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Friday, January 18, 2008

Spotlight on Julie Lessman and A Passion Most Pure

*** Don't forget to read about Jill Elizabeth Nelson from Wednesday's spotlight. No comments yet. Wouldn't want y'all to miss out on a FREE book. :) Read below today's spotlight. ***

Today, I have the privilege of introducing a brand new author to you. She has a great story to tell and a fantastic book to share. As a new author myself with a book releasing in February, I'm honored to have Julie with us today.



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. Her first book, A Passion Most Pure, was released January 2008. Visit her Web site at

by Julie Lessman
Published by Baker Publishing Group, Revell



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. But when Collin tries to win her sister Charity's hand, Faith isn't sure she can handle the jealousy she feels. To further complicate matters, Faith finds herself the object of Collin's affections, even as he is courting her sister. The Great War is raging overseas, and a smaller war is brewing in the O'Connor household. Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure will captivate readers from the first page. Book 1 of the Daughters of Boston series.


1. This is your first novel. Congratulations! And what a cover! Already the buzz is zipping around the Internet and publicity airwaves. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

Initially my inspiration was Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara, because from the moment I read Gone With the Wind, 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 (grin), but I did write 150 single-spaced pages of a story that is actually the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you look at it!), 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 much of your own experiences influenced the characters of Faith and Collin? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

With the heroine, Faith O'Connor, quite a bit. We both have hot tempers and get our "Irish" up more than we should. Also, you might say that Faith is my spiritual self. She has an intimate relationship with God—she talks and prays to Him as naturally as if He is her best friend, but she gets angry with Him too. I like to say that she (and I) are emotionally engaged with the God of the Universe—we laugh with Him, tear up at His goodness to us, and worship Him with all of our hearts. As a matter of fact, Faith and I are so much alike in the spiritual aspect, that a good friend once told me that reading A Passion Most Pure was "like going to lunch with me." I hope that's a good thing!

As far as the hero goes, Collin McGuire is shaped and molded by his anger toward God, much like I was before I came to the Lord. His bitterness changes him from a loving, caring human being into a womanizer who has a grudge against religion and morality, not unlike me as a wild child of the 70's. But God gripped my heart, just as He does Collin, in a way that changed both of our lives forever. Yeah, God!

As far as traits that were theirs alone, I can't really think of any. Mmm...apparently I'm writing about myself in these books … :)

3. What themes exist in A Passion Most Pure that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

Well, the most important theme I want readers to see is how natural and fulfilling an intimate relationship with God can and should be. Like breathing. He should be a first resort, not a last one, and a best friend as well as Lord of your life. That's how He is to Faith and to me, and eventually to Collin as well.

The main theme of the book is based on the original title, which was A Chasing After the Wind, from Ecclesiastes 2:26. For me, "wind" is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Throughout the book, Faith is "chasing after the wind," that is, the Holy Spirit or God's leading in her life. Collin, too, is "chasing after the wind," but in his case, it is the wind of futility, chasing after his will (sin) rather than God's, which according to Solomon, is "meaningless" and nothing more than "a chasing after the wind."

The most powerful theme of the book, in my opinion, is the message of Deuteronomy 30—the choice between life and death, blessing and curse. Simple application of God's Word—choosing to do things His way rather than our own. Whether it's praying for someone who just cut you off on the road rather than flipping them off, or choosing to remain silent when a morsel of gossip is salivating in your mouth, a decision awaits each of us every minute of every day. But, oh my, the benefits attached to our obedience are PHENOMENAL!! Blessings will overtake you, which is a lesson my heroine in A Passion Most Pure learns, and eventually each of the sisters in the series as well.

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

Well, there weren't any "difficult" parts to write in this one (now book 3, A Passion Denied is another story altogether, but I digress), but there were parts that were easier and more fun to write, such as love scenes—my all-time favorite!! I like tension, lots and LOTS of romantic tension, so when I write those scenes, my keyboard is smoking because my fingers fly. In fact, one of my friends wanted to know why I couldn't just write a nice, "sweet" love scene. Duh, because I would fall asleep! :) Even my husband noticed the fast and furious pace of my love scenes—he said he would be meandering along in a nice, easy passage and then, bam! A love scene would hit, and before he knew it, he was 20 pages down the road! :)

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

Book 2, A Passion Redeemed, will be released in September 2008 (in time for the ACFW book signing at Mall of America, I hope!). Book 2 is Charity's story, a woman who puts her faith in her beauty rather than in God. It is a story of redemption and faith rising from the ashes of temptation, desire and shame. Here is a brief description:

Depth of beauty...shallow of heart, Charity O'Connor is a woman who gets what she wants. She sets her sights on a cantankerous Irishman who has stolen her heart. But although the sparks are there, he refuses to fan the coals of a potential relationship with a woman who ruined his life. She burned him once; he won't play with matches again. But Charity has a plan to turn up the heat, hoping to ignite the heart of the man she loves. And she always gets what she wants—one way or another.

