Welcome to Writing for Christ Julie Lessman, it is great to have you here! So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?
Four life-altering words: Gone With the Wind. When I read that novel at the age of twelve, I was swept away into the world of romance for the very first time, capturing me like no other book had ever done. 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, but I did write 150 pages of a story that became the basis (some forty years later!) for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure.
What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?
Oh, now here’s a surprise—Gone With the Wind! From the moment Scarlett seared Rhett with a look on the winding staircase of Twelve Oaks, I was hooked, and my “romance-writing career” began! Clearly for me, GWTW is the greatest historical novel I’ve ever read, not only for the rich and sweeping Civil War tapestry that Margaret Mitchell created, but for the wonderful impact it had on me as well.
If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?
I would look myself in the eye (in a mirror, obviously) and point a definitive finger, making sure I understood—really and truly understood—that what I was about to say was something critical for every Christian author to know. And that is—our peace, joy, and confidence MUST come from God, not from our career. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way!
Oh, how I wish I had known what an emotional roller-coaster it was going to be AFTER I got published. Like a lot of unpublished writers, I thought all the anxiety and self-doubt would dissipate after I signed on the dotted line. I mean that would validate me, wouldn’t it? Give me confidence as a writer? But I discovered that true confidence is not in accolades from your editor or a really good review, but instead in where your heart is with God. HE is my confidence when my sales rankings on Amazon.com are high or low, which is why 2 Corinthians ll:3 is a bedrock Scripture prayer for me as an author: Please, Lord—do not let my mind “be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
5 preference questions:
Homemade or take-out?
BC (before career as a writer), definitely homemade. AC? Take-out!
Email or snailmail?
HA! I think most people today would say “email,” don’t you? Goodness, does anybody write letters anymore?
Online shopping or Black Friday deals?
For others, online shopping—for as much as I can possibly get away with. For myself? Store shopping on the least busiest days!
Books or movies?
Oh, books, books, books!! Except on weekends, of course, then movies, movies, movies, because I can snuggle with Keith.
Note-taker or memorization?
Are you kidding—with my memory??? Note-taker!
Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?
I actually have two, one for each of the O’Connor saga series. For The Daughters of Boston series, it’s book 2, A Passion Redeemed, because it was the most fun to write of any book I’ve ever written. I actually wrote it (almost 500 pages) in two months, and that was working part-time at my day job! It just seemed to flow from me, I guess because Charity is so much like I used to be before Christ that it felt natural to be writing her story. I had to laugh at my husband while he was reading A Passion Redeemed because he couldn’t stand Charity. Poor guy, I didn’t have the heart to tell him he’s been married to her (without the incredible physical beauty) for over 35 years! J
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE A Passion Most Pure because it was both my debut novel and my love letter to God. And, of course, the heroine Faith O’Connor is very special to me because she is my spiritual self, so to speak—a woman heavily dependant on God and emotionally involved with Him, who prays at the drop of a hat. But Charity—goodness, my heart goes out to her and the woman I used to be—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. And quite frankly, I think she is just downright funny and quirky and such a hoot that she makes me laugh—especially in the 2nd series, Winds of Change.
My favorite book in the Winds of Change series? Oh my, that would be A Hope Undaunted, my tip-top favorite book of all those I’ve written. Not only do I love, love, LOVE all the head-butting between the hero and heroine Luke McGee and Katie O’Connor, but this book is so well rounded with everything I love. Not only do you have an explosive love story between the hero and heroine, but several dramatic subplots, a family trauma that unites the entire family, incredible history during the Roaring 20s and Great Depression, and a story where three types of love come together with a powerful message—romantic love, brotherly love and Agape love. And then, of course, there’s always Luke McGee … hubba, hubba! J
Places for readers to learn more about you or contact you?
Well, I love to hear from reader friends, so if they like, they can contact me through my website at http://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/. Or through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest.
Also, I have a cool blog feature on my website called “Journal Jots” at
http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots1/, which is a very laid-back weekly journal to my reader friends that will give your readers an idea as to my relaxed style of writing.
Or readers can check out my favorite romantic and spiritual scenes from each of my books on the “Excerpts” tab of my website at http://www.julielessman.com/excerpts/.
Of course, I can be found daily at The Seekers blog at http://seekerville.blogspot.com/, a group blog of 13 published authors that inspires, encourages, teaches, and informs aspiring writers on the road to publication and beyond.
Finally, here are some fun freebies, sales, and giveaways going on right now or in the future:
1.) FREE DOWNLOAD of my debut novel A Passion Most Pure! American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Book of the Year, A Passion Most Pure has 341 five-star reviews on Amazon and some of readers have actually read it more than 20 times! Here are the links for your free download! AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, CBD.COM
2.) SALE TO END SOON ON 99-CENT A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW! I hope you’ll check out my video for my Irish love story, A Light in the Window, which stars my daughter and has won three awards and garnered 125 five-star reviews. It’s still only 99 CENTS on Amazon, but only for a little while longer, so check out the video here, http://bit.ly/1kkzvlC, and you can download it here: AMAZON.
3.) FREE DOWNLOAD on Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Inspirational and Sweet Markets coming FEBRUARY 11-15 on Amazon, so mark your calendar and here’s the link to find out more about the book: Romance-ology 101.
4.) NEW CONTEST TO HAVE A CHARACTER NAMED AFTER YOU IN MY NEXT BOOK! I have a newsletter contest going on now through 3/31/14 where posting even one short review for any of my books will enter you to win a character named after you in my next book, a signed copy, and if you are the top poster, a $50 gift card. So if you're interested, just sign up for my newsletter (I send out two a year) at http://www.julielessman.com/sign-up-for-newsletter/, and I will send you the info, okay?
Thanks, Casey, for a fun interview!
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