Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Q & A with Julie Lessman (and giveaway!!!)

1. It's no secret that you're one of our favorite authors around here. What can fans expect from A Heart Revealed?

Aw, thanks, Joy—I think you know I feel the same way about you and the Edgy Inspirational blog!

And what can reader friends expect from A Heart Revealed? Sorry, I’m not partial to the word “fans” because it somehow separates an author from her readers, which I don’t like to do because we’re are all just flesh-and-blood women who enjoy a passionate story, right? Well, first of all, this is not my usual fast and furious romance with lots of fireworks because Emma is married, so obviously I couldn’t go there. Besides, that’s what Katie and Luke and Mitch and Charity are for, no??

Sean and Emma’s story is a ten-year friendship that grows spiritually and emotionally, ripening into unconditional love where two people sacrifice themselves for the other. Consequently, because the romance between the hero and heroine in this book is such a departure from my usual sizzling instant attraction right out the gate, some reviewers are saying the book is slow at first, which makes me shake my head. Of course the romance is slow … they are friends who are taken by surprise when deeper feelings evolve, which means they s-l-o-w-l-y and unintentionally fall in love. That’s why the sub stories between Katie and Luke and Mitch and Charity are so heated and … I hope … pulse-pounding, because in a Julie Lessman novel where my hands were tied with the romantic aspect for Sean and Emma, I just HAD to get my romantic fix in others ways! :)

2. Tell us about your writing journey since you've been published. Do you notice style differences between the Daughters of Boston series and The Winds of Change series?

Getting published was like buckling up in the scariest roller-coaster on the planet, and let me tell you, as much as I LOVE angst, drama and thrills, I have a fear of heights and HATE roller-coasters. Everything happens so fast—you go flying to great heights with contest wins, wonderful reviews that bring tears to your eyes and connections with reader friends that deepen and enrich your life. And then in the next pulse-freezing second, you go crashing back down to earth with 1-star reviews that cut your heart out and a truly awful obsession with Amazon rankings and book sales. The good news is that God uses this crazy lifestyle to ground and level you in HIM despite the endless ups and downs of this industry, for which I am eternally grateful.

The only difference between “The Daughters of Boston” and “Winds of Change” that I can see is that in the DOB series, the books built slowly and gradually toward a multi-layered family saga where as the WOC series are chock full of family stories and subplots right out the gate. Also, believe it or not, I did TRY to tone down the romantic passion in the 2nd series a bit, but that is hard to do (uh, especially for me!) when you are writing sub plots for married couples, allowing for more romantic leeway.

3. What are your secrets to balancing your social media and blogging time with writing and editing?

HA! My “secret” is I don’t have one! Which is why Revell “suggested” they handle scheduling my blog interviews this year so that I could spend more time writing. Normally I do anywhere from 30 to 50 interviews when a new book releases, but because I LOVE to connect with my reader friends via comments on blogs, I literally would not write for two months while these blogs were going on, which is NOT good. So when I signed a new three-book deal with Revell for “The Cousins McClare” series, they limited me to ten interviews/giveaways for A Heart Revealed since this new series will come out every nine months instead of my usual twelve.

As far as “social media,” I try to limit Facebook and Twitter to beginning and end of the day so that I can focus on writing throughout.

4. What are three things on your bucket list?

Oh, what a FUN question, Joy! One, I definitely want to go to Ireland. Two, I want to meet all my favorite blogger and reader friends (like you!). And three, I would die happy if I could ever achieve the lifelong dream of becoming a Christy finalist. Catherine Marshall had a HUGE effect on me as a new Christian at the age of 23 and to ever be nominated for the award that bears the name of her first book would be a dream come true. I’m not talking winning, mind you—I just want to be a finalist. :)

5. Do you have a favorite character? Who and why?

The “favorite character” status of books I haven’t written goes to none other than Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind because when I first read that book at the age of twelve, I was so swept away by the romantic tension between Scarlett and Rhett, that I actually wrote 150 single-spaced pages of what today is my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. Scarlett was not exactly a role model, I know, but I loved her strength, her confidence, her inability to be false or phony … and I especially loved the pull she had over Rhett whether he liked it or not. That’s what true romance is—a man who will cherish you and love you no matter your failings.

In my own books? Well, I love ALL my characters, of course, but the one I am most partial to will probably come as a shock to most readers. Without question, Charity O’Connor from book 2, A Passion Redeemed, was the most fun character and book to write. 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 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 30 years! :)

Don’t get me wrong, I love Faith O’Connor, but in all honesty, she is more like the woman I am today—heavily dependant 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 Jesus. And quite frankly, I think she is just downright funny and quirky and such a hoot that she makes me laugh. And OH MY, what she does to a woman who is after her husband in A Heart Revealed?? You won’t believe it OR the fact that yes, it is something I would have done at the drop of a hat before I came to Christ! :)

Thank you, Joy, for allowing me to connect with your readers. I LOVE to hear from reader friends, so they can feel free to contact me through my website, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter.

My newsletter is chock-full of fun info on my books and there’s always a contest featuring signed book giveaways including one right now to have a character named after you or a loved one in my next book.

Also, I have a cool feature on my website called “Journal Jots” which is a very laid-back, Friday journal to my reader friends that would give your readers an idea as to my relaxed style of writing.

Then finally, I can be found daily at The Seekers blog , a group blog devoted to encouraging and helping aspiring writers on the road to publication.

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. 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. Her “Winds of Change” series has recently released with A Hope Undaunted and A Heart Revealed. You can contact Julie through her website at www.julielessman.com.


Want more info about A Heart Revealed? Here's the book blurb:
Her heart is tied to a youthful vow . . . but can true love set it free?

Ten years ago, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston, escaping the husband who scarred her beautiful face. The physical and emotional wounds have faded with time, and her life is finally full of purpose and free from the pain of her past. But when she falls for her friend Charity’s handsome and charming brother, Sean O’Connor, fear and shame threaten to destroy her. Could Sean and Emma ever have a future together? Or is Emma doomed to live out the rest of her life denying the only true love she’s ever known?

Filled with intense passion and longing, deception and revelation, A Heart Revealed will hold you in its grip until the very last page.

It's GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Julie has graciously offered a signed copy of any one of her books to a lucky reader. Between now and October 11, leave a comment below responding to anything you read in her interview. Be sure to include your email address. This giveaway is open to residents in US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Thank you so much Julie for visiting us, and you are welcome back anytime!!

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