Friday, February 8, 2008

"A Passion Most Pure" Interview and Book Giveaway!

"A Passion Most Pure" Interview with Julie Lessman and
Autographed Book Giveaway!

Readers - let me preface this interview by saying that my personal opinion of this book is that it is an absolute classic and we will be reading about the O'Conner family for many years and these are the kind of books that you will save on your shelf and pass on to your daughters and granddaughters. Legacy books this classic do not come along very often - at all... so don't pass up the opportunity to get to know the O'Conners and of course - Julie Lessman...

1) Sometimes people think of authors as being bigger than life and not "real", so I thought we would start off with a very important question, one that will show people just how real you are! "What dessert can you not resist when it is time to indulge?"

Grin. Well, Camy Tang asked me this question, only she phrased it as “what dessert would you be,” and my answer would be the same to both of you—peach cobbler! Why, you ask? Because it’s moan good and because although I was a bit of a “tart” before I came to Christ, He’s turned me into a real peach who sometimes is a bit fuzzy and a little too juicy.

2) I was blown away by "A Passion Most Pure" and I don't say that lightly. I would seriously put this book on the same level with "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott and I believe it has the same staying power. Did you have any idea when you wrote it that 100 years from now young ladies could still be reading and enjoying it (though they'll be purchasing it in the "classics section" in the year 2108)?

Yeah, well now it’s my turn to be blown away, Janna! Are you kidding? Louis May Alcott??? I still think you may be swilling strong cold medication, but I am THRILLED that you think so! And, NO, when I was writing it, the thought never even crossed my mind that anybody would be reading it – EVER!! Oh, sure, I hoped they would, but I honestly had no idea if I was a good writer or not. I mean I think I used to be back in high school (I was yearbook editor, newspaper editor, published in National Anthology of High School Poetry,etc.), but come on, that was a long, LONG time ago, so I just wasn’t sure anymore. But a “classic”? Uh, only in the age department, I think!

3) I have an older sister (like Faith) and I'm not much younger (like Charity) though I don't think we ever had a thing for the same guy (except maybe Pierce Brosnan on Remington Steele) but rivalry nonetheless. To write as realistically as you did - you must have experienced some of that yourself - tell us a little about growing up as Julie...

Sibling rivalry? With three brothers and NINE sisters??? Uh, yeah, you might say that. When I was little, my brothers and sisters used to call me “Walking Nervous Breakdown.” Okay, so I’m a bit wired … there’s no harm in that, is there? I mean I do everything fast (except interviews!). I walk fast, I talk fast and I eat fast—a natural byproduct of being # 12 in a family of 13. Imagine 15 people at a Last Supper-style Formica table with long red vinyl benches on either side. Like a school of sharks waiting for meat to hit the water. If you didn’t grab for the grub, chances are there wouldn’t be anything left. Can you say “plague of locusts”? To this day, buffets put a twitch in my eye because I feel like the food will run out.

But the sister with whom I had the most rivalry is my sister, Ellie, who was two years older than me. And yes, Charity is loosely based on Ellie because like Faith and Charity, Ellie and I often butted heads because she was … ahem … quite voluptuous and very attractive to boys while I was … well, basically not! I mean, this is the sister with whom I had hair-pulling fights while growing up, and even one or two as adults (imagine me in a suit and heels, rolling around the floor in a fight with her during our twenties)! I spent over thirty years praying for her and trying to reach out until five years ago when she became a born-again Christian. Now she is a beautiful sister in the Lord as well as in blood, and truly one of my most ardent intercessors and supporters. I love her more than I can say.

4) Half of this book is set in Boston and the other half is set in Ireland. My husband is Irish and we have always wanted to go to Ireland - your settings and descriptions are fantastic - have you been to Ireland... you know, purely for research of course!

Oh, how I wish!! Nope, I just have always had a fascination with Ireland ever since I read Gone With the Wind (the O’Hara’s fascinated me, especially Scarlett!). And, oh, your husband is Irish? Mmm … well, you already know from the book how I feel about Irish men! But back to settings and descriptions—thank you for your comment! Unfortunately my image of Ireland is all from research, but I would dearly love to visit there some day.

5) Now my sister and I (rivalry remember) read A Passion Most Pure within days of each other and discussed it at Christmas. We had a disagreement over who book #2 would be about and low and behold my sister was right. So Charity will be the heroine of book #2 which is actually a relief to me because as much as I didn't like Charity in book #1, I identified with her the most (sad isn't it!). So tell me, in book #2 will I end up liking my alter ego?

