Tuesday, January 29, 2008
An Interview with Julie Lessman, author A Passion Most Pure
I am delighted to host an interview with my new friend Julie Lessman. As you could tell from my review, I'm a fan of her debut novel and look forward to reading future books. Without further ado, here's the interview...
A Passion Most Pure is your first release. How did you get the idea for this book and the Daughters of Boston series?
As you know, A Passion Most Pure is the story of a close-knit Irish-Catholic family in pre-WWI Boston where a love triangle occurs between two sisters and the bad-boy hero. As one of 13 children (in a family that included 10 girls!), I guess you can say I experienced my fair share of sibling rivalry. Part of the idea came, I suppose, from butting heads with my sister who was two years older than me. She was … ahem … quite voluptuous and very attractive to boys while I was … well, basically not! J I was so skinny, in fact, that when I played on a girls’ softball team, my older brother commented: “What position do you play? The foul line?”
So I guess you could say the idea of a sisters’ series where two of them compete for a boy’s affection was deeply rooted in my childhood. That’s when I actually started writing this novel, at the age of 12, after reading Gone With the Wind. Suddenly my passion for romance awakened, and although I only penned a 150 pages of a single-spaced manuscript at that time, the story is actually the basis for A Passion Most Pure. Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you look at it!), almost forty years passed before God breathed new life into that early attempt and inspired me to finish my childhood novel of passion—only this time the “passion” would be for Him!
Isn't it fun how we can use our crazy childhoods in our writing. I haven't pulled any of the books I started as a teen out -- hmmm, maybe I should LOL. I've found that each book has taught me something as I wrote it. What did you take away from writing this book?
A keen awareness of God’s love and anointing. For the eight straight months it took me to write this novel, I was on an adrenalin high—high on God, high on my husband, high on life. It was a magical time when my heart was so fervent for God that I would weep on my keyboard after every spiritual scene. I felt His amazing love and presence so much during the writing of this book, that I finally understood the term “mountaintop experience.” But, groan, like all mountaintop experiences, you have to come back down to earth, which I did when I started the arduous publishing Process.
I love that place of working so closely with God on a story! Now in A Passion Most Pure, I loved Faith, and could relate to her struggle to want to live a life that honors God against the reality of sometimes hard challenges and people. Which character is your favorite and why?
Well, while I was writing A Passion Most Pure, I LOVED Faith, of course, because she represents my spiritual side and is pretty much the way I was as a young woman who’d just come to Christ at the age of 23 (albeit a LOT softer)! But as I got into Book 2, A Passion Redeemed, which is Charity’s story, I found myself favoring Charity. I think because she represents the way I was as a lost wild child of the 60s and 70s (albeit a LOT better looking!), and because she was so wonderfully flawed, that she was a joy to redeem. Charity reminds me just how much God pulled my own life out of the gutter. And readers don’t know this yet, but Charity is a real hoot—funny, audacious, resilient and as passionate about those she loves as those she hates. And she certainly underscores a valuable lesson I learned a long time ago—it’s the unlovable ones in our lives that need the most love.
I'm curious to see what you do with Charity since she is the character people love to hate in A Passion Most Pure. This book does an amazing job of illustrating the passionate side of love. Why do you think that is so important?
Are you kidding? Look at the world today—it’s obsessed with illicit passion. Hollywood promotes adultery as sexy, and I can count on one hand how many young, unmarried women I know who are still virgins today, Christian or no. Why? Because passion is important! Not just to romance readers, but to everyone on the planet. We were created that way by a passionate God who analogizes His own depth of love for each of us in a very passionate love letter called “Song of Solomon.” And what happens? The world uses this beautiful, God-given gift to shove sin down peoples’ throats, and I, for one, am really sick of it. I want to use passion the way it was intended—to teach people God’s precepts and therein, His love. It’s the cry of my heart, and I hope and pray that for readers, my stories of romantic passion translate into passion for God.
What a great call! And so true that the world has perverted something God created. That heart comes through loud and clear in the novel. Now for a fun question. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and who would you take with you?
Easy question! I would go to Ireland first because ever since Gone With the Wind, I have always been fascinated by the Irish. Then I would visit England next because our heritage is so steeped with that country’s influence. Mmm … and who would I take? Why, my very own Collin, Mitch and Patrick rolled into one—my husband Keith. He is Patrick O’Connor personified, and I am one very lucky woman! Or as Patrick so aptly expresses in A Passion Most Pure, “I’m afraid luck has nothing to do with it, whatsoever. It’s called ‘blessed,’ and I most definitely am.”
Thanks so much, Cara, for hosting me on your Web site. This was a lot of fun, and I hope your readers will have fun too!
Julie Lessman is a debut author who has already garnered writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She is a commercial writer for Maritz Travel, a published poet and a Golden Heart Finalist. Julie has a heart to write “Mainstream Inspirational,” reaching the 21st-century woman with compelling love stories laced with God’s precepts. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. Her first book, A Passion Most Pure, released in January 2008. Visit her Web site.