for sharing that piece of information with us.
Who has been your greatest influence to your writing journey?

Goodness, there are so many that I can’t just name one. Without question, Margaret Mitchell got it all started for me with her amazing novel, Gone With the Wind and then, of course, King Solomon with his “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, Donald Maas and his Writing the Breakout Novel, and more recently, The Moral Premise by Stanley D. Williams, influenced me greatly, but none more so than my amazing agent Natasha Kern, who not only secured a publishing contract for me against great odds, but continues to impart the benefit of her vast wisdom and experience with every book I write.

As far as encouragement when I was a kid, that would be my little sister, Kate. As the last two of thirteen children, we shared a room, and at the age of nine, Kate would lie on her bed with chin in hand and eyes wide as I read my “novel” to her night after night. Her interest, love and encouragement meant everything because I was not a favorite of my mother’s, who died when I was sixteen. God used Kate to channel His love and encouragement to me, and continues to do so today. Kate is the first person to read all of my books, and her input is invaluable. Throughout my life, her love has been like God’s love to me—unconditional and boundless, and I love her with all of my heart.

My daughter wants to watch Gone with the Wind, but we just don't have the 3+ hours to devote to it. Maybe someday when I'm old and gray. Oops!! I am old and gray. It is cool to have a sister so devoted to your work. What do you enjoy most about writing?

The most? Oh, that’s a no-brainer—writing love scenes, of course! I like tension, lots and LOTS of romantic tension, so when I write those scenes, my keyboard is smoking because my fingers fly. In fact, one of my friends wanted to know why I couldn’t just write a nice, “sweet” love scene. Duh, because I would fall asleep! J Even my husband noticed the fast and furious pace of my love scenes—he said he would be meandering along in a nice, easy passage and then, bam! A love scene would hit, and before he knew it, he was 20 pages down the road!

Oh, I love romance scenes too. What lady doesn't??? What is your least favorite (hardest) part of writing?


Book promotion and research.

I could see where selling your book would be a hard task. That's why you have bloggers like myself. ;P What is your favorite activity (hobby) to engage in when not writing?

Reading—preferably on a sunny beach with my husband by my side!

Ok. I should have stated that question a little differently to get the answer I really wanted, but I'll accept it since you described your preferred reading spot. Tell us a little bit about the featured book? (a Hope Undaunted)

A Hope Undaunted is book one in the brand-new “Winds of Change” series, and here’s the jacket blurb:

What happens when the boy she loved to hate …
becomes the man she hates to love?

The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman--smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband--good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Cluny McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?

It is such a yummy plot. I don't know how you author's do it. You know how to keep a reading coming back for more. What is the theme or message you are trying to get across in this book?

The message I would most like to see readers take away is that when life goes sour for whatever reason, God—the “God of Hope” as He is called in Romans 15:13—is the only means of maintaining your peace and “a hope undaunted.”

Isn't that the truth. Something we all have a hard time learning. I love the fact that you use KJV Bible that is my preferred version. That is a big seller for me when looking for a book to buy and whole-hardheartedly push as I do with your books. How much of yourself do you put into your characters?

Probably more than I should! J There’s definitely a part of my personality in each of the three sisters in “The Daughters of Boston” series. Faith, the sister heroine of A Passion Most Pure, is my spiritual self. Faith has an intimate relationship with God—she talks and prays to Him as naturally as if He is her best friend, but she gets angry with Him too. You might say she (and I) are emotionally engaged with the God of the Universe—we laugh with Him, tear up at His goodness to us, and worship Him with all of our hearts.

Charity, the sister heroine of Book 2 A Passion Redeemed, is my rebellious and “passionate” self, before I came to the Lord. I was a wild child of the seventies, you know, like so many of us. Thank heavens that Jesus got a hold of me (as he does Charity in Book 2)!

Lizzie (or Beth), the sister heroine of Book 3 A Passion Denied, is my dreamer self. Lizzie is a bookworm bent on fairytale romance, just like I used to be as a little girl, sneaking downstairs to watch romantic movies after my parents went to bed. In her story, Lizzie has to learn (just like I did) that true romance, the kind that really satisfies, comes from following God’s precepts, not the world’s.

In book 1 of my new “Winds of Change” series, A Hope Undaunted, Katie O’Connor is actually based on my 22-year-old daughter Amy rather than myself. In the book, Katie is in law school just like my Amy, both have sharp and witty tongues, and Katie is very list-oriented to the point of having a “list” for what she wants in a husband, just like my Amy!

There are, however, a number of my own personal experiences in A Hope Undaunted. For instance, Katie O’Connor broke out with a skin rash in kindergarten and was totally mortified when a crotchety, old nun asks her if she has leprosy in front of the whole class. She then wore knee socks and sweaters to school even when it was hot outside, just to hide the rash. Of course all the kids in the class made fun of her, which is exactly what happened to me in the 2nd grade. It’s this incident that makes Katie a champion for the underdog, just like it did for me. Also, there’s a memory scene where Cluny McGee teases an 11-year-old Katie with the phrase, “What’s new in the dog world?” Again, that happened to my best friend while we were walking to school one day and that memory has always stayed with me.

