Dear Readers, I first met Julie at a small, intimate chocolate party at an ACFW conference a long time ago. We really clicked, so we’ve been friends since then. I told someone I wanted to write like her when I grew up J Her books are wonderful, and she knows how to pull the reader into the characters. Her books always have strong romantic tension, but in a pure way. You’ll love her books.
BIO: Award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, and Heart of San Francisco series with Revell Publishing, 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. Her latest novel, Surprised by Love, appeared on Family Fiction magazine’s list of Top Ten Novels of 2014, and 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.
Welcome back, Julie. As an author, I know it takes a lot of people to birth each book. Who were the people involved in the birthing of this book, and what were their contributions?
Well, first and foremost, the Holy Spirit is the main “person” involved since I felt prompted to write about the estranged relationship with my own dad and how I turned it around with God’s help. Secondly, both my husband and my dear friend, Bonnie Roof, encouraged me throughout the entire process, reading, proofing, and making suggestions. As did my fabulous agent, Natasha Kern, and even my wonderful editor at Revell, Lonnie Hull Dupont, was kind enough to offer suggestions even though I opted to publish Isle of Hope on my own.
From there, I did everything on my own, which to be honest, kind of shocks me! J From designing the cover that the Killion Group finalized (along with the formatting for both ebook and paperback) … to final edits after the Brandes editorial staff proofed it. Trust me, I was a nervous wreck clicking the “publish” button on both the Kindle and CreateSpace pages, but I did, and now I’m breathing a whole lot easier … whew!
If you teach or speak. What’s coming up on your calendar?
I actually don’t do a lot of speaking or teaching anymore since I took a sabbatical last year to focus more on God, family, and writing for the sheer joy of writing, but I do have a speaking gig scheduled at a Christmas luncheon in Birmingham, where my daughter lives, so I’m mixing business with pleasure.
That sounds like fun. Wish I could be there. If you had to completely start over in another place, where would you move, and why?
Ha! I already have. J My husband and I just moved from
St. Louis to the Lake
of the Ozarks this summer, where we both work from home. I write
on a veranda overlooking the lake while my hubby takes his coffee breaks down
on the dock, fishing or feeding the ducks—a long-held dream-come-true!
I grew up in the
beautiful. If you could only tell aspiring novelists one thing, what would it
I’d warn them about what an emotional roller-coaster it was going to be AFTER they get published. Like a lot of unpublished writers, I thought all the anxiety and self-doubt would dissipate after I signed on the dotted line. I mean that would validate me, right? Give me confidence as a writer? But I discovered that true confidence is not in accolades from your editor or a really good review, but instead in where your heart is with God. HE is my confidence when my sales rankings on Amazon.com are high or low, which is why I CLING to the following Scripture prayer from 2 Corinthians ll:3: Do not let my mind “be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
So to sum it up, my most significant advice for aspiring novelists is the critical truth that as Christian authors, we have to stay grounded in what God wants for us versus what we want for us. Sure, we would all love to be a bestselling author, but what does God want? I have learned (and very painfully, I might add) that I must become less so that He can become more. I often told fellow writer friends that I would give anything to have a spiritual lobotomy of sorts, where I could surgically remove that part of my writer’s brain that focuses on good reviews, book sales, and contest wins. But the reality is that I am a human being with a lot of flaws, and quite frankly, that’s the way God wants us—so flawed that we are forced to cling to Him, which I do, trust me!
That is so true. We authors have to grasp that truth and hold it close to our hearts. Tell us about the featured book.
Sure—here’s the jacket blurb:
Can a wild girl gone good
rebuild bridges with a good boy gone bad?
She’s the town flirt serving up trouble. He’s a pastor’s kid bent on serving God. Until tragedy separates them for eight years, turning tables—and hearts—to restore hope for them all.
