About the Author
Julie Lessman, award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, and Heart of San Francisco series, was named American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards. Julie has garnered 17 RWA and other awards and made Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction. Her latest novel, Surprised by Love, appeared on Family Fiction magazine’s list of Top Ten Novels of 2014. Her indie book A Light in the Window is an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers' Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner.
You can contact Julie and read excerpts from her books at www.julielessman.com, or through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest, as well as sign up for her newsletter. Check out Julie’s group blog, The Seekers, Writers Digest 2013, 2014, and 2015 “Best 101 Websites for Writers,” and Julie’s own personal blog, Journal Jots, voted blog of the month in the Readers’ Choice poll of Book
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
Four life-altering words: Gone With the Wind. From the moment I read Margaret Mitchell’s masterpiece at the age of twelve, I was hooked on romance. So much so, that I immediately set out to write (along with thousands of other love-struck young girls, I’m sure), what I hoped would be “the great American novel.” Obviously my dreams of grandeur didn’t go anywhere, but I did write 150 single-spaced pages of a story that is actually the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. Hard to believe that 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!
2. How many books have you written and in what genres?
I have just completed my eleventh novel, which is a contemporary romance/women’s fiction called Isle of Hope that I have independently published. The other ten novels are historical romance, nine of which were published by Revell beginning with The Daughters of Boston series, the Winds of Change series, and the Heart of San Francisco series. My tenth book is an independently published novel called A Light in the Window, which is actually the prequel to The Daughters of Boston series. I have also written three historical romance novellas and a writer’s workbook entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Inspirational and Sweet Markets.
3. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
Well, as you know, my new contemporary, Isle of Hope, releases November 1st, so I’ve been busy getting that to press along with a Christmas novella called “The Best Gift of All,” which is part of the Home For Christmas Historical Romance Collection.
My next writing projects will be to finish up a novella called “For Love of Liberty,” which is a Western novella that will kick off a Western series I am planning to write. Then I hope to begin book 2 of the Isle of Hope series, Everlasting Love, which will be about the shy twin sister of the hero from Isle of Hope, Shannon O’Bryen. Here’s the one-sentence blurb: A shy romance writer wounded by a man who used her befriends a handsome player who seeks her advice on love—and eventually her heart.
4. What does your writing process look like?
Not exactly sure what you mean by my “writing process,” but I kick the day off with coffee on the dock with my hubby in warm weather, then my devotional/Bible/prayer time followed by worship music on the treadmill. I usually tackle email and promotion first, then dive into writing. When I’m beginning a new book or novella, I will do research, then draft a synopsis to help me think the plot through, followed by a chapter-by-chapter outline. I’m primarily a seat-of-the-pants writer rather than a plotter, so whether I stick to the outline is anybody’s guess.
5. Where is your favorite place to write?
Ha! In a chaise lounge, either on my dock or my veranda three seasons out of four. Right now I am out on my veranda all bundled up in a blanket and fleece until the temp rises to 70, at which point I will probably head on down to the dock to work, which definitely makes me a “happy camper.” ;) But I can write anywhere as long as I have hazelnut coffee, lip gloss, and ear plugs. :)
6. How important are the names in your novels? How do you choose names for your characters? Do you have any name resources you would suggest?
Names are very, VERY important to me! I reallllly like a name that has a lot of nicknames associated with it because I like to change it up so I’m not using the same name over and over. For instance in Isle of Hope, the heroine’s name is Lacey Carmichael, so I have the hero call her “Lace” and then “Mike” and “Alycia Anne” when he’s mad at her. And since I love to write Irish family sagas, I have a number of Irish name websites that I frequent to come up with both male and female names as well as surnames. But basically, I’ll just Google what I need, and tons of websites pop up.
7. If you could choose someone famous to star in one of your books made to a movie, who would you choose and for which character?
I’ll do even better than that. Here is a wonderful montage made by a dear reader friend who took the time and trouble to select celebrity pix for all of my O’Connor characters from my first two series, The Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change.
Then as far as Isle of Hope goes, I absolutely LOVE the attached celebrity pix for Jack O’Bryen and Lacey Carmichael — can you guess who they are?
8. What inspired the idea for the Isle of Hope series?
The inspiration for Isle of Hope came from my own estranged relationship with my father after he kicked me out of the house when I was 21. Loosely based on my own life, it’s the story of a woman who has recently come to Christ and the first thing God tells her to do is to heal her relationship with her father, who kicked her out eight years earlier. At that time she was a good girl gone wild, engaged to a pastor’s son who planned to be a minister. But when the hero’s minister father has an affair with the heroine’s mother, the tragedy tears both families apart as well as the heroine’s relationship with her boyfriend. So eight years later, she’s back to make amends to her dad, the boyfriend she deserted, and his sister who was her best friend. Only this time the tables are turned because now she’s the Christian and he’s the bad boy who wants nothing to do with God.
9. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
That’s easy: watching Hallmark movies or old movies (Gone With the Wind, That Touch of Mink, Susan Slept Here, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hitch, Pride & Prejudice, Phantom of the Opera, Mama Mia are some of my favorites) and bike riding with my hubby. And, yes, he actually made me buy those silly biking shorts with the padded seat! Of course my favorite pastime is reading, which I do whenever I can, be it the powder room, doctor’s office, car, at train stops, in store lines, or before bed. And then this summer we moved to a lake, so I reallllly enjoy taking long walks along the shoreline and sitting on the dock of the bay wastin’ time. ;)
Thank you, Sydney, for hosting me on your blog—it’s been a pleasure!
I love to hear from reader friends, so if they like, they can contact me and read excerpts from my books at www.julielessman.com, or through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest or by signing up for my newsletter. I also have a blog called “Journal Jots,” which is a very laid-back journal to my reader friends, or readers can check out my favorite romantic and spiritual scenes from each of my books on the “Excerpts” tab of my website. 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 and 2014 “Best 101 Websites for Writers,” it is also a blog devoted to readers as well.
Check out my review for:
ISLE OF HOPE (coming soon...)
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