I love each of your characters in the Daughters of Boston series. They each are very strong in their personalities. You had me hooked from the very beginning. Comparing this O’Connor saga series (Winds of Change), how important is it that the reader reads the first three books (Daughters of Boston) first?

Oh man, what a loaded question!! Well, my publisher would say each book stands alone and can be read in any order, which is basically true, especially for A Hope Undaunted since it’s the first book in this new series. HOWEVER… and this drives my publisher crazy when I say this, I know, but this really is a saga that is best read in order in order to enhance the reading experience. The reason is that book 1 of “The Daughters of Boston” series A Passion Most Pure introduces the family and sets the groundwork for the next five books as well as revealing several big surprises that would be ruined if the books are read out of order. So I would encourage new readers to read A Passion Most Pure first, and then you can go on to any of the other books that you want, including A Hope Undaunted, although obviously I think it would be best to read both series in order.

Hey, I'm trying to get you some sells in you first three books too. Readers let me tell you. You won't be disappointed if you start at the beginning and read all the way through. Julie writes what is know as "long" novels (500+) pages, but don't let that get you down. You'll be begging for more at the end. Beware: It's kind of an addiction! Do you have much time to read? If so, what genre do you like to read, when you read?


I don’t really have much time to read, but I make time because reading is so important to me and my writing. Consequently, at ALL TIMES, I carry a book in my purse, keep one in the powder room during the day and then on my nightstand at night. I read in the car while my husband drives (after we’ve finished talking, of course!), in store checkout lines, at railroad crossings while I’m waiting for a train, in doctor’s offices, and even when my husband goes to the restroom when we are dining out. I never miss an opportunity to read if I can help it, and as a result, I read about four to six novels a month, if not more.

Well, I haven't bent to putting a book in my purse; however, if I go to the doctor's office I will carry one with me. When I'm driving around, I don't feel the need to have one. However, on long trips I'll read. I carry one to music lessons for the wait. What is favorite genre?

Historical romance, of course!!

Well, that is a no-brainier!!! I love clean romances (yes there is such a thing), but I pretty much drool over historical romances. What is your favorite day of the week? Why?

Are you kidding??? FRIDAYS!!!! You would think a woman who practically works 18/7 would not even know what day it is, much less if it is a weekend. But I gotta tell you, I have this built-in “celebration” radar whenever Friday rolls around, which I guess stems from all the years I worked outside the home. Rain or shine, on Fridays, I always wake up with a little extra bounce in my step and that, my friend, is why I love Fridays!

I love Saturdays. They are my do-whatever-day. Take it easy. What happens, happens and if it doesn't oh, well. No set schedule. What is your favorite food?

Steak and lobster, with turkey and dressing a close second.

I love a good melt-in-you-mouth steak and breaded shrimp, oh, yummy! I can taste it now. Before we end this interview do you have any closing thoughts to share and how can someone find you on-line?

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 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. Also, I invite your readers to visit The Seekers, a group blog devoted to encouraging and helping aspiring writers on the road to publication as I previously mentioned, so drop by at http://seekerville.blogspot.com/. Thank you, Abi, for hosting me on your blog. It’s been fun! God bless!

By the Way, nothing to do with this interview. However, I loved your Christmas greeting you sent out last year to select few. I was honored to have been in that select group. It was most unique. Thanks so much Julie for taking the time to visit with us. I enjoyed it. Readers I trust that you enjoyed this interview. Julie has graciously given me permission to offer a book giveaway to one of you readers for her newest featured book, A Hope Undaunted. So, You'll have to read on to find out how you can enter this giveaway.



With a heart for romance author Julie Lessman is back with a most powerful novel, a Hope Undaunted. WoW! She defiantly keeps her readers wanting more. Lessman is a wonderful author. She knows how to form deep characters. Her plot and settings are very well thought out and she loves the love scenes. Lessman is a romanticist in writing.


With a PASSION that's PURE and a REDEEMING LOVE yet to be DENIED, there is an UNDAUNTED HOPE that you'll find in Julie Lessman's O'Connor Saga: Daughters of Boston series and Winds of Change series.

You'll love Julie's books if you love...
  • romantic tension
  • rich deep characters
  • good clean Christian reading
  • books that draw you into the story
  • stories that you never want to end
  • long novels (some refer to them as door stops)


Now for the giveaway. One commenter will receive a copy of A Hope Undaunted.
I will draw a winner from the comments posted on Oct. 1st. Be sure to leave a way of contact. No mailing restrictions. Come on Out-of-North American region readers let me hear from you.

Please do mandatory before any extra bonus goes into effect.
Mandatory:
  • be a follower of my blog
  • leave a question or comment for Julie. Remember she loves to hear from you. Have you read any of her books? What intrigues you most about this book? Ask her a question you've always wanted to as an author. Julie says she'll keep an eye on this tour and answer any questions so come on. I know you can ask an author something.
Here's your first question Julie
What is your favorite holiday? and Why?
(I think I have an idea let's see if I'm correct.)

