Welcome! Find a spot to sit and quiet down, because today we have a very special guest. Make sure you read all the way to the end for information about a free download of Julie’s favorite book, lots of sales, and a giveaway!
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion with a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. A lover of all things Irish, she enjoy writing close-knit Irish family sagas that evolve into 3D love stories: the hero, the heroine, and the God who brings them together.
The author of the Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, and Heart of San Francisco series with Revell Publishing, Julie was named American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year. Her books have won multiple awards and consistently delight her readers.
(Find my review of Julie’s Isle of Hope here.)
Hi Julie! Welcome to Scribbles & Somedays.
You’ve written the stories of two families so far – the O’Connors and the McClares – and you’ve started on a third family, the O’Bryens. What draws you to write family sagas?
Well, blame it on the fact I was a wounded little girl from a dysfunctional family of thirteen kids, longing for a healing family of my own, but I don’t want to write a typical romance. I want to write inspirational family sagas and romance because love and life are so much more than just a simple love story. I want to read – and write – multilayered family sagas that explore the drama and joy of family. Novels that portray a tender and romantic relationship between a mother and father and lots of charged sibling rivalry, as well as a rollercoaster romance between the hero and heroine. Not perfect, not plastic, but real and loving, with plenty of failings to underscore just how much we need the grace of God in our lives.
I especially enjoy incorporating the love affair between the mother and father of the family because that is so critically important in today’s society and so overlooked. You should never stop having a love affair with your spouse – it’s the greatest thing a mother and father can give to their children – a tender and passionate love between each other. Frankly, when couples are raising kids, the romance tends to suffer a lot in a marriage, so when the kids flew the coop, it was like my husband and I could really focus on each other. And I can tell you right now that not only is my marriage better than it’s ever been, but I am one of those blessed women who feels as if I am living my own personal romance novel.
Gone with the Wind spurred your first foray into authorship when you were young. Have any authors or books sparked ideas more recently?
There is one author who actually spurred me into a completely new direction that I never anticipated, and that was Ruth Logan Herne, a fellow Seeker author who is writing a Western trilogy for Waterbrook. One day, Ruthy mentioned the TV show Ponderosa (which aired in the 60s and 70s) and instantly, I was taken back to one of my favorite TV shows as a kid. In the blink of an eye, I suddenly saw a series set in Virginia City, Nevada, where Bonanza took place, set on a Ponderosa-style ranch. Thus was born a future Western trilogy I hope to write entitled Silver Lining Ranch series set during the era of the Comstock Lode silver strike and the transcontinental railroad in late 1800s Nevada.
In fact, I am releasing a novella entitled For Love of Liberty soon as part of the Seeker spring historical collection that will be the basis for the trilogy, so those that want to stay in the loop on that can subscribe to my Journal Jots blog.
What books are currently in your TBR pile?
You’ve been hinting about a sequel to Isle of Hope. Any updates you can share with us?
YES, the next book I plan to write is book 2 in the Isle of Hope series, Everlasting Love, which will be Shannon O’Bryen’s story. Shannon is the shy sister of the hero [Jack O’Bryen] from book 1, Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love. She will cross paths – and hearts – with Jack’s coworker and major flirt and player, Sam Cunningham! I’m pretty excited about this book, not only because I love Shannon’s sweet nature, but also because I cannot wait to get back to the love story of Shannon’s mom, Tess, with Dr. Doom – the older subordinate hero, Ben Carmichael.
Here’s the blurb for Shannon’s story: A shy romance writer, wounded by a man who used her, befriends a handsome player who first seeks her advice on love – and then her heart.
Then book 3 in the series, Unchanging Love, will pair Shannon’s sassy twin, Cat, with Pastor Chase Griffin. Here’s the blurb: A bold and independent woman challenges the ideals – and the morals – of a pastor who loves her no matter the mistakes that she makes.
Which of your books is your favorite, or has been the most fun to write? Why?
