Friday 26 December 2014

Best of the ACW Archives: Author Interview with Julie Lessman

By Ellie Whyte

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 14 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as “Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction.” She resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter and is the author of “The Daughters of Boston” series, the “Winds of Change” series, and the “Heart of San Francisco” series.

The following is a 2013 interview with Julie.

Tell us a little about yourself

Well, I’m a baby boomer married to a man who makes me feel like I’m living my own personal romance novel. We have a 29-year-old son and a doctor daughter-in-law (for whom I prayed since my son was a baby) and a precious 15-month-old granddaughter. Our 25-year-old daughter, who graduated from law school and got engaged last year, hates to read so, yes, it’s true—I paid her $20 just to read the first chapter of my first book A Passion Most Pure. I’m happy to say it hooked her, and the rest of the books didn’t cost me a dime! ;)

How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write?

My romance-writing career began at the tender age of twelve when I read Gone With the Wind, after which I immediately sat down to begin my own novel, a 150-page, single-spaced manuscript that is actually the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. I was SO hooked on romance after reading GWTW, that when I was in high school, I actually dressed up as a nun to go to a free showing 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!

What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

Are you kidding? It puts God smack dab where He should be—in the dead center of our lives. I am a Christian romance writer, and for me, romance is not romantic unless God is in the middle. For my tastes, there’s nothing “sexy” about sin in a romance novel or movie. I’ve had people tell me that Bridges of Madison County was one of the most romantic films they have ever seen. Come again??? Since when is adultery romantic, no matter the situation! Maybe that’s just me, but I personally can’t enjoy romance (in a movie or book) unless it is according to God’s precepts OR unless it uses sin to point the reader TO His precepts. That’s the reason I LOVE Inspirational Romance so much. And, yes, “faith” (or spiritual passion) is the key component in my novels … with romantic passion hot on its heels!

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