Extra bonus:
+1 subscribe to my blog
+1 tell me where you heard about this giveaway
+1 tell me where you live
+1 follow my Scraps of Life blog
+2 visit Julie's site here and come back and tell what you learned or liked
+3 sign up for Julie's newsletter here
+3 read one of Julie's seekerville articles and leave her a comment concerning the article. Find a listing of her articles here.
+3 add my button
+5 blog about this giveaway. leave link to post
+5 readers from out of North American region
Just for FUN:
Monday I added a new feature to my blog. If you can correctly tell me what I added to my blog I'll give you a bonus entry. Leave your guess in a comment.

myspace backgrounds images


 to winner


www.bigoo.wswww.bigoo.wswww.bigoo.wswww.bigoo.ws





A copy of this book was provided for this review from WMC.








books

62 comments:

Holly said...

Ok, my question for Julie is how do you come up with the names for your characters? I've dabbled in writing and names always fascinate me. In fact, there is a book that plot wise sounds interesting but I've been fighting reading it because I don't like the main character's name.

Now for my extras...

+1 I just subscribed to this blog
+1 I heard about it on facebook and by obsessively checking Julie's calendar
+1 I live in East Central Florida
+2 I love Julie's new Journal Jots feature
+3 I'm signed up for Julie's newsletter
+3 I loved Julie's A Kiss is Just a Kiss article. She certainly gets inside the heads of her male characters pretty well!

Holly
oceandreamerfla(at)aol(dot)com

Julie Lessman said...

BLOG ALERT!!!!

Okay, everybody who entered with comments before today, you are STILL entered even though your comments do not show here. Abi had problems with Blogger and had to set up a whole new page for the interview, so we are starting fresh here, but your prior comments DO count, okay?

SOCCRGRLMONKEY (LOVE that addy!!) asked the following questions:

I actually have two questions. The first one is: In another interview, you said that you were turned down by like 47 publishers, How did you keep up the courage to take that leap again and settle with Bethany publishers? The second one is what made you decide to do the early 1900s as your background and chose Boston as the location?

Ahem ... it was actually 45 rejections (sure don't want to make me sound worse than I am!!! :)), but rejections are rejections, especially in THAT quantity!! The only way I kept on was to PRAISE GOD through every single one and pray for His grace, which He gave in abundance ... OVER AND OVER!! I have prayer partners that pray with me whenever I'm down or need encouragement, so that helped tremendously too. And then, of course, I heeded that very wise advice from the Bible to "take one day at a time," or in the case of an aspiring author, "one rejection at a time"!!

As far as time period, I started writing A Passion Most Pure at the age of twelve after reading Gone With the Wind and 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, so I went with WWI in 1916.

As far as Boston, I have never been there, but I LOVED Boston Baked Beans candy when I was kid, as well as anything Colonial (I used to LOVE Disney’s Swamp Fox show), so I am guessing I just picked Boston because of those reasons. You can imagine my excitement when I wrote A Passion Most Pure 40 years later and learned that Boston was considered the heart of Irish America because of its large contingent of immigrants after the potato famine. Very cool!

Thanks for your question and good luck in the contest!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Okay, Blogger just said my response to SOCCRGRLMONKEY'S question was too large, so I'm cutting it in two. Here's the first part:

BLOG ALERT!!!!

Okay, everybody who entered with comments before today, you are STILL entered even though your comments do not show here. Abi had problems with Blogger and had to set up a whole new page for the interview, so we are starting fresh here, but your prior comments DO count, okay?

SOCCRGRLMONKEY (LOVE that addy!!) asked the following questions:

I actually have two questions. The first one is: In another interview, you said that you were turned down by like 47 publishers, How did you keep up the courage to take that leap again and settle with Bethany publishers? The second one is what made you decide to do the early 1900s as your background and chose Boston as the location?

Ahem ... it was actually 45 rejections (sure don't want to make me sound worse than I am!!! :)), but rejections are rejections, especially in THAT quantity!! The only way I kept on was to PRAISE GOD through every single one and pray for His grace, which He gave in abundance ... OVER AND OVER!! I have prayer partners that pray with me whenever I'm down or need encouragement, so that helped tremendously too. And then, of course, I heeded that very wise advice from the Bible to "take one day at a time," or in the case of an aspiring author, "one rejection at a time"!!

Continued in next comment ...

Julie Lessman said...

CONTINUED FROM PRIOR COMMENT:

As far as time period, I started writing A Passion Most Pure at the age of twelve after reading Gone With the Wind and 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, so I went with WWI in 1916.

As far as Boston, I have never been there, but I LOVED Boston Baked Beans candy when I was kid, as well as anything Colonial (I used to LOVE Disney’s Swamp Fox show), so I am guessing I just picked Boston because of those reasons. You can imagine my excitement when I wrote A Passion Most Pure 40 years later and learned that Boston was considered the heart of Irish America because of its large contingent of immigrants after the potato famine. Very cool!

Thanks for your question and good luck in the contest!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, HOLLY, great question!! How do I come up with names for my characters??

