About the Author
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. A lover of all things Irish, she enjoys writing close-knit Irish family sagas that evolve into 3-D love stories: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together.
Author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, and Heart of San Francisco series, Julie was named American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered 18 Romance Writers of America and other awards. Voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also named on Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and Borders Best Fiction list.
Julie’s most recent novel, Isle of Hope was voted on Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2015, and Surprised by Love appeared on Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2014. Her independent novel 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. Julie has also written a self-help workbook for writers entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets. You can contact Julie through her website and read excerpts from each of her books at www.julielessman.com.
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1. How many novels have you written? Are all of them published?
Yes, every one of the 19 books I have written — thirteen novels, five novellas, and one writer’s workbook — are all published, nine traditionally and nine independently. Sometimes I wish I had a ton of unpublished manuscripts under my bed like many authors do so that I could polish and publish them on my own. But I don’t because the first book I ever wrote — A Passion Most Pure — was published by Revell along with eight subsequent books in three series, so I guess I can’t really complain.
2. What is your current WIP? What can you tell us about this project?
Well, my current WIP is book 3 in my Isle of Hope Series, His Steadfast Love, which sadly enough for me, is the final book in this contemporary series that I have really grown to love. It’s the story of a prodigal and a pastor thrown together by family and by God, creating quite a few sparks on the Isle of Hope. Here’s the jacket blurb:
She’s bent on fun.
He’s bent on faith.
Till true love bridges the gap.
Cat O’Bryen is the prodigal daughter unhappy with God. First, the father with whom she reconciled dies of cancer and now her twin sister and best friend marries, leaving Cat at home with a newlywed mother, her new husband, and a little brother. But when Cat moves in with a roommate of questionable morals, her family is worried, certain she’s on a path that could damage her faith forever.
Reluctant to get involved with a woman like the one who destroyed his life, ex-Navy SEAL Pastor Chase Griffin steers clear of the attraction he feels for Cat O’Bryen. Until her family begs him to take her under his wing, hoping he can draw her back into the fold. But when the draw she has on him proves too strong to resist, he must rely on the strength of God to offer a friendship as steady and strong as the God whose love is wooing her home.
3. What inspired the idea for His Steadfast Love?
Well, the entire Isle of Hope series was inspired by my own dysfunctional relationship with my estranged dad, in which God taught me how to really forgive. Book 1, Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love (which is now on e-sale for 99 cents, by the way, and its prequel novella, A Glimmer of Hope, is available for FREE DOWNLOAD), was basically a therapy session for me and admittedly, one of the most important books I’ve ever written.
Prior to writing it, God brought me to a place where He asked me to step away from business as usual to take a sabbatical to focus more on Him, family, and writing for the sheer joy of writing. So I told my publisher I wouldn’t be pitching any new books or series for a while. During that time I wrote Isle of Hope instead, and from there, books 2 and 3 just flowed from my pen as easily as forgiveness from my heart once God taught me how to let go.
That’s a roundabout way to get to your question of what inspired the idea for His Steadfast Love, but truly, I just saw Cat’s story as the culmination of a series on forgiveness. I had a strong sense from the beginning that this book would have a deep spiritual impact on readers, so I was really excited about that. But when I got around to writing the final four chapters, I’ll admit that I was disappointed in the spiritual takeaway. So much so, that I hit the wall and couldn’t finish those last four chapters.
So I prayed hard for God to give me a powerful wrap-up, and BOOM! Just like that (well, it took a couple of days), God brought a memory back to me that I’d forgotten, a second HUGE lesson on forgiveness that literally changed my life. It involved a hidden bitterness for my baby sister whom I loved with all my heart and soul, just like Cat loves her twin sister Shannon, so I never really knew it was there. But just because we don’t know a sin is there doesn’t stop the stronghold it has in your life, a lesson that I — and Cat — had to learn all too well.
4. What do you want readers to take away from reading His Steadfast Love?
Besides the usual wisdom of purity before marriage that God taught this 70’s wild child way back when, there is the deep, deep message of buried bitterness in people’s lives that needs to be addressed in order for that person to really be free in Christ. That’s what I hope this book truly imparts to everyone who reads it.
5. What other “hats” do you wear other when you are not writing?
Mmm … hats, huh? Well, I don’t physically wear many hats, but I do love being a wife, mom, and grandmother (aka Juju), which are the true highlights of my life. But I also really enjoy hobnobbing with neighbors and friends since we live on a lake and only see most of them on weekends. And although I am not athletic at all, my husband has been nudging me into kayaking, biking, swimming, and boating, so this summer has been really fun.
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