Interview with Julie Lessman & giveaway

I’m pleased, today, to welcome author Julie Lessman to Word Lily! She is the author of the Daughters of Boston trilogy and, most recently, A Hope Undaunted.

Julie Lessman

Author Julie Lessman

Word Lily: One of my favorite aspects of these books about the O’Connor family is the relationship between Patrick and Marcy. In A Hope Undaunted, that relationship is still strong, but it seems more muted than it did in the earlier books. What’s your reasoning behind this? (I have my guesses, but I’d rather hear your rationale.)

Julie Lessman: Well, I’d like to hear your “guesses” too, but just so you know, originally I had a more detailed subplot for Marcy and Patrick involving Marcy entering menopause with wild mood swings, and Patrick treading lightly so as to not trigger an outburst or crying jag (a lot like my poor husband went through, who likened menopause to walking across a minefield! :-)). BUT … the relationship between Marcy and Patrick was toned down for A Hope Undaunted because my editor felt that 1.) There was too much going on (She was right because originally I had a subplot for EACH of the couples!) and 2.) She felt that because Marcy was 52 and Patrick 53, nobody would be interested in reading about their “love life” anymore, which, although I agreed with the first point, the second ruffled my feathers a tad.

As a baby boomer who thinks romance does NOT end at the age of 30, I purposely incorporated a love story between the parents that was both inspiring and deeply tender because frankly, I get tired of romance being relegated to the young. I mean, come on now — why should they have all the fun?? I will be 60 next month and I can tell you right now that once empty nest hit, my husband and I felt like teenagers on the loose again — more active with things like biking, working out, traveling and definitely more romantic than ever before in 32 years. I think 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.

Word Lily: Hm, yeah. I’m not a baby boomer, but I agree with you. I know there are another couple books planned for this Winds of Change series, but beyond that, what’s it like to think about leaving the O’Connors behind and moving on to another family’s story?

Julie Lessman: Painful. Keep in mind that these people are like a second family to me — I’ve lived and breathed them for nine years now, and a part of me dreads letting them go. But God is preparing me because already I feeling myself pulled toward another new series. But I guarantee you, I will revisit the O’Connors now and then by rereading the books and then, who knows? Maybe down the road I’ll be able to pen a series about the O’Connor cousins during WWII!

As far as what I plan to write next after the “Winds of Change” series, I’m hoping to write a prequel about Marcy and Patrick O’Connor before they were married as well as a new trilogy entitled “The Cousins McClare,” a poor-man, rich-man scenario among three cousins amid the Irish-political landscape of 1920s San Francisco, prohibition and the Barbary Coast. Think Little Women meets Dynasty. And for those of you too young to remember the TV show Dynasty, think family wealth and poverty in a political setting.

Word Lily: I’m one of those not familiar with Dynasty, I admit! I know of it, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it. I just got a dog this year; Maisie, and Old English Sheepdog, is almost 11 months old now. Tell us about your dog.

Julie Lessman: Well, as you may have noticed, all the dogs in my book (with the exception of a scruffy terrier mutt in A Hope Undaunted, are golden retrievers, and that’s because we had goldens all of our lives. Unfortunately, our golden named Bunker died Easter weekend at the age of 15, a ripe age that is almost unheard of for large dogs, but I believe in praying for longevity for our pets, so I did, and it sure worked.

Word Lily: Oh, I’m sorry to hear about your loss of Bunker! What books have you read and enjoyed recently?

Julie Lessman: Oh, it’s been a realllly good month for reading, let me tell you! First off, there was Mary Connealy’s Doctor in Petticoats (love Mary’s humor!), then MaryLu Tyndall’s Surrender the Heart (love MaryLu’s romantic edge and tense adventure!), Myra Johnson’s Where the Dogwood Blooms (probing spiritual message and romance that is wonderfully sigh-worthy), Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz (Laura always packs an emotional punch with a story and characters as alive and real as my own family), and finally, my current read is Melanie Dickerson’s The Healer’s Apprentice, which is simply a delightful medieval YA that is pure magic. Yep, all in all, a very good month!

Word Lily: That definitely sounds like a good reading month, yay! I think I’ll end up adding some of those to my wish list. I know you started writing A Passion Most Pure when you were still in your teens, but I haven’t found this part of your journey in the other interviews I’ve read: What’s your writing education/training?

Julie Lessman: Actually, not much! I only completed one year of college before quitting to get a job because I didn’t get along with my father (and my mother was deceased), so I wanted out of the house BAD!! But I knew I had some writing ability because I won speech contests in high school, was published in the National Anthology of High School Poetry, was an editor of the high school yearbook and newspaper, and won poetry contests in the one year of college I did attend. In my early 20s, I took an advanced creative writing course at Washington University and then a fiction-writing course much later in life. Surprisingly enough, I ended up with a travel writer job for many years that today would require a degree.