Thank you, Tiff, for having me as your guest—it's been fun!

* * * * *

Thanks, Julie, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE copy of A Passion Most Pure. If you don't wish to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname or that it's available for viewing in your blogger profile, since many of you don't return to check the winner notification. Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.


Cherie J said...

Ooh! This is one that I want bad. Please enter me in the drawing for what sounds like a fabulous book.

windycindy said...

I love the looks and sound of this book! Please enter me in another one of your fabulous book giveaways!

Julie Lessman said...

Oooh, Cherie and Cindi, believe me, this is one I WANT you to have bad!! :) Thanks for your interest in A Passion Most Pure, and for posting a comment. I get lonely easily, and it means a lot! :)


Tiffany Stuart said...

Having a writers giveaway at The Writing Road blog. Hope you will stop in and post a comment to be included.

Emma said...

Great interview. This book sound very good. Please enter me in your fabulous book giveaways. Thank you.

Lori said...

)h yes, I'd love to be entered in the drawing! I've been reading Julie's interviews with interest, and not only does the book sound fabulous, but Julie, you seem like someone I'd want to invite over for girls night. :) Keep the books coming, chica!

aaronandlori (at) gmail (dot) com

Julie Lessman said...

Emma and Lori, thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments.

And Lori, if you're even remotely close to St. Louis, give me a date and a time and I'll be there, Chica! But I'll warn you -- you may have trouble shutting me up! :)

And Tiff Stuart, I tried to find the giveaway on The Writing Road Blog, but couldn't. Great blog, though! :)


Susie Greenfield said...

Julie, your new book sounds like a winner. Nothing shallow about these characters. Can't wait to see a sequel!

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, Susie, but you won't have too long to wait for the sequel ... next book is due out Sept. 2008, and let's just say that Charity goes from "shallow" to "deep" a little more quickly than she would like. But, oh, was it fun to straighten that girl out!! :)


Margo Carmichael said...

Hi, Julie, Amber! Congratulations, Julie! The book looks darlin,' darlin'! Please enter me and please leave a comment on my blogger blog if I win.

Julie, I love GWTW, too. Now I'm reading _Rhett Butler's People_.

Thanks, you two.

God bless~

Julie Lessman said...

Hey Margo,

Thanks for stopping by! I've ALWAYS liked you a lot, but now that I know you love GWTW, I like you even more! :) I heard Rhett Butler's People was good ... guess I'm going to have to break down and buy it!


ChristyJan said...

Oh! Please enter me! This sounds like a great book!

hawkes AT

Missy Tippens said...

I've just started the book and am loving it!! (So don't enter me in the contest.)

Great writing, Julie! thanks, ladies, for the great interview.


Julie Lessman said...

Christyjan, thanks for your comment and for stopping by!

And Missy, you little doll -- thanks for the plug! :)


Hannah said...

I'd love to win a copy of this book! hsmuda[at]gmail[dot]com
great interview!!

Margo Carmichael said...

Back at ya, Julie. : ) Plus, great minds think alike--so they say. LOL

Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

Wow! Look at all of this activity. :) I wasn't kidding when I said Julie's book was already generating a LOT of buzz in the industry. This only proves it. :)

Thanks so much to everyone who's commenting and thanks, Julie, for replying to everyone. The winner of the drawing will be announced tomorrow, so come back and check to see if you've won.

Tomorrow's spotlight is on Cheryl Wyatt for another debut author feature. Be back then!

Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

WHOOPS, I meant this coming FRIDAY for Julie. Tomorrow's is the drawing for Jill's book. My mistake.

P.S. Thought y'all might find this humorous, but I get notified of comments to thsi blog via email. Started looking for feedback on Julie's spotlight and never saw any comments. Then, I checked my deleted items folder and found all of the emails.

The 'bad word' filter was deleting the post notifications because of the title of Julie's book including 'passion' in it. LOL! Guess we have to be careful what we title our books. :)

Lori said...

Julie, actually, I live in KC, so if you ever want to do a book signing over here, let me know! I'd love to help with publicity, etc. I'm sure we could squeeze in a break for coffee and girl talk somewhere. ;)

Julie Lessman said...

Awesome ... now I'm spam!! :)

Actually, Tiff, your filter proves a very important point as to "A Passion Most Pure." Passion is NOT a bad word, especially when it is passion for God. And, it's been my experience that when passion for God is first and foremost in our lives, the other kind of passion is pretty darn great!! :)

Thank you everyone who took the time to comment -- I really appreciate it! And thanks, Tiff, for this great opportunity.