Mostly, I just go with what feels right. For instance, in the original manuscript I wrote at the age of 12, the heroine’s name was Faith O’Connor, just like in A Passion Most Pure (which, of course, is based on that early manuscript). Of course, I wasn’t a girl of “faith” then, so I’m not sure why I named her that, but I did. Ironically, it suits her perfectly in A Passion Most Pure because she is the consummate woman of “faith.”

Both of her parents’ names, Marcy and Patrick, were also from that early manuscript, but I renamed Faith’s rival sister, Charity, and the bad-boy hero, Collin, because there names were … are you ready?? Del, short for “Delatha,” and “Bart.” Don’t even ask me what I was thinking at the age of 12 except that I do remember liking the TV show Maverick, which featured a handsome character named Bart Maverick. I chose Charity’s name because Faith had a twin named “Hope” who died at the age of 9, and I was going for “Faith, Hope and Charity.” And Collin’s name, pure and simple, came from a listing of Irish male names. :)

The rest of the character's names just came to me out of the blue, so I went with them. :)

Thanks for coming by AGAIN, Holly, and for all of your support!

Hugs,
Julie

apple blossom said...

Thanks Julie for explaining the problem. I am sorry to anyone that has had problems with this tour. Who would have ever thunk that coping and pasting interview questions from Word would mess up blogger. ARGH!!!! What a mess. Guess we learn from our mistakes. That's one I know I won't make again. No Blonde moment for that mistake.

I want to thank Jackie for bringing it to my attention and helping me all day Monday checking to see if I had it fixed. She was a jewel.

Yes, as Julie said everyone from the old post is still in the drawing you don't have to repost.

I just closed the comment section and added a link to this post.

Now. It is 10am and I've been working on this problem for about 24 hours so I'm ready for a break. I'm heading to the shower. Have some housework to catch up on and I'll post your questions and comments soon as I can. I check email often.

Right now the SHOWER if calling me and so is laundry and grading school work.

Have a wonderful day to you wonderful readers.

Tracy said...

I have read the first three books and purchased them from Lifeway. Wanted to ask have you wrote anything else or who is your favorite writer that I may also enjoy?

Emma said...

a follower of YOUR blog
My question for Julie is how LONG DID IT TAKE To write this book?Extra bonus:

+1 subscribe to YOUR blog I subscribe

+1 tell me where you heard about this giveaway FROM MY EMAIL I RECEIVE

+1 tell me where you live PA

+2 visit Julie's site here and come back and tell what you learned or I liked Journal Jots feature.


+3 sign up for Julie's newsletter I am signed up.

Please enter me in the giveaway.
augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.

apple blossom said...

Now, I'm trying to play catch up and read what everyone said. WoW. Thanks for posting Elizabeth, NZ it is always cool to see where everyone reads from.

Oh, Julie, I'm so glad your vocabulary has changed. Isn't is amazing what God can do even in the small things.

Julie, I like the names Charity and Collin better than the original names.

This is neat. Keep asking questions.

Happy day everyone.

Julie Lessman said...

TRACY ... Thank you SO much for reading my books AND for purchasing them from Lifeway ... I LOVE Lifeway!! Unfortunately, I only have four books written thus far (actually five, including A Heart Revealed, but that doesn't come out till Sept. 2011!!) since A Passion Most Pure was the very first thing I ever wrote (other than the poems mentioned in this interview, which were published when I was 16).

BUT ... the good news, Tracy, is that it sounds like you still have A Hope Undaunted to read yet, my newest release, so if you don't win here, I have tons of other blog giveaways listed on my website calendar.

Authors who write in the edgier style that I do are MaryLu Tyndall (LOVE her!!) and Michelle Sutton,a good friend who is even edgier than me, if you can believe that! Then for more saga-style romance, try Laura Frantz (LOVE her too!) and, of course, my mainstays, Francine Rivers and Liz Curtis Higg are always wonderful reads. For humor and fun and great romance, Mary Connealy is wonderful and just beat me out of a Carol Award last weekend in the Long Historical Romance category, the little brat. Actually, Mary was LONG overdue because she finaled five times last year (yes, that's how good she is!) but didn't win till now, so I am thrilled for her.

Thanks for the great question, Tracy and good luck in the contest.

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, EMMA, thanks for coming by! And it took me about nine months to write A Hope Undaunted, but I actually wrote A Passion Redeemed in TWO MONTHS, and that was with working part-time at a day job, so I cranked on that one (which is no wonder since it is my favorite of the DOB series). A Passion Most Pure took me about 8 months and A Passion Denied took me about 9 months too.

Good luck in the contest, sweetie! Maybe we can get AHU in your hot, little hands. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

ABI ... uh, I'm glad my vocabulary has changed too, but I will tell you one thing. My vocabulary was SO bad back then that to this day when I say the phrase "you better believe it," I say it very slowly because before Christ, I always said that phrase with a swear word in it! :/

And, OH YES, Collin and Charity are WAY better!! What WAS I thinking!!!

Hugs,
Julie

Carolyn said...

Hi Julie,
I love the cover of your book, she looks both saucy and saavy at the same time! The teaser is great and the plot is just what I love, romance with a twist! Cannot wait to read it and if there is a giveaway I would love to be in on it. Either way I am looking forward to reading this book!
Good luck with everything!
Carolyn Wolfe
wolfecarolyn@yahoo.com

Julie Lessman said...

