Friday, February 1, 2008

A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Passion Most Pure

(Revell January 1, 2008)


Julie Lessman


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. A Passion Most Pure is her first novel.


She's found the love of her life. Unfortunately, he loves her sister ...

As World War I rages across the Atlantic in 1916, a smaller war is brewing in Boston. Faith O’Connor finds herself drawn to an Irish rogue who is anything but right for her. Collin McGuire is brash, cocky, and from the wrong side of the tracks, not to mention forbidden by her father. And then there’s the small matter that he is secretly courting her younger sister. But when Collin’s affections suddenly shift her way, it threatens to tear Faith's proper Boston family apart.

Refusing to settle for anything less than a romantic relationship that pleases God, Faith O'Connor steels her heart against her desire for the roguish Collin McGuire. Collin is trying to win her sister Charity's hand, and Faith isn't sure she can handle the jealousy she feels. Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure is Book 1 of the Daughters of Boston series.

Interview with Julie:

How did you get started writing, and where has that journey taken you that you may not have expected starting out?

I started writing at the age of twelve after reading Gone With the Wind. That novel so impacted me that I immediately began writing my own romance novel—a 150-page, single-spaced ms. entitled When Tomorrow Comes, which, by the way, is now a Janette Oke title! But that initial manuscript is actually the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. I used to read it to my little sister, Katie, and she loved it. But then adolescence hit, and I soon abandoned paper romance for the real thing as a teenager. J

Fast forward almost forty years later—I was sitting in a beauty parlor reading a Newsweek magazine July 16, 2001 cover article about Christian entertainment. It said Christian books, movies and music were on the threshold of exploding. My heart jumped, and something in my spirit said, “It’s time to finish your book.” Now, I have to be honest with you—up until that moment, I had never seriously considered writing a book. But the pull was so strong, that I started writing A Passion Most Pure one month later, finally selling it to Revell 4-1/2 years and 42 rejections later. This publishing journey has taken me to a place of such adrenalin high, that I honestly can say I never expected that!

How do you balance family life with writing?

Right now, it’s not too difficult since all that’s left at home is me, my husband and our golden retriever. But when my daughter comes home from college for a weekend or my son and daughter-in-law are in town to visit, they take first priority, so not a lot of writing gets done. But then, not a lot of writing is getting done NOW since this is the month my debut novel is out. Fortunately, all three books in The Daughters of Boston series are written (and all revised except book 3), so I have been spending most of my free time on interviews (when I’m not at my part-time travel-writer job). My husband doesn’t mind because he is an artist who does a lot of freelance work, so we sit back-to-back in a cozy, candle-lit computer room with our dog sprawled by our sides. It’s kind of nice because I like to lean back and kiss him (my husband, not the dog) after I put lip gloss on, which is pretty often J!

How does your walk with the Lord affect your writing? And how do you balance time with the Lord with your writing schedule?

My walk with the Lord IS the reason I write. Without Him, there would be no true passion to motivate me, because without Him, romance is empty and unsatisfying. But WITH Him at the center, WOW, everything heats up—my marriage, my job, my writing! He makes it all worthwhile and oh, so exciting!!

But you HAVE to connect with God if you are going to write for Him! And trust me, I don’t want to take one step without God by my side. In the past (before my book was published), my routine was peach oatmeal and coffee while I answered e-mails, then treadmill/worship music time, followed by Bible-reading and prayer. Not so much anymore. Because of the release of my first book and the demands of promotion (interviews, blogs, e-mails plus busy season at my day job), I felt convicted to NOT turn on my computer until I’d had my God time. Kind of a time-tithe, if you will. So now I eat oatmeal while reading my Bible, pray and THEN turn the computer on. Nix the treadmill (grin). MUCH, MUCH better!

Since my blog is geared to writers who want to improve their self-editing, could you briefly take us through your process of writing a novel—from conception to revision?

Well, I am a definite “Seat of the Pants” writer and first-line freak (for books and chapters), so all it takes is a first line that pops into my head, and I’m off and running. In book 3 (working title A Passion Denied), I did do a brief outline of scenes, but only because the story is so layered and complicated that I was forced to. You see, each book in the series grows more detailed and involved because I just HATE saying good-bye to characters I love in the first book of a series! So, I don’t! I incorporate sub-stories into each of the subsequent books for each of the characters you meet in A Passion Most Pure in addition to the hero and heroine.