Omigosh, YES!! Hard to believe, isn’t it? I hate to admit this, but Book 2, A Passion Redeemed, is my VERY favorite of all three books of the series, even though everyone who has read Book 3, A Passion Denied, seems to like it the best. I guess I hate to admit it because the heroine is such a Scarlett O’Hara-type character, which is not appealing to most people. But Charity O’Connor is such a wonderfully flawed heroine, that it was sooo much fun to bring her to God and follow her through all of her antics before she gets there. Also, A Passion Redeemed reminds me a lot of the old-fashioned romance movies where the utterly male hero butts heads with the feisty heroine (think The Quiet Man or It Happened One Night), when deep down underneath, there’s an attraction so charged, the two light up whenever they connect.

6) I know this is a trilogy, but I'm a little sad because I'd like to know more about Faith's older brother, Sean... will we have a chance to get to really know him better in the future?

Well, as a matter of fact, I am in the process of putting together a proposal for another 3-book series about the O’Connors, and yes, I do hope to write a book on both Sean and Steven (The Brothers of Boston series … original, eh?). The plan is to write Katie’s story first (Book 4: Katie coming of age in the Roaring Twenties … can you say FUN?) and develop both of Sean and Steven’s characters in Katie’s story. Then, Sean’s story will be Book 5, and Steven’s will be Book 6. Several of my writer friends at work (who have already read all three books and are aware of a very charged sub-story between Marcy and Patrick in Book 3) think I need to also write a prequel about Marcy and Patrick, which I may well do. Time will tell.

7) I love that Faith has an unexpected spiritual mentor in Mrs. Gerson, something that is important to spiritual development in all of us. Did you have a spiritual mentor in your own life that you drew aspects of Mrs. Gerson from?

Uh, yeah, I think she’s up for canonization next month! Honestly, I was such a brat to the woman who brought me to the Lord, that it’s a wonder she had anything to do with me at all. I was a 23-year-old hardnosed agnostic from a devout but dysfunctional Catholic family of 13 kids and so angry at God that I actually used to say I wanted to burn Gideon Bibles in hotel rooms. As a wild child of the 60s and 70s, I tried everything to be happy—from astrology and tarot cards … to transcendental meditation and witchcraft—you name it. My vocabulary would have made a sailor blush.

Enter MY Mrs. Gerson—this annoying gal at work who had a lesser job than me, was divorced with a kid and no boyfriend in sight. I hated her because she came in humming every day, happy as a lark while I was utterly miserable. And then it happened—one life-altering moment when she and I were alone—I looked up from my typewriter and said, “Just what in the heck (except my language was a bit saltier back then) makes you so happy all the time?” She said, “I’ve been praying you would ask.”

Oh, no, a Jesus freak, I thought to myself, but I found myself going to lunch with her, badgering her with questions and accusations. I don’t remember now if it was weeks or months, but either way, I met Jesus Christ through the remarkable patience of a God-sent angel by the name of Joy—pretty appropriate name, eh? That woman spent two years of her life ministering to me on a one-to-one basis, sometimes two to three nights a week, praying with me, introducing me to God’s Word and teaching me about His remarkable inner healing. I owe her my life.

8) Now that we have hopefully whet everyone's appetites for A Passion Most Pure, fill us in on what is upcoming on your schedule that we have to look forward to...

Well, I hope to begin Katie’s story in the next few months and create a newsletter which will keep readers updated on The Daughters of Boston series, plus all the fun things that go on such as title selection, promotion and cover design (YOWZA, wait till you get a glimpse of the male cover model for Book 2—guaranteed to make this book sprout wings and fly off the shelves! J). (And just a side note—I will be having a contest for an autographed hardback copy of A Passion Most Pure for anyone who signs up for my newsletter (or has signed up) on my Web site at Then, of course, Charity’s story (Book 2, A Passion Redeemed) and Beth’s story (Book 3, working title A Passion Denied) will be out in September 2008 and February 2009. Whew! Lots to do!

Thank you so much for visiting with us about your debut novel today, Julie - I know you've been extremely busy on making the interview rounds lately! How can readers find you online? Where is the best place for them to go buy your book - in other words do you know of any websites that aren't currently sold out?

No, thank you, Janna, for hosting me on your blog! It was a lot of fun. And, yeah, I was pretty shocked when somebody e-mailed me that has had A Passion Most Pure on backorder for weeks! What a great problem to have, eh? I think may still have some, or you can check with your local Christian bookstore, Barnes & Nobles, Borders, etc. to make sure they have a copy before you make the trip. I was shocked to learn that even selective Wal-marts are carrying it too. Wow! And, of course, readers can always find me online (along with a schedule of book giveaways/interviews) at

And fair readers, do not despair - Julie has agreed to give away an autographed copy of A Passion Most Pure to one of you blessed readers. So leave a comment telling us why this sounds like a book you would like to read and be sure to leave some kind of contact information as well (I will not put your name in the drawing if I don't have a way to get a hold of you) and I will pull a winner! ***For North Platte readers - I was at Waldenbooks tonight and they had 3 copies on the shelves so I know it is available here :-)


Nora St. Laurent said...

