Dark Glass Ponderings

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. -1 Corinthians 13:12

Interview with Julie Lessman, Plus Giveaway, Plus My Review of A Hope Undaunted!!! 



**Special thanks to Amy Riley of Winsome Media Communications and Revell Books for providing a copy to review as part of the tour.  The opinions expressed in the following review are entirely my own.**


Title: A Hope Undaunted
Series: Winds of Change #1
Author: Julie Lessman

My Rating: 5/5

My Review:  I think this may be my favorite Julie book to date!

Julie Lessman tackles what love means in a most profound way.  Through this book she encompasses passionate love, familial love, friendship love...each in a way that is so beautiful.  But in the end, Lessman emphasizes in this book that the greatest beauty is found in agape love and that through the Holy Spirit we can be filled with this love for others.  I loved how Lessman demonstrated agape love and total surrender to God's will.

The character development was excellent.  Katie, like Charity, wasn't an easy character to like in the beginning.  She is very self-centered and behaves like a spoiled child at times.  Yet as Katie matures and grows throughout the novel she becomes a young lady who is now chasing God's dreams instead of her own.

I also loved the way Lessman shows the effects of a tragedy in bringing the whole family together, in showing them what was truly important.  This part of the book left me misty-eyed and became an event that drummed out much of Katie's selfishness.  I'm reminded of God's refining process of myself during trials in my own life.

As a married woman in her thirties I LOVE that Lessman shows love in all its dimensions at different ages and stages.  Many books stop when the character walks down the aisle, but Julie Lessman's books show how love grows and deepens over time.

Lessman also deals with the consequences of past choices on our lives and relationships and underscores the importance of protecting our marriages.

One of my favorite aspects of this novel was the Boston Children's Aid Society and the children involved.  I hope to read more about the orphans in one of Julie's future novels.

On top of all this, soda shops, bobbed hair, and twenties slang make this a fun romp into an era not often portrayed in Christian fiction.  Towards the end of the novel, the devastating stock crash takes place.  I'm curious to see as the story continues on how the O'Connor family will be affected by this tragedy.

The only downside to this book is knowing I have to wait another year to read more about the O'Connors.


I'm thrilled to welcome Julie Lessman to Dark Glass Ponderings!!  Julie has kindly offered a copy of A Hope Undaunted OR one of her Daughters of Boston series to a reader...keep reading!!

Julie's Bio: 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 13 Romance Writer's 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, and daughter-in-law and is the author of the Daughters of Boston series, which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied.    You can contact Julie through her website at http://www.julielessman.com/.

Interview with Julie Lessman




Julia: Thank you so much for being here, Julie.  I'm thrilled to have you visit.  First of all, I wanted to let you know I love the cover. The gold and blue are gorgeous and I just love those 20s clothes. How did you choose the era of WWI to the Roaring 20s for your novels? Any favorite things about that particular era?


Julie Lessman: Thank you, Julia. I love this cover, too--Revell did an awesome job, as usual.


As far as choosing the time period of WWI through the Roaring 20s and Great Depression, there was a definite method to my madness. As you may already know, I started writing A Passion Most Pure at the age of twelve after reading Gone With the Wind and knew immediately I wanted an Irish family coping with a war (like GWTW), but didn't have the audacity to try another Civil War epic J. World War I seemed a good time period because it was 1) unique and seldom done, and 2) far enough from the Victorian era that it wouldn't restrict me romantically, but close enough to the Roaring Twenties that I could have a moral arena with a choice between being a good girl or bad girl.


To be honest with you, when I started writing A Passion Most Pure at the age of twelve and then finished it some 40 years later, I never really thought in terms of a continuing series, but as you know all too well, my characters are pretty stubborn and simply would not let me go, so I started book 2 A Passion Redeemed soon after. Which was a really good thing because my agent sold me in 3-book deal on A Passion Most Pure alone, and I had a leg up with the 2nd book newly completed. Then once the O'Connors were in place from book 1, each daughter's story just seemed to flow from one book to the next with little or no effort, taking me from 1916 to 1932.

And favorite things from that era? Oh, the clothing, of course--flapper dresses and long pearls in the 20s and more glamorous curvy, waist-fitted dresses for the 30s and Art Deco artwork, furniture and jewelry.



Julia: As you know my favorite couple is still Patrick and Marcy. Do you have any great marriage tips to share for us newer (and sort-of-newer) marrieds? Also, what tips could you give for those who are single?



Julie Lessman: Oh, wow, do I have a tip for you!! One I learned the hard way, but paid off like a slot machine. J Are you ready??? Here it is: Take your eyes OFF your husband and put them on you!! What do I mean by that??