CAROLYN ... thank you so much, and if you like romance with a "twist," then, girl--I'm your gal! Here's to a win, and if you don't snatch it here, you might want to check out my website calendar for lots more blog/giveaway opportunities. Good luck!

Hugs,
Julie

Charlotte said...

Julie, Julie, Julie
How can you make the following statement:
"I didn't have the audacity to try another Civil War epic"?
Oh, Julie, YOU MUST!
YOU are the PERFECT author since you love that time period! You MUST write a family epic taking place in the state of Virginia which was split during the war. Imagine the twists in a series of families and lovers torn due to geological location and allegiance to our nation! YOU could surpass Margaret Mitchell! Plus, a Christ-centered read during this period would be amazing! Please, please, please will you consider writing such an epic? PRAY about it, and see what God thinks. Will you?
God bless,
Charlotte


+1 I just subscribed to this blog
+1 I heard about it on facebook
+1 I live in Ohio
+2 I love Julie's new Journal Jots feature!
+3 I'm signed up for Julie's newsletter
+3 I loved "A Kiss is Just a Kiss" article because a kiss is more than just a kiss; it's chocolate to a woman's soul, and writing from the male's perspective tells us females what they are thinking! We only know what we are thinking, so it's WONDERFUL to get their perspective!

Charlotte said...

Oops I forgot to leave my email.

Charlotte

charsaltz (at) yahoo (dot) com

Julie Lessman said...

CHARLOTTE SAID:
"You MUST write a family epic taking place in the state of Virginia which was split during the war. YOU could surpass Margaret Mitchell!"

Uh, Charlotte, are you on cold medicine right now??? Surpass MM???? Come on, girl, this is Julie here, salt of the earth, bottom-liner, a dreamer, yes, but not with my head in the clouds!! :) But seriously, THANK YOU for your VERY kind encouragement, my friend, because YES, I do think a "Christ-centered" read during the Civil War would be AWESOME. In fact, I believe Tamara Alexander's news series will be set during the Civil War, so you will want to check into that for sure! And YES, I will pray about it, I promise, even though it may feel sacriligous for me to follow in MM's footsteps ... :)

Hugs,
Julie

Molly said...

My question for Julie:

What is your research like? Do you travel to the places you write about?

Thanks for this chance, Abi!

Blessings,
Molly
Mollydedwards AT yahoo DOT com

My Extra Entries:
+1 I subscribe and follow your blog.

+1 I heard about this giveaway through your blog and Julie's website

+1 I live in the US in North Carolina

+1 I follow Scraps of Life

+2 I loved Julie's FROM THE HEART section on her blog. It really was a touching article!

+3 I signed up for Julie's Newsletter.

+3 I commented on Julie's most recent Seekerville article.

+3 I have both your SCRAPS OF LIFE and 4 THE LOVE OF BOOKS buttons

Just for FUN:

You added the new icon above your postings with the upcoming tours for 4 the Love of Books =)...I think =)

OutnumberedMama said...

I am a GFC Follower -
My Question is: What's the Back Story on the Big Story? (Specifically about this title)
polsen11atcomcastdotnet

Inspired Kathy said...

My question - What is the strangest gift you have ever received?

+1 subscribe to my blog

+1 tell me where you heard about this giveaway - a link posted on my blog's got great giveaways

+1 tell me where you live - Utah

Wanda said...

I am a follower through Google Friend Connect.

Julie ... Your daughter sounds like an interesting person. How nice that you would base a character around her personality.

I'd love to be entered in this draw. Thanks.

+1 - I subscribe through the Google Reader RSS Feed and via email

+1 - I heard about this giveaway from a friend (word of mouth)

+1 - I live in Manitoba, Canads

+1 - I follow the Scraps of Life blog through Google Friend Connect

+2 - On Julie's site I learned that she is the recipient of 13 Romance Writers of America awards

+3 - I signed up for Julie's newsletter

+3 - read one of Julie's seekerville articles (THE PERFECT PICKUP LINE ... Or How to Hook a Reader) and left her a comment concerning the article

wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, MOLLY, you are making the rounds, girl, which is a good way to win a signed book!! Thanks for coming by.

What is my research like??? Ouch ... I'm not the best researcher in the biz, that's for sure, but I have gotten LOTS better since I did some pretty stupid things early on. Like having chocolate chip cookies in a scene in 1916 when chocolate chips weren't invented till the 30s!! DUH!!

The worst blunder I ever made, though, was on A Passion Most Pure, and it was so bad that I have learned to be very careful about research, which I do mostly on the Internet.

Now I know you haven't read APMP yet, but an integral part of the plot is that part of the family travels from Boston to Dublin, Ireland during WWI. Now this was a huge mistake, caught by my editor’s husband, ironically who happened to be -— what are the odds? -- an Irish historian! He innocently pointed out to his wife (my editor) that the O’Connor’s traveling on a ship to Ireland during World War I would not have been feasible because passenger ships at that time were commandeered for war. Not to mention the annoying fact that German U-boat warfare made it too dangerous for ship travel. Sigh.