This book looks really interesting. The interview was very infomative. It's great to get to know new authors.

Please enter me to the drawing to win the book. I would love to read it.
Thanks :)

windycindy said...

Thanks for a very interesting interview! Wow, what a large family she comes from. That would have made life quite amusing! I know I would really enjoy reading this book.
Please enter me in your drawing.

Anonymous said...

This book sounds so good, please enter me, thanks!

Amy said...

Awesome interview! I hope we get every single book that was mentioned in this post! :) lol!

(oh, don't enter me, I've already read the book!)

ladystorm said...

Would love to win this book. Please enter me.


Camy Tang said...

Julie, you had 13 siblings????? Oh my garlic. No wonder you're such a firecracker! LOL

Thanks for the great interview, Janna and Julie! Don't enter me for the giveaway--I've got a copy of my own!

Pamela J said...

Hang in there all you in commenter's cyberspace! I have just won my copy and it is on it's way so keep working at it. I can truthfully say even before I read it that it is a book well worth the effort. I am SO looking forward to all the action coming up with all the 'next' ones. Please don't enter me... this time. (see the smile on my face?)

Mary Connealy said...

Don't include me in the contest I already have two copies. One to cherish and one to share.

Julie??? Hardcover? Is this something new?

An Janna, North Platte, huh? I know we've talked about this but I'd forgotten just how far west you are, girl.

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, everyone, for dropping by, and ESPECIALLY Janna for hosting me on her blog!

LOL, Camy, I guess I can be a "firecracker," especially when I get my "Irish" up!

And PRAISE GOD that Pamela J FINALLY won!!! Yeah, Pam, you posted so many wonderful comments on all my interviews that I was going to pop for a book and send it to you, just to put you out of your misery! :) Thanks for your enthusiasm ... hope it's still there when you finish it!!!


bigguysmama said...

Great interview! Please enter me to win Julie's book. It's exciteing to hear that her books are flying off the shelf!


Anonymous said...

Howdy! Please enter me to win this wonderful sounding book. Thanks! God Bless!

Jennifer AlLee said...

Another great interview from Julie! Thanks to you and to Janna. Please enter me in the drawing... I know this book's a keeper!

Be blessed!

jallee725 [at] hotmail [dot] com

Anonymous said...

Janna -
Your comment about A Passion Most Pure being akin to Little Women has whetted my appetite. Please enter me in your contest for this book. I really enjoyed your interview!
Dawn Thomason (

Doreen said...

I would love a copy of this book!

pat jeanne said...

This series of books sounds like the kind of stories I would enjoy reading since I'm a huge fan of Little Women. I adore a fiesty woman such as Charity seems to be pitted against an immovable object. I am so happy that this debut novelist is having such success and creating lifetime readers.
Thank you, Jana, for the interview with Julie.
Please enter me for A Passion Most Pure.
Pat Davis

hippmom said...

These books sound great. Thanks for doing the interview, Janna. Please enter me in the drawing, too.

Patty said...

I would love to win this book. It seems to be all the rave, what everyone is talking about. I hope I win.

pleblanc_1 at charter dot net

swimtchr said...

Would love an opportunity to read this! Please enter me in the contest! Thanks, Renee'


Julie Lessman said...

Wow, Mimi, Kyndra, Jen, Dawn, Doreen, Hippmom and Patty -- I am blessed by your comments and wish that everyone could win! But I'm afraid my husband would string me up (he watches my author copies like a hawk 'cause I keep giving them away and HE has to pay for them!:))


Lora Lease said...

Okay, Janna, you have me totally eager to read this book! It sounds sooooooo good! Please enter me in the drawing.
Lora L

Mandy said...

I've heard so much about this book-- I'll definitely have to get ahold of it somehow :)
MLLoudRed [at] gmail [dot] com

Dona Watson said...

Great interview! Please enter me in the drawing.

Dona W.
dl watson at verizon [dot [net]

amiablerain said...

This sounds like a great book.
That is great news she in process of a book on both Sean and Steven.
Look forward to upcoming reading of this.

Thanks for interviewing her,Its really neat to hear from the authors pioint of view.

Please enter me in the drawing,thank you.

God bless

Cherie J said...

Please enter me in the drawing. I love a good romantic historical and this one certainly sounds like a winner. I am so intrigued by the great buzz it has been getting.

rae said...

please enter me in the draw.

diane said...

I love this author. Please neter me.

Laura said...

I read this book already and it was amazing. I couldn't get enough of it. I would love to have my own copy, please enter me in the draw!