Julie Lessman said...

Hi Lori, thanks for the offer! I'm not crazy about book signings (yeah, I know I have to do them), but I would LOVE to sit down and have a cup of coffee with you! If I ever get to K.C. (we pass through all the time on the way to Omaha where our married son lives), then you are the FIRST person I'm looking up! :)


Pamela J said...

I was SO excited to find this interview with Julie here. I came here on Novelinspiration's newsletter suggesting that I check out this site. I am in my ACTIVE PURSUIT to sign giveaways for this VERY book because I want it so bad and stumbled onto this one quite by accident. (or was it God's direction) A comment on the interview: the statement was made "Simple application of God's Word" is where my heart is. We got a new preacher 5 years ago and he is all about personal application of scriptures. Before that, I hadn't a clue but those applications are coming to life and rip through me like Julie says her fingers smoke the keypad when her romance scenes happen. I can't WAIT to get ahold of Julie's book, A Passion Most Pure, to read. I may celebrate by staying up all night to finish it.
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Pamela J said...

So sorry, I did make a mistake about this site being suggested by Novelinspirations, but did get a great suggested site and I intend to go there next. I got this one quite by accident by hunting up Cheryl Wyatt's interview and moved on down the page and found this one. My mistake in speaking, not God's mistake in directing.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

I don't need to be entered but I just wanted to say how proud I am of Julie...and so excited to dive into her debut book!

Also can't wait for the other daughters of Boston to hit shelves!


Cheryl Wyatt

Julie Lessman said...

Pamela J!!!! OMIGOSH, I have never received a post that has blessed me more! Application of scripture is KEY and a heart ministry to me. You are blessed to have a pastor who is preaching that, and even more blessed to be living it. To me, application of God's Word is the missing link to victory in the lives of Christians.Thank you for your wonderful post! And I have a feeling that whether or not you like the story in A Passion Most Pure, you are sure to love the life lessons that Faith O'Connor learns by applying scripture!

I am praying right now that you win a copy of this book. Please do check out my Web site at, under Julie's Calendar where I list upcoming blog interviews, many of which have giveaways. Also, Cheryl Wyatt and I are both blessed to be a part of a group blog called The Seekers (, and we are giving away a copy of A Passion Most Pure and an Amazon gift card this week if your name is drawn from a pool of entrants who leave a comment on one of the Seeker posts throughout the week.

Again, thank you, Pam, for your sweet note. It made my day ... night ... week and month! :)


Julie Lessman said...

Cheryl sweetie, I am ALMOST done with A Soldier's Promise, and I don't want it to end!!! Wonderful story! I cannot wait to post on and tell the world! I am soooo proud of you I could SCREAM!! Can you hear me all the way over in Illinois????

Love you!

bigguysmama said...

Julie, after reading this blog, I'm hooked! Whether I win a book or not, I'll be having this book!;o) I'm so excited to see you'll be at the MOA and hopefully the 2nd book will be out! Being in Central MN gives me the chance to possibly meet so many authors in Sept and I'll be there to get you to sign a copy!! Yippy, please sign me up to win a copy.


Pamela J said...

Hey, I just wanted everyone to know how fun it was to send comments on this blog. No matter who wins this drawing, you can count on knowing you have been truly blessed!! Thanks to Amber for running the contest and thanks to Julie for donating the free book to whoever gets it. It was great getting to be here. I will stop by often. Happy reading! I am confident that God will provide my copy in His time, whenever that may be.
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Julie Lessman said...

Mimi and Pam, thanks for stopping by! I wish you ALL could win!!


Sue H. said...

Absolutely fantastic interview for what sounds like an outstanding novel...please enter me for the drawing. Thank you very much!!

Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

I'm a few days late with announcing this winner, but that's because there was SO much traffic visiting for both Julie's and then Cheryl's blog spotlights, that I exceeded my traffic quota and had to upgrade. As a result, my site was down for a couple days.

Not complaining a bit! I LOVE the traffic. :)

Now, it's my pleasure to award the FREE copy of Julie's debut novel to:


Congratulations! Now, please email me your mailing address and how you would like Julie to sign your book, so I can have her get it right out to you.

New winner for Cheryl's blog announced this coming Wednesday. Still two more days to post for your chance to win. Come back Wednesday to see if you won!

Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

Well, I never heard from Mimi, so I had to pick another winner. That person is:


Congratulations. Your mailing address has been forwarded to Julie and she'll be mailing out your book this week.

Another spotlight posted today. Check it out!

Cherie J said...

I got my copy today Tiff. It is on the top of my reading pile. Thank you so very much!