I was devastated because that meant I had to come up with a whole new scenario, so I cried and prayed my heart out. And then, lo and behold, I discovered (through more intense research) that there were freighter convoys that had a much lower incident of being targeted by German U-boats, greatly minimizing the danger. So I just gave Patrick O'Connor a cousin who owned a freighting company and gave Marcy a breakdown over her grandmother dying in Dublin, and VOILA ... Marcy and her children got to Dublin unscathed.

If you are interested in learning more about research, I did write an article about it for Christian Fiction Online Magazine in the archives under May 2009. Here's the home link: http://www.christianfictiononlinemagazine.com/

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, MOLLY, you are making the rounds, girl, which is a good way to win a signed book!! Thanks for coming by.

What is my research like??? Ouch ... I'm not the best researcher in the biz, that's for sure, but I have gotten LOTS better since I did some pretty stupid things early on. Like having chocolate chip cookies in a scene in 1916 when chocolate chips weren't invented till the 30s!! DUH!!

The worst blunder I ever made, though, was on A Passion Most Pure, and it was so bad that I have learned to be very careful about research, which I do mostly on the Internet.

Now I know you haven't read APMP yet, but an integral part of the plot is that part of the family travels from Boston to Dublin, Ireland during WWI. Now this was a huge mistake, caught by my editor’s husband, ironically who happened to be -— what are the odds? -- an Irish historian! He innocently pointed out to his wife (my editor) that the O’Connor’s traveling on a ship to Ireland during World War I would not have been feasible because passenger ships at that time were commandeered for war. Not to mention the annoying fact that German U-boat warfare made it too dangerous for ship travel. Sigh.

I was devastated because that meant I had to come up with a whole new scenario, so I cried and prayed my heart out. And then, lo and behold, I discovered (through more intense research) that there were freighter convoys that had a much lower incident of being targeted by German U-boats, greatly minimizing the danger. So I just gave Patrick O'Connor a cousin who owned a freighting company and gave Marcy a breakdown over her grandmother dying in Dublin, and VOILA ... Marcy and her children got to Dublin unscathed. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, OUTNUMBEREDMAMA ... I'm guessing that addy means you're the only gal in a house full of boys??? :)

"What's the back story on the Big Story on A Hope Undaunted?

Well, in book 3 of The Daughters of Boston trilogy, I introduced a 14-year-old street orphan by the name of Cluny McGee who was only intended to be a walk-on character appearing in a couple of lines of one scene. But this endearing “street brat” with the puny body and bravado air won my heart so quickly, that I made him a major subordinate character who quickly becomes the bane of Katie O’Connor’s existence. When I began writing A Hope Undaunted, it just seemed a natural progression for a sassy and grownup Katie O’Connor to once again butt heads with this “pest from her past.”

Thanks for your question, and good luck in the contest.

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

INSPIRED KATHY ASKS:
What is the strangest gift you have ever received?

Good question, KATHY, and the answer is actually something that is a testament to my anality!! :)

You see, I am VERY particular about my pancakes -- I like them small and perfectly round and very, VERY light, and my family knows this very well. One weekend my husband and I went camping with some good friends who made us pancakes for breakfast. I only wanted the ones that were really light and small, so my friends made fun of me.

Next time I saw them, they gave me a present. "What's this for?" I asked. "Just because you're you," they responded (or something like that). So I opened it up and lo and behold, they had made and framed an absolutely PERFECT small, round, almost white pancake centered on a beautiful mat. Trust me, I never complained about pancakes ... or anything else anybody made ... ever again! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

WANDA ... thanks for coming by, and yes, my daughter is a very interesting person who just tonight talked about all these lists she'd made (Katie O'Connor is a list-keeper too), and I couldn't help but smile.

And you left a comment on my Seeker blog?? Well, I will just have to go over there and see it, wont' I??

Good luck in the contest, Wanda.

Hugs,
Julie

barbjan10 said...

Thank you Abi and Julie, this is my favorite interview that Julie has done. I can actually see her Christian resemblance to Faith in her first novel. I'm so anxious to read "Hope Undaunted." Thanks for this giveaway and the chances to win. I sure hope I do!

+1 I am a follower of this blog.
+1 I heard of this giveaway from Julie's newsletter calendar.
+1 I live in Arlington, TX
+1 I follow Scraps of Life.
+2 I enjoy Julies Jots
+3 I am subsscribed to Julies NL
+1 You added the "Ask an Author"
feature?

I dearly enjoyed Julies Poems in her interview.

Sharing the Faith,
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

apple blossom said...

Thanks Barb for visiting and entering the drawing. Do you have a question you'd like to ask Julie? Please post one.

Lady DragonKeeper said...

OMG, how could I have missed this? Oh wait . . . I know. Apple Blossom, does the mandatory "be a follower of my blog" count e-mail subscriptions? 'Cause I don't think my parents would let me get a google account just for this . . . please delete my entries if they won't be able to count! Thank you (and thanks for the great interview with Mrs. Lessman)!

My question for Mrs. Lessman is . . . what's your favorite part about being an author?

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Subscribed to your blog via e-mail.

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

Lady DragonKeeper said...

