An Interview with Julie Lessman

Julie Lessman is an 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 visit Julie at her Web site at http://www.julielessman.com.

Okay, I must admit it before we go any further…I am a big fan of Julie Lessman, umm that might be a slight understatment. I got to know her a little through email after the release of her first book, A Passion Most Pure. She is gracious and oh so very sweet. So when it came time for the blog tours of A Passion Redeemed, her second book in The Daughter’s of Boston series, I knew I wanted to interview her. She graciously accepted to do an interview for me, even though she is quite the busy bee! So let’s get to know a little more about Julie Lessman and her book A Passion Redeemed.

–What was your inspiration for A Passion Redeemed?

Actually, the inspiration for this second novel in the series came from the first book, A Passion Most Pure, because the plot for A Passion Redeemed just seemed a natural conclusion to Charity’s actions in book 1. And since I am basically a seat-of-the-pants writer, I literally followed the trail that Charity’s personality laid out for me, expanding the plot as I went along. Kind of like Hansel and Gretel following a trail of breadcrumbs—very symbolic if you have read book 2, A Passion Redeemed—to find my way home. J

–The main theme of redemption shines throughout A Passion Redeemed in several different ways. What do you want you reader to take away (learn) from that theme?

The #1 message I would like readers to take away is that no matter how far we stray from the hand of God, NOTHING can separate us from His love … “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Romans 8:38-39. Charity experiences this redeeming truth head-on, and in the throes of the greatest tragedy of her life, she is reborn through the healing power of God’s love.

–What are you favorite (and not so favorite) things about Charity? Do we see any of you in your characters?

My favorite thing about Charity is her relentless pursuit of love, even though the means of that pursuit is not admirable. She reminds me so much of one of my favorite fictional characters—Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind—which is no surprise because I started writing this story at the age of twelve after reading Gone With the Wind! Of course, I didn’t finish it until I wrote A Passion most Pure forty years later, but the influence of Scarlett O’Hara in Charity O’Connor is there all the same.

I also love Charity’s resilience which, like Scarlett’s, is as tough as tempered steel through all the adversity in her life. Neither woman—Charity or Scarlett—is a shrinking violet, which is so appealing to me—and to the men in their lives! My least favorite thing about Charity would be her propensity to hold on to bitterness, a trait that I firmly believe shoots a lot of Christians down in flames. Charity learns this firsthand and is finally purified by the fire that will bring her back to the hand of God.

Do I see any of my own character traits in my characters??? Uh … tons. J You see, I write by feeling, so there are plenty of my feelings in these books—such as Charity’s seductive nature, something that she and I had in common before I became a Christian. And the quirky, manipulative things she would do, like putting breadcrumbs in her eyes to make herself cry on demand. And even her propensity to throw up at the drop of a hat—this was something I used to wish I could do as a child so I could stay home from school. Also, Faith’s character in the book as the sister who always resorts to prayer first—that is a habit of mine as well. And as far as Mitch’s tendency to groan when God tells him to forgive or pray (“That’s your pat answer to everything, isn’t it?” he groused)—well, that’s vintage Julie Lessman, I’m afraid! J

–The O’Connor family has a strikingly real family dynamic and you spend a great deal of time developing each of the characters in the family, how much of their dynamics comes from personal experience and why was it important for us as a reader to get to know this family?

Oh, great question, Christy! The “strikingly real family dynamic” you see in the O’Connors is pretty much lifted from my own life—both as a child in a dysfunctional family of 13 kids and as a woman healed by the blood of Christ and now blessed with an incredible family of my own.

And, yes, I do spend a great deal of time developing the family characters because I really wanted these novels to be more of a family saga romance rather than just straight romance. Why? Well, for one, as a baby boomer, I got tired of the young pups getting all the romance action! J My husband and I are more in love and act more like teenagers today than ever before in our lives, so I wanted to portray that in my books. And because I truly believe that with God in the middle of a good marriage, that kind of romantic relationship is real and available for women of any age.

I also wanted readers to fall in love with this family because I believe readers who are captured by characters will also absorb more spiritual truths from those characters, which is the primary goal of my books.

And finally, I wanted readers to get to know each O’Connor because, well, I hope to write a book about each sibling in this family. J Currently I am putting together another 3-book proposal for my publisher that will finish off the saga of the O’Connors. Book 1 will be the story of the youngest daughter, Katie, which will be 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. Steven will be a tall, brooding G-man-type modeled after Eliot 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 the reader away!


–What book(s) are on your nightstand?

I just finished An Irishwoman’s Tale by Patti Lacy, which is a wonderfully haunting woman’s fiction, and next up is Reforming the Potter’s Clay by Donald James Parker. And then … ahem … A Passion Redeemed, which I have been waiting for my husband to finish so that I can have my turn. Because, YES, I do read like to read my own books when they come out … from the vantage point of a normal reader, of course! J

Thanks, Christy, for allowing me this time to connect with you and your readership.

Anyone who would like to contact me can do so through my Web site 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. 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/. God bless!

Now for some fun news…I am giving away a copy of the first two books in The Daughter’s of Boston Series, A Passion Most Pure and A Passion Redeemed. All you have to do is leave a comment on any A Passion Redeemed post on my blog during this week.

Join me tomorrow as I share my thoughts about A Passion Redeemed.

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7 Responses to “An Interview with Julie Lessman”


  1. 1 Alycia September 8, 2008 at 11:05 am

    That’s cool that you try and read your books from a normal reader’s point of view, Ms. Lessman. Can’t wait until the rest of the interview is up.

  2. 2 Amy @ My Friend Amy September 8, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Great interview! We love Julie! ;)

  3. 3 Allison September 8, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    This is a great interview. All kinds of interesting things!

  4. 4 Danelle September 8, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Please enter me into your drawing. I would love to win both books! Thank you!

  5. 5 Deborah September 8, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Great interview! I enjoyed reading it. I can’t wait to read your books!

  6. 6 Deb Burton September 8, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    I really enjoyed your interview It’s neat to see inside the author’s mind and how she developed certain characters and where she wants to go with it next. Would love to get her books and watch her imagination come to life!

    Deb
    greatestmissiontrip.blogspot.com

  7. 7 Julie Lessman September 9, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Hey Alycia, thanks for stopping by, and yeah, I put so much of my emotions and feelings into my books that when I read them (like I am doing now on vacation), I cry like a baby at the spiritual/tender parts. Unfortunately my husband and his wisecracker cousin make fun of me. :)

    AMY, you sweetheart, you — thank you!!! I love you too, kiddo!

    Allison, Danelle and Deborah — thanks for your comments and taking the time to drop in.

    And, Deb, I’ve always had an imagination like a runaway train, I’m afraid, so there’s lots of wild stories coming in book 3, A Passion Denied, AND in the next 3-book series I’ve just proposed to my editor. Thanks for your comment!

    Hugs,
    Julie


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