Mmm…great question, Sarah! And I’ll need to give you two answers on that, I’m afraid. First of all, my favorite book from the Daughters of Boston series is book 2, A Passion Redeemed, not only because it was the most fun book I’ve ever written, but because it was the fastest one I’ve ever written as well – 481 pages finished in approximately one month (or two months while working a part-time job)! That book 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 Redeemed because he couldn’t stand Charity. Poor guy, I didn’t have the heart to tell him he’s been married to her for over 30 years!
Don’t get me wrong, I love Faith O’Connor from A Passion Most Pure, but in all honesty, she is more like the woman I am today – heavily dependent on God, emotionally involved with Him and a person who prays at the drop of a hat, so I almost feel one with her. 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.
But my FAVORITE book I’ve ever written? Oh my, that would be A Hope Undaunted, my tip-top favorite, hands-down! Not only do I love, love, LOVE all the head-butting between the hero and heroine Luke McGee and Katie O’Conner, but this book is so well-rounded, I think, with so much to offer the reader. Not only do you have an explosive love story between the hero and heroine, but also several dramatic subplots, a family trauma that unites the entire family, incredible history during the Roaring Twenties 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 don’t even get me started on the hero, Luke McGee… hubba-hubba! 😉
Any news for your readers?
Yes, thanks for asking, Sarah. But first, thank you for hosting me on your blog – it’s been a lot of fun!
I also have a blog called “Journal Jots,” which is a journal to my reader friends, or the “Excerpts” tab of my website allows readers to check out my favorite scenes from each of my books. In addition, I can be found daily at The Seekers, a group blog of 13 published authors that inspires, encourages, teaches, and informs aspiring writers on the road to publication and beyond. Although Seekerville has been listed on Writers Digest 2013, 2014, and 2015 “101 Best Websites for Writers,” it is also a blog devoted to readers.
Finally, I have the following sales and contests currently going on:
“It’s Time to Fall in Love” Treasure Hunt!
Yep, it’s time to fall in love…but it’s also time to win Kindles, gift baskets, gift cards, books, and a character named after you in my next book, so check out the treasure hunt on Debbie Lynne Costello’s, MaryLu Tyndall’s, and my blogs! Then get on your mark…get set…GO fall in love!
$0.99 Preorder Sale on Isle of Hope Prequel
YES, there IS a prequel to my latest novel, Isle of Hope, my new contemporary that currently has a 5-star rating on Amazon with 109 reviews. Take advantage of this sale, 66% off the release-day price of A Glimmer of Hope. Hurry, this sale ends March 1st!
$0.99 Sale on Award-winning Irish Love Story
The e-book of my A Light in the Window – which has 229 5-star reviews on Amazon and has won three awards – is on sale for only $0.99. I invite you to take a peek at the excellent video my artist hubby did for this story, starring my daughter.
Calling All Writers!
My writer’s workbook, Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets is on e-sale for $2.99. If you’re looking to ramp up romantic tension in your writing, this is the book for you!
Download A Hope Undaunted FREE!!
Now you can read my favorite book I’ve ever written – A Hope Undaunted – absolutely FREE! Although it is the fourth book in the O’Connor family saga (and I will warn you that this is a saga best read in order due to a HUGE twist/surprise in book 1, A Passion Most Pure, which, by the way, is on sale for $1.99!), A Hope Undaunted is the first book in my Winds of Change series and can also be read as a standalone novel.
A Hope Undaunted will be free on Amazon starting March 1st. I hope you check it out!
Thanks for stopping by, Julie! You’ve been a fabulous guest.
And now for the GIVEAWAY!
In honor of Julie’s visit, and the upcoming release of A Glimmer of Hope on March 1st, Julie has generously offered a giveaway!
Julie is giving away 3 e-book copies of Isle of Hope! The giveaway will run from Thursday, February 25th, until Wednesday, March 2nd. I’ll announce the winners Friday, March 4th.
Winners should send their email addresses to me via the Contact page, and we’ll send you an e-copy of Isle of Hope! Prizes must be claimed by Wednesday, March 9th. Prizes not claimed by then will be forfeit.
To enter this giveaway, answer this question in the comment section below: Have you read any of Julie’s books before? Which was your favorite?