It's simple. In marriage, it's not about him, it's about you--are you following God's precepts as far as being the wife He has called you to be? Are you criticizing your husband because he's not what you want him to be, trying to change him and not respecting him as God has called you to do? Because I have a news flash for you--you can't change your husband one whit (I mean, he's a man, come on now!), but you can change yourself. And frankly, that's all you need to be concerned about--pleasing God by becoming the wife, mother, woman, friend, neighbor, whatever, that He has called you to be.


Now I know that right now there are some of you out there reading this, thinking “this woman is nuts.” And, yeah, you're right, I am a lot of the time. But … not about this!! I have lived it, applied, and watched it take me from near-divorce to the most incredible marriage I have ever seen on this planet. When I tell you that my husband makes me feel like I'm living my own personal romance novel, I am not woofing you here!! BUT … it wasn't always that way. Application of God's precepts and obedience to HIM softened my husband's heart, softened mine and knit us together like nothing I have ever seen. Because God's Word works!


For instance, did you realize that when Eve sinned by tasting the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, Adam was sitting RIGHT beside her??? Yep, sat there like a bump on a log and abdicated his God-appointed responsibility as head of the garden, which is the moral equivalent of a mother letting her toddler drink Drano. Are you kidding me??? Adam shirked his responsibility, and Eve took the lead, and let me tell you, ladies, women have been trying to take the lead and control men ever since.


But because fiction explains it best for me, here's a scene from A Passion Denied where the three O'Connor sisters, Faith, Charity and Lizzie, are talking about what I mean.


Lizzie blew on her tea. “I know exactly what you mean. I'm not married to Brady, but he certainly tries to run my life as if I were.”

Faith sighed deeply, causing little Hope to shudder in her sleep. She gave her sisters a lop-sided smile. “I'm afraid they come by it naturally.”

“What do you mean, 'naturally'?” Charity huffed. “Unnaturally is more like it. It's not natural to be a bully.”

“That's exactly what I thought when Collin bullied me with the submission scripture the year before we were married.”

Charity's left brow cocked a full half inch. “Submission scripture? Come again?”

Faith drew in a deep breath, preparing for her sisters' reactions. “Ephesians 5:22--'Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.'”

Lizzie's eyes widened, accentuating their violet hue. “What does that mean?”

“You mean do whatever they say, without a fight?” Charity's tone was a near-shriek, disrupting Henry's sleep. He grunted and groaned, finally settling down when Charity patted his back, none too gently.

Faith chuckled. “I can see you're not thrilled with this particular part of the Bible, so let me tell you what Mrs. Gerson told me.” She took a deep breath. “'Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands,' only let's replace 'submit' with 'respect.'”

Charity's eyes narrowed. “And when does this get good?”

“In the Bible, God often underscores the importance of something by order of appearance. For instance, notice that after Ephesians 5:22, comes Ephesians 5:25--'Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church.' So, if you boil these two scriptures down in order of appearance, here's what you have:

Wives, respect your husbands.

Husbands, love your wives.

Mrs. Gerson believes this is cause and effect. When a woman respects her husband, it automatically increases the husband's love for his wife. God addresses the women first because Eve was the one who sinned first, taking control away from Adam and robbing him of his authority and self-respect. If a wife respects her husband, then her respect restores his rightful authority and elevates him to be the man God intended him to be. When that happens, he feels good about himself, and the 'effect' is his love grows for the woman who made him feel that way.”

Charity squinted. “So, let me get this straight. Mitch will love me more if I submit--”

“Respect,” Faith corrected.

“Respect him more?”

Faith nodded. “It's a cause and effect like Mrs. Gerson says. God knew that what women want more than anything is to be cherished by the man they love.” Faith's lips curled into a thin smile. “Nobody's proven that more than you, Charity. And that's why Lizzie and other women have been reading romance novels for years. Yet men seldom do. Why? Because what a man needs most is to be 'respected' by the woman he loves. Bottom line? Women crave love and men crave respect. And in Ephesians 5:22-25, God gives us the perfect solution.”

Charity rubbed her head. “Goodness, that hurts just thinking about it.”

Faith took a sip of tea. “It does, doesn't it?”



Yeah, it hurts … but NOT as much as NOT applying God's precepts to your marriage!!


As far as tips I would give singles??? I can only tell them what I did as a single woman who didn't marry until I was 28 and quite frankly, never thought it would happen for me. I prayed my heart out for a man who would love God more than he would love me … but … there's a catch. It's called Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Which means, girls, that God must become your passion, your best friend, your comforter, your supporter, your confidence and as near and as vital as the breath in your lungs. Because when that happens, your desires become one with His, and He gladly gives them to you. And how do you do this, fall in love with God as passionately as you would with a man you love?? You pray DAILY, HOURLY for passion and fervor for Him, reading His Word, seeking His face in worship and prayer, and not just in Church on Sundays, but every minute of every day. Then sit back and watch while the blessings flow from a Father in love. 