Word Lily: A more general question now. What are you working on now?

Julie Lessman: Well, I recently completed book 2 in the “Winds of Change” series, A Heart Revealed, which tells the forbidden love story of Sean O’Connor and Emma Malloy, and have just begun book 3, Steven O’Connor’s story, tentatively titled A Trust Restored. Both books take place during The Great Depression and Prohibition, providing a wealth of historical interest about this exciting era of speakeasies, dance marathons, gangsters, G-men and era criminals like Bonnie & Clyde and Al Capone. Steven will be a tall, brooding G-man-type modeled after Elliot Ness (a la Robert Stack from the old TV show The Untouchables, which most of your readers are probably too young to remember), who not only battles crime with a vengeance, but also the guilt and regret of a painful past.

Word Lily: Ooh, sounds good! Thank you so much for your time! Anything else you want to say? Am I missing something?

Julie Lessman: Thank you, Hannah, for hosting me on your blog. It’s been fun! And I LOVE to hear from readers, so they can contact me through my website at julielessman.com, either by sending an email 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. Also, I have a cool feature on my website called Journal Jots which is a very laid-back, almost-daily 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. Thanks again, Hannah, and God bless!


As part of this Winsome Media tour, I’m thrilled to offer a signed copy of A Hope Undaunted. (U.S. only, though.)

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this post expressing interest in winning and interacting with the interview. I’ll accept entries through Monday, October 4, 2010.

Edited to add: This giveaway is now closed. See who won.

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54 responses to “Interview with Julie Lessman & giveaway

  1. These were some new questions. That does seem to happen. Some jobs you needed a degree for in the past, such as a flight attendant, and now you don’t anymore, and then it can be the other way around. Please include me in the giveaway.

  2. enjoyed reading this interview…thanks for the chance to read julie’s latest masterpiece 🙂

    • KAREN … gosh, girl, you’re getting to the point where you know more about me than my husband!! 🙂 Thanks for your diligence in hitting all my blog interviews/giveaways, and I’m praying for a win for you …

      Hugs,
      Julie

  3. Thank You for saying that romance doesn’t end at 30! Although sometimes it requires some focus lol

    I’d love to be entered in the contest 🙂

    • JULIA … You’re welcome!! And, boy, I’d be in dire straights for sure if romance ended at 30 and I’m sitting here trying to write romance novels!! How pathetic would THAT be, I mean, seriously??? But the good news is that romance is NOT defined by an age, but by the passion in one’s heart. And trust me … the “passion” in my heart, for both God and romance, is RAGING!!!!!!

      Good luck in the contest!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  4. I really enjoyed this series and would love to win a signed copy of A Hope Undaunted! I am looking forward to your new series as I love that time in history and books about the Irish.

    • DIANA … thank you SO much, not only for reading the DOB series, but for continuing on with me in the journey of this VERY passionate family. I’m glad you’ve tossed your hat in the ring, and here’s to a win!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  5. I would love to win this book!! Am in need of this kind of book at the moment. Times are trying.

    • KARLA … I am so sorry “times are trying” right now, which prompts me to say a quick prayer for you before I pen this comment, that God will bless your day with an abundance of His love and blessings. Sounds like AHU might be a pretty good book to read for you right now at that. Praying you win too …

      Hugs,
      Julie

  6. Great questions, Hannah! I learn something new about Julie in every interview! 😀

    Thanks for another chance at a win!

    Blessings,
    Michelle

  7. Really enjoyed this interview. I for one enjoy everything you write and am looking forward to your new series.

  8. Hi, again, Julie! I love reading all these interviews with you! I’m learning some amazing facts about you and feel like I’m really getting to know a great new friend. I’m still trying to win! Haven’t yet, but I still have hope! =)

    Blessings,
    Molly

    • Grin … “A Hope Undaunted,” I believe you referred to it as a few interviews ago, MOLLY, and I swear you are going to win one of these days, God willing!! Thanks for your support, my friend, and see you at the next blog … 🙂

      Hugs,
      Julie

  9. Hi Hannah – great interview! Thank you. :o)
    I’m not entering as I live in NZ but just wanted to say..
    Hi Julie! And I LOVED what you were doing with Patrick and Marcy’s relationship and what you were portraying. I’m so with you there, cause though I’m still in my thirties I full on plan to never let THAT part of my marriage get boring! Happy to know that at almost-sixty it can still be spicy-hot! ;D
    So I’m sad to hear that you had to tone down their relationship and I hope that you will still find ways to insert this message into future books!! 🙂 Blessings! Elizabeth

    • Grin, ELIZABETH … You hope I will “find ways to insert this message into future books”??? Count on it, my friend … much to the angst of my editor, I’m sure … 🙂