At the age of eighteen, Lacey Carmichael was a wild girl bent on fun, promised to Jack O'Bryen, a straight-and-narrow pastor’s kid bent on the seminary. When her father kicks her out of the house, she runs away from Isle of Hope, turning her back on everything she loves. Now, eight years later, she’s back as a woman of faith, hoping to make amends to the father she defied, the boyfriend she deserted, and the best friend she denied. Only the bridges she’s burned are still smoldering, kindled by an adulterous affair by Jack’s pastor father that damaged his son’s faith. But can God’s unfailing love lead the way to His true “Isle of Hope”?
Please give us the first page of the book.
Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him.
Early Summer Hope, Georgia
When it comes to burning bridges, I am the Queen of Kerosene.
Puffing out a wispy sigh, Lacey Carmichael squinted into the rearview mirror to make sure the coast was clear, then dragged her bulging purse onto the seat with an unladylike grunt. The action caused her dusty blue Honda to swerve on
with her stomach.
Oh, crud! She straightened the wheel with a jerk, body rattling more than her 2008 Honda after a cross-country trip. Her gaze flicked to the mirror, and relief coursed like high tide. The road behind revealed nothing but palms and
silent sentinels ushering her home.
Home. Where full moons rose over the marsh and the scent of wisteria embraced summer nights. Where the lazy lull of river grasses swayed in the breeze, soothing a sleepy coastal community that burrowed into one’s memory like a long-lost friend. A haven where tidy cottages nestled next to lush antebellum homes, evoking a postcard setting that harkened back to a simpler time.
A simpler time?
Lacey sucked in a deep draw of the rich and humid low-country air that was pungent with the salty smell of the marsh, and instantly zipped back eight years to a time that had been anything but simple. Memories of an eighteen-year-old wild child constricted her throat. A rebel daughter who’d bolted from the hometown that had been anything but a home.
Her shoulders slumped as she passed the Piggly Wiggly.
What am I doing here?
She cut loose another gust of ragged air while her eyes focused straight ahead. Returning to the scene of the crime. The charred debris of all the mistakes that I’ve made. One hand welded to the steering wheel, she rifled through her studded leather purse with the other, fingers fumbling on a tube of lip-gloss. With amazing dexterity, she untwirled the screw-on cap and applied “Ooh La La,” then puckered her lips. Now if she could only gloss over her past as easily ...
The BP loomed ahead and she slapped on her blinker, veering in to park at the closest empty pump. Her car squealed to a stop at the exact moment the contents of her purse careened to the floor. Lacey, you lead foot—when are you going to learn? Mumbling under her breath, she turned the car off and leaned to pick up the spilled items. A woman’s high-pitched laughter suddenly riddled the air, desecrating the sacred strains of Justin Timberlake from a radio nearby.
“Jack, you bad boy,” a woman’s sultry voice said, drifting from the other side of the pump, “what am I going to do with you?”
“Well, I know a few things that come to mind.”
Wow! I can’t wait until my copy comes. It will go to the top of my to-be-read pile. I might even stop what I’m reading at the time and dive right in. Where can we find you on the Internet?
hosting me on your blog—it’s been fun! Readers can find and contact me 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.
Finally, I have the following sales/contests currently going on:
AWARD-WINNING IRISH LOVE STORY ON
SALE! The eBook for my Irish love story, A
Light in the Window—224 five-star reviews on Amazon and winner of three
awards—is on sale for only $.99, so I invite you to take a peek at the
excellent video my artist hubby did for A Light in the Window, starring my
daughter. ALITW Video.
Dec. 5-12, 2015 ONLY — O’connor christmas novellas on special CHRISTMAS sale! ‘Tis the season, and I’m ready for it with two novellas that are part of the Hope for the Holiday’s Historical Collection and the Home for Christmas Historical Romance Collection, both of which include novellas from other award-winning authors for only $.99 per collection, so I hope your readers check them out.
Calling All Writers!! My writer’s workbook entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets is on e-sale for $2.99
CONTEST TO HAVE A CHARACTER NAMED AFTER YOU IN MY NEXT BOOK, A SIGNED COPY, AND CHOICE OF ONE OF MY OTHER BOOKS. Sound good to you? If so, just head on over to the CONTEST tab of my website and check it out.
Thank you, Julie, for sharing this new book and these sales with us today.
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