I heard about this giveaway on Mrs. Lessman's site, I'm sure, but I was reminded of it from Carman's blog.

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Well, since my e-mail address has it . . . I live in Hawaii. =)

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

Lady DragonKeeper said...

I love that Mrs. Lessman has a list of her book giveaways in the calendar section of her site. =)

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

= entry 1 of 2

Lady DragonKeeper said...

I love that Mrs. Lessman has a list of her book giveaways in the calendar section of her site. =)

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

= entry 2 of 2

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Already signed up for Mrs. Lessman's newsletter.

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

= entry 1 of 3

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Already signed up for Mrs. Lessman's newsletter.

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

= entry 2 of 3

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Already signed up for Mrs. Lessman's newsletter.

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

= entry 3 of 3

Lady DragonKeeper said...

As I said earlier, I'm from Hawaii, so . . . that sort of counts as "out of the North American region" right? (We're still apart of the US, LOL).

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

= entry 1 of 5

Lady DragonKeeper said...

As I said earlier, I'm from Hawaii, so . . . that sort of counts as "out of the North American region" right? (We're still apart of the US, LOL).

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

= entry 2 of 5

Lady DragonKeeper said...

As I said earlier, I'm from Hawaii, so . . . that sort of counts as "out of the North American region" right? (We're still apart of the US, LOL).

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

= entry 3 of 5

Lady DragonKeeper said...

As I said earlier, I'm from Hawaii, so . . . that sort of counts as "out of the North American region" right? (We're still apart of the US, LOL).

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

= entry 4 of 5

Lady DragonKeeper said...

As I said earlier, I'm from Hawaii, so . . . that sort of counts as "out of the North American region" right? (We're still apart of the US, LOL).

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

= entry 5 of 5

Just realized it doesn't specify to leave all entries separate or not . . . sorry about that!

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Blogged here: http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F7F2JQY2VUAF24L6CGNSDUBR4M/blog/articles/202440?listPage=index&bb=0

= entry 1 of 5

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Blogged here: http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F7F2JQY2VUAF24L6CGNSDUBR4M/blog/articles/202440?listPage=index&bb=0

= entry 2 of 5

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Blogged here: http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F7F2JQY2VUAF24L6CGNSDUBR4M/blog/articles/202440?listPage=index&bb=0

= entry 3 of 5

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Blogged here: http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F7F2JQY2VUAF24L6CGNSDUBR4M/blog/articles/202440?listPage=index&bb=0

= entry 4 of 5

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Blogged here: http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F7F2JQY2VUAF24L6CGNSDUBR4M/blog/articles/202440?listPage=index&bb=0

= entry 5 of 5

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

Julie Lessman said...

BARB!!! We gotta get you this book, girlfriend, because I want you to have it BAD!! And would you believe that I now have THREE people who have won at least two to three books from me in the last couple of months, so it can be done, and these blog giveaways are the best way to do it.

Thanks for your diligence, and here's to a win!

Hugs,
Julie

apple blossom said...

WoW! Lady Dragon Keeper is one determined girl. Thanks for commenting.

apple blossom said...

WoW! Lady Dragon Keeper is one determined girl. Thanks for commenting.

apple blossom said...

I think blogger is stuttering. I posted that only once. There are many other doubles. And I don't know why?????

cynthia said...

Thanks for the interview. So since you're one that does not do planning before you write your books, do you ever find yourself rereading what you wrote and then think there are other ways that you could have let the story lead you? Sometimes when I've written without a plan I second guess where the story could have gone or don't like what I wrote.
+1 subscriber to blog
+1 heard of giveaway on Julie's website
+1 live in S.F. Bay Area
+1 I like the from the heart section on Julie's website--thank you for your sharing about healing and the related scripture
+3 I read the Divine Connection seekerville article. It's so true that God will put the right people and circumstances in our lives according to His timing.
cynthiakchow (at) earthlink (dot) net

Julie Lessman said...

CYNTHIA ASKED: Do you ever find yourself rereading what you wrote and then think there are other ways that you could have let the story lead you?

Almost never, CYNTHIA. The reason is probably due to my extreme anality -- I literally cannot go forward in the story unless I feel good about the last scene I wrote, so I will work a scene over and over till I get it exactly as I want it, and until I am excited about it, and at that point, I usually love it and never want to change it.

The only time I can remember wishing I had done something differently is with Marcy's age, because in the last book (Steven's story), I'm thinking of making some of the girls pregnant, and I just thought it would be cool to have Marcy pregnant too. BUT, in 1932 when Steven's story ends, Marcy will be 54, so I think that's stretching it a wee bit. But I know a number of 50-year-olds who have come up pregnant, so if I could have just made her a little younger, I could have done that, but my time frame would not allow it.

Good question, Cynthia -- thanks for asking.

Hugs,
Julie

barbjan10 said...

Thanks Abi for reminding me to ask Julie a question. Oh, goodness me, I do have so many that I'd love to have a personal conversation with her because I think we'd both crack up with laughter, and I know I'd learn a lot.