As far as improving “self-editing,” I would strongly recommend Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King (my Bible in the beginning!!!), plus any other self-edit books you can pick up. Also, Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maas was invaluable to me in deepening both plot and characters for A Passion Most Pure. Another writing tool that has become my writer’s Bible is The Synonym Finder by J. A. Rodale—fabulous tool!! Other things that helped me immeasurably along the way were writers’ contests, fiction-writing classes at my community college and writing seminars—all well worthwhile!

What kinds of things do you have to revise once the editor at a publishing house gets done with your manuscript?

Grin. Well, on A Passion Most Pure, surprisingly the editor didn’t make too many revisions, which shocked me because I expected heavy edits on scenes that might be perceived as too sensual. But she mostly just zeroed in on things to ensure historical accuracy. However, the copy editor who did the final proofing pretty much red-inked the manuscript to death (eliminated a lot of too modern-sounding words or “ing” words at the beginning of a sentence, which I do tend to overdo, plot comments, etc.). Fortunately, I found out that I could change any revisions that I did not agree with, which I did for about 50% of them.

On Book 2, however, which I actually wrote with the ABA in mind BEFORE I sold to Revell, I obviously had tons of revisions as to the sensuality factor, which I made with total confidence in the editor because bottom line, I prayed about the edits for a solid year before I received them, so I just figured this was the way God wanted it. I wasn’t about to argue with HIM!! J

Would you tell us a little about your future projects?

Well, all three books in the Daughters of Boston series are finished. Book 2, A Passion Redeemed, will be out in September 2008 and Book 3, working title A Passion Denied, will be released in February 2009. I had hoped to write a fourth book in the series since there are four daughters in the O’Connor family, but I haven’t sold it yet, so I’m not sure what’s going to happen there. Either way, I WILL write Katie’s story (Faith’s five-year-old sister in A Passion Most Pure) because I just HAVE to! She is a real pistol who comes of age in the Roaring Twenties, right before the Great Depression. After that, I would definitely like to do more series because I love writing about families in depth, exploring the emotional highs and lows of a large family (As one of 13 kids, I wonder why! J).

Finally, would you discuss A Passion Most Pure? The research, the idea, and the scope of the project?

As mentioned before, the “scope” of the project spans over 40 years, beginning with that first manuscript I wrote at the age of 12 after reading Gone With the Wind! But once God spurred me on to finish that childhood novel, that basic story of a love triangle in the midst of a war took root, and I fleshed it out with the loving family components I’ve been blessed with in my own wonderful marriage. Research on WWI and the era itself added the historical depth I needed, but it was really the spiritual depth that I was going for. God has done so much in my life—taking me from a hard, callous, bitter agnostic, to the wonder of His love and blessing—that I wanted to relate that in a real and natural way. To impact readers with the depth of His love, just like His amazing love impacted me. His love changed my heart forever, and it is my deepest hope and prayer that somehow, someway, this book will have a small part in doing the same for others.

Thank you, Marjorie, for allowing me this time to connect with your readers. God bless!

Margie here: Thank you, Julie, for letting us get to know you. I appreciate the time you spent with us.

I told Julie I was going to try to have a review ready by today, but . . . this week craziness exploded. Not what was in my PDA! Anyway, making no promises as to when, I do plan to review A Passion Most Pure and post it here. Hopefully before September when Julie's second book comes out. I've heard very good things about this book, and I'm looking forward to completing my read soon!

Daily Bible reading:

Sorry I missed getting this posted yesterday. As I said . . .

Thursday: Isaiah 26–27; Mark 6:30–56
Friday: Isaiah 28–29; Mark 7:1–13
Saturday: Isaiah 30–31; Mark 7:14–37
Sunday: Isaiah 32–33; Mark 8

Have a blessed weekend!

1 comment:

Pamela J said...

Julie said, "...reading Gone With the Wind. That novel so impacted me...". What is it that we are involved with that impacts others in our own lives? We are always an influence in some way, whether for good or bad. The things I have read in reviews and interviews about "A Passion Most Pure" shows me even before I get to read for myself, that this book speaks out volumes about things that WILL impact people's lives toward a heart for things of God. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the interview, Margie, and I will try to check in soon to read your review as well.
cepjwms at yahoo dot com