      And “spicy hot”?? No comment. 🙂

      Hugs,
      Julie

  10. Lady DragonKeeper

    Ooh, I also have been wanting to read “The Healer’s Apprentice” ever since I saw the book cover online a few months ago . . . Christian Medieval Teen fiction = ❤ =D I've been entering all the Melanie Dickerson book giveaways I can find . . . That and Julie Lessman book giveaways . . . LOL. Thanks for the interview and the chance to win, Word Lily! P.S. – I loved looking at your knitting projects on your flikr account. Do you crochet too? I kinda like to crochet a little bit more than knitting, but they're both fun. =)

  11. I can tell you from experience that romance does not end at.. 30, 40, 50, 60…. etc. Reaching the age of 66, I can tell you that it is different, and I think, much deeper. I should tell you that I am Hannah’s dear old dad and she is the one that is getting me into blogging and doing reviews on books. I probably read more now that I have at any point in my life and I truly enjoy it.

    • ROY … OH-MY-GOODNESS!!! Hannah’s dad???? “Project Journal Hannah”??? Getting you into blogging and reviewing books??? Not romance, I gather … or is it??? I am VERY impressed with you, Roy, and TOTALLY agree that romance … the kind with God in the middle … gets deeper and deeper every year.

      You go, Roy, and if I see a review on A Hope Undaunted, I will be shocked!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  12. This sounds so good. I have not read the book but seen Hannah’s review of it earlier and thought it sounded good. So sorry to hear about your dog. They are like family.

    • BOOKJOURNEY … Thank you for your condolences on Bunker — he was a GREAT dog, we were blessed to have him for 15 years.

      And if you like LOTS of passion in your books — both for God and romance, then I’m your gal!! Here’s to a win, so you can see what I mean!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  13. Hi Julie, Enjoyed another great interview…and learned more about you. I have already won AHU (whoopee) so don’t enter me!! Looking forward to MORE great books by you!!

  14. Thanks for the great interview. I look forward to the last two books in the series. What an interesting time period to live in–so many changes during that time period.
    Thanks for the book giveaway. Please enter me in the drawing for A Hope Undaunted.

    • Gosh, CYNTHIA … we have to get those puppies (books) in your hot, little hands, don’t we??? You’re going about it in the right way, girl, dogging those blog giveaways!! Good luck!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  15. I agree with some of the earlier comments –good interview! It’s nice having some variety to the questions (especially I’d love to be entered in this book drawing. 🙂 Have a wonderful day!

    @ Molly E – LOL, I know the exact feeling . . .

  16. Hannah and Julie,

    This was a great interview! I am also interested in the giveaway. I have just entered the world of Christian fiction recently and it was great to hear the thoughts and experiences of an author in that genre. I love that Julie knew what she wanted and went for it! I will definitely have to read more of Julie’s works.

    • MARIE … Good for you, girl, entering the world of Christian fiction!! I mean, where else can you go and get a great story and a spiritual lift at the same time???? I would LOVE for you to read my work, so good luck in the contest!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  17. That is so great to hear about a romance between older people in this one! I love reading about this time period. All of the things you said are in books 2 and 3 are some of my fave things to read about. Thank you for the chance to win.

  18. Charlotte Saltzman

    Julie,
    Thanks for being passionate about responding to all of the comments!
    You have a busy schedule and lots of writing ahead of you, but all of us are so very appreciative that you extend a personal touch to us!
    GOD BLESS YOU!!!!!!
    Charlotte

    • Well, CHARLOTTE, that should tell you just how IMPORTANT you and the rest of my reader friends are to me — YOU’RE HUGE!!! Uh, not in weight, mind you, but in importance in my life. Thank YOU for your support and prayers — MUCH appreciated!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  19. I would love to win. I have loved reading the interviews with Julie.

  20. Looking forward to Marcy and Patrick’s prequel!
    Ann Lee Miller

  21. Love the interview.
    The Series sounds Great! Would love to read each one.
    Please enter me in the drawing.
    Thank you for the chance.

  22. Hi Julie, I have your other awesome books and would love the chance to win a copy of ‘A Hope Undaunted’. Thanks!

    • Doreen!!! Good for you girl — you’re making the blog rounds!! There’s no better way to win a book than that, trust me!! Thanks for your support of my books, and good luck in the contest!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  23. Thanks for the chance to win!….Julie, how on earth do have the time to comment to us all? WOW, you’re one impressive woman!

    ~Lauri M (LULU)

    • Hey, LAURI … I wouldn’t be too “impressed” with me because I am just NOW getting around to comments today, and it’s after 11:00 PM!!! But connecting with my reader friends is a priority for me, so I make the time to do it. Of course, I’m not getting a lot of writing done right now, but such is life … 🙂 Thanks for coming by, my friend, and good luck in the contest!

      Hugs,
      Julie

  24. Has the winner already been picked for this drawing? I have entered several different places to win Hope Undaunted that I’m getting confused…not too hard for a blonde to do. haha

  25. Thanks Word Lily!

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