Julie, Is there a specific scripture or story from the Bible that has led you to a story idea and if so, have you written about it yet? Have you based your characters on any Biblical personalities brought up to the era you are writing? Did you base your writing style on a specific learned research, or are you strictly a freestyle writer expressing your own mind in your writings?

Sorry, that last one is not a good one, but are you an educated writer with a background in college taught writing techniques or just write through your natural talented creativity?

Well, there you have it? Not really the questions I would ask you if we were chatting over the dining room table with a gooey chocolate moist tongue tantalizing goodie and close chit chat, but I'd like to know what you think anyway.

Hugs of luv,
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, BARB, welcome back!!! And, YES, there was a particular Scripture that although it didn't "lead" me to the story idea for A Passion Most Pure, it certainly embodies the heart and soul of the novel. That Scripture is Ecclesiastes 2:26, which, incidentally, was the original title of this manuscript and is the Scripture at the front of the book. It says:

To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

For me, “wind” is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Throughout the book, Faith is "chasing after the wind," that is, the Holy Spirit or God's leading in her life. Collin, too, is "chasing after the wind," but in his case, it is the wind of futility, chasing after his will (sin) rather than God's, which according to Solomon, is "meaningless" and nothing more than “a chasing after the wind.”

No, I did not base any of my characters on any "Biblical personalities brought up to the era" -- they are straight out of this hyper mind of mine.

I am what you call a "seat-of-the-pants writer, which means I don't plan anything out, I simply come up with a first line and BOOM!! It takes me where it wants me to go, as opposed to a "plotter," who charts and plans everything out before they even begin the story.

As far as my education, there wasn't much. I only completed one year of college before quitting to get a job because I didn’t get along with my father (and my mother was deceased), so I wanted out of the house BAD!! But I knew I had some writing ability because I won speech contests in high school, was published in the National Anthology of High School Poetry, was an editor of the high school yearbook and newspaper, and won poetry contests in the one year of college I did attend.

In my early 20s, I did take an advanced creative writing course at Washington University and then a fiction-writing course much later in life. Surprisingly enough, I ended up with a travel writer job for many years that today would require a degree. So to answer your question, I pretty much write through instinct and feeling rather than being trained as a writer.

Thanks, Barb, for some great questions!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

ABI!!! Meant to tell you that I LOVE the new look for your blog -- it's beautiful!! Especially the heart in motion where you zoom up the upcoming tours -- AWESOME!!

Hugs,
Julie

apple blossom said...

Thanks Julie. I have fun doing my blog and rearranging it at different times for the season or cause.

Ann Lee Miller said...

I've read all Julie's books. I loved Katie's strong personality in A Hope Undaunted, but Faith's story in A Passion Most Pure is my favorite.

+1 I just became a follower
+1 I heard about your blog on ACFW Book Club.
+1 I live in Phoenix.
+1 My favorite thing on Julie's website is her current Kindle contest. :)
+1 I'm signed up for Julie's newsletter.
+1 I love, love, loved her kissing article on Seekerville.

Ann_Lee_Miller@msn.com

misskallie2000 said...

I fell in love with A Hope Undaunted after reading the first review. I have been following you on your blog journey.
Had you not become an author, what would you be doing now?
I love your Cat poem since I do have 4 in my home at this time.

+1 subscriber

+1 ACFW newsltr

+1 Live Georgia/USA

+1 Follow Scraps of Life

+2 Julie said the “Song of Solomon” in the Bible told me that God was the biggest romantic of them all". I had not thought about it but she is correct.

+3 Signed up for Julie's Newsletter

+3 I read Seekerville blog and ck'd to see if left comment and I had not. Left comment today but forgot which post. Oh well, blame it on old timers..lol

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Julie Lessman said...

ANN!!! You're back!! :) And you're not alone in favoring APMP the most -- I think most people do because Faith is such a strong character and it is my first book and a bit different than most of the romances out there in that it's a family saga and a ... ahem ... very passionate one! But I am looking to the day that I can walk into a Borders or LifeWay and buy your book, my friend, so keep at it!

MISS KALLIE ... I take it you haven't read it yet, which means we HAVE to get it in your hands, kiddo, pronto!! So if you don't win here, please check out my website calendar for additional giveaways, okay? Your chances are good -- just ask Ann above -- she won either 2 or 3 times. Lost count!! :)

And what would I be doing now if I wasn't an author? Well, my old job, I suppose, which was a Travel Writer at Maritz Travel, part-time, of course. And my house, my garden and my life would be a lot neater and kept up, I assure you! :) Good luck in the contest, sweetie.

Hugs,
Julie

tracysbooknook.com said...

Great review!

I also enjoyed A Hope Undaunted and am a big fan of Julie Lessman.

I found the characters to be fairly three dimensional and enjoyed the interaction between the two main characters, Katie and Luke - although at times I was surprised by Katie’s sudden abrupt turns. The O’Connor family is true to form in their larger-than-life sort of Irish personalities and entertaining as always.

I posted a more in-depth review of my own at www.tracysbooknook.com.


-Tracy

tracysbooknook.com said...

Oops!

When I said a "more in-depth review" I meant more in-depth compared to the short comment I had made.

Sorry if that was unclear.

-Tracy