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 Lessman was named American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered 17 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 list of Top Ten Novels 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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NEWSLETTER | THE SEEKERS | JOURNAL JOTS
1. What do you want readers to take away from reading your Isle of Hope Series?
The main message I’d like readers to take away from my Isle of Hope series can actually be summed up by my favorite quote from Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love, where the pastor father who destroyed his family through an adulterous affair conveys to his son the most important lesson he has ever learned:
“It took losing everything, Son, including my life, to finally understand what I was too blind to see. Everything to liberate me from the same pride that lost Lucifer his soul. And that is—God alone is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the beat of my pulse. He is the strength in my bones. He is my beginning and my end, and there is no hope in anything—” His father took a step forward, an almost ethereal glow of faith in his eyes like nothing Jack had ever seen, “anything … except Him.”
And what do you want readers to take away from reading Love Everlasting in particular?
That our confidence and strength has to come from God, not people, things, or careers and that true love—the kind that lasts a forever—can only come when the God Who loves “forever” is part of the equation.
2. How/why did you decide it was best to indie or self-publish the Isle of Hope Series?
Well … I actually pitched the Isle of Hope series to my former publisher, Revell, and they actually wanted it. But … they asked me to cut it in half (it’s 520 pages) and tone the spirituality way down. Both my agent and I agreed that since Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love is loosely based on my own dysfunctional relationship with my estranged father at the heroine’s age, it was far too personal — and far too powerful according to my agent — to cut down the heart of the message. And that message can be summed up in a quote from the book: “Forgiveness is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves.”
Has it reached the reader audience as well as you had hoped?
Unfortunately, no, which is a shame because it really is a life lesson I learned the hard way that can open others’ eyes to the critical importance of forgiveness — and hope — in our lives.
3. What are some of your favorite books? Have these influenced your writing?
As far as favorite books, well, number one is no secret--Gone With the Wind. This is the book that launched my romance-writing career at the age of 12, and I think I may be one of the few people around who actually LOVED Scarlett O’Hara. And don’t even get me started about Rhett Butler (be still, my heart!). Another all-time favorite of mine is To Kill A Mockingbird—incredible storytelling!
Some of my classic Inspirational favorites are Francine Rivers, of course, particularly her Mark of the Lion series—awesome, and then Liz Curtis Higgs’ Scottish trilogy, Fair is the Rose, Thorn in My Heart and Whence Comes a Prince—probably one of my favorite series of all time! But I also absolutely adore newer authors like Laura Frantz, especially her Love’s Reckoning and The Mistress of Tall Acre novels and MaryLu Tyndall’s, both of whom I read everything they write. The list of favorites goes on and on and is too long to list here, but pretty much everything from A to W (i.e. Tamera Alexander in the historical vein, to Becky Wade in the contemporary). J
4. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming a writer ever cross your mind?
LOL … Miss America, or at least that was my Halloween costume three or four years in a row! But becoming a writer? Ah, yes, that dream was born when I was twelve after reading Gone With the Wind. That amazing book immediately inspired me to begin my own novel at that same age, a 150-page, single-spaced manuscript that actually became the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure, some forty years later.
In fact, I was so hooked on romance after reading GWTW, that when I was in high school, I dressed up as a nun to go to a free showing of GWTW for the local religious and clergy. One of my friends had a sister in the convent, so she loaned us novice habits and off we went! I sat there mesmerized, shoving free popcorn into my mouth as I watched the tug-o-war between Rhett and Scarlett. It was one of the most fun times of my teens … until we ran into the nuns from our high school! Whew, we got into trouble … but it was soooo worth it (at least at the time!).
5. What is your current writing project? What can you tell us about this project?
My current WIP (work in progress) is book 1 of the Silver Lining Ranch series called Love’s Silver Lining, which comes out next year with Gilead Publishing. But first I hope to release a prequel novella to that series early next year called For Love of Liberty, and readers can find out more about that and The Silver Lining Ranch Series here.
Then I hope to tackle book 3 in the Isle of Hope Series, Unchanging Love, which will release in Fall 2017. It will be the love story of Shannon’s twin sister, Cat, and Pastor Chase Griffin, the ex-Navy Seal who woos a wayward girl back to God--and to himself. Here’s the premise: A bold and independent woman challenges the ideals and—and the morals—of a pastor who loves her no matter the mistakes that she makes.
Of course, down the road, I still have plans to pen several more O’Connor trilogies based on the cousins from the families of the hero/heroine couples in The Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series, beginning with Gabe, Henry, and Hope, all the way down to Katie and Luke’s children.
Sydney, thank you SO much for hosting me on your blog—it’s been fun! I love to hear from readers, so they can find and contact me at www.julielessman.com, or through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest or by signing up for my newsletter or my Journal Jots blog. I am also part of a group blog called Seekerville that inspires, encourages, teaches, and informs aspiring writers on the road to publication and beyond. Although Seekerville has been listed on Writers Digest 2013, 2014, and 2015 “Best 101 Websites for Writers,” it is also a blog devoted to readers as well.
Oh, and readers can also check out my favorite romantic and spiritual scenes from each of my books on the “Excerpts” tab of my website.
Finally, I have the following FREEBIE & SALE currently going on:
Thanks and hugs,
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