Julia: Will you share with us how you got started in writing romance? (As a former "book snob" I just have to ask this one, Julie ;)


Julie Lessman: I owe it all to Margaret Mitchell, the woman I'd like to personally thank for writing Gone With the Wind, the novel that inspired me to be a romance writer at the age of twelve, even though I shirked the calling for many years because I was too blind to see what God had called me to do. Why? Because I was a romance snob--one of those professional women who wouldn't be caught dead reading a romance novel because I didn't consider it “serious” reading. And then nine years ago, God set me free from my bias when He dropped the bomb on me that the actual desire of my heart was to write romance for Him. What a shocker! Now I wouldn't be caught dead without a romance novel in my purse or powder room at ALL times! How's that for being “transformed by the renewing of your mind”??? 


Julia: Do you have any writing rituals?


Julie Lessman: Ah, rituals. Is the sky blue??? I'm quirky and crazy and just a wee bit off center, so I have a number of rituals with my writing such as the essentials--a constant cup of hazelnut decaf with Half 'n Half, lots of lip gloss, Kleenex (for the soggy scenes I write), and a mirror handy for those facial expressions I'm trying to capture on paper.


My biggest ritual, however, is ambiance. My family jokes that I am an “Ambiance Queen” because dim lighting with candles during dinner is a must, as well as a mainstay for my writing. During the summer months (basically May through October), I sit outside on my lower deck that runs the length of the house, overlooking a lush, green wooded area that has sunlight dappling through the trees. I have my feet up on this cushy lawn furniture we have at all times (like now!), and a fan gently blowing while I sit with my laptop on my ... where else? Lap!!


In the winter when I'm not in the hearth room with a crackling fire, I write in a tiny computer room that my artist husband and I share. It has a big window that lets in gobs of light and lots of fun distractions like chipmunks and deer. It's a pretty small room, though, so most of the time, we are back to back, which is kind of nice because I like to lean back and kiss him after I put lip gloss on, which is OFTEN! That would definitely qualify as one of my quirks--lipstick and lip gloss. I wear it everywhere, even to bed (the lip gloss, I mean). Also, I always have a candle lit next to a favorite picture of my husband and me before we were married. How's that for romantic inspiration? J It sure works for me!



Julia: Do you have a favorite character from your books (or is that a bit like asking whether you have a favorite child)?


Julie Lessman: Grin … yeah, it is a bit like that because I do love ALL of my characters, but there are ones that are easier to write because I connect with them more. For instance, Faith is my spiritual self, so every single spiritual conversation or habit you see her do in the books are taken straight from how I live my life, right down to the anger at God on the ship in A Passion Most Pure. Faith felt like He had boxed her in and ruined her for the world because she had tasted His love and could never go back. That's EXACTLY how I felt at times when I was a single woman, so Faith comes by it honestly!


But as far as favorites, this is going to shock some people, I know, but Charity O'Connor is right up there. Don't get me wrong, I love Faith O'Connor, the heroine from book 1, A Passion Most Pure, but in all honesty, she is more like the woman I am today--heavily dependant on God, emotionally involved with Him and a person who prays at the drop of a hat, so I almost feel one with her. But Charity--goodness, my heart goes out to her and the woman I used to be--selfish, manipulative, lost. I think that's why she fascinates me so much, because I look at her (and women like her) in the same way I suspect God looked at me back then--with eyes full of love and hope that we all can become new creatures in Christ Jesus. And quite frankly, I think she is just downright funny and quirky and such a hoot that she makes me laugh, ESPECIALLY in the upcoming book, A Heart Revealed. I literally laugh out loud almost every time that woman is on the page--even in the serious scenes!!

As far as my favorite hero??? Oh, don't get me started because they are all hunks in my opinion, with Mitch and Luke neck-in-neck at the top of the list.



Julia: Do you have a favorite Biblical character?


Julie Lessman: Oh, GREAT question, Julia, and YES, I do!! Three cheers for King David--a man of God who gives fallible people like me great hope. I have had more than my fair share of failures and shortcomings in my life, and it thrills me to no end that God loves me and forgives me despite them all, and it's King David that taught me that very valuable lesson.

You see, David was a man who loved God with such abandon that he didn't give a rip if he made a fool of himself doing it. King David had an emotional relationship with God that was as deep as any father-son relationship I know. He worshipped God with everything in him and loved Him deeply, and was always grief-stricken when he sinned against Him. That's what I want to be like--a real, down-to-earth, feet-of-clay woman who loves God with every fiber of my being and every word that I write. Like King David, a wo”man” after God's own heart--oh, God, let it be so!


Julia: What's coming up next for Julie fans?


Julie Lessman: You mean my “reader friends”? This may sound silly, but I'm not crazy about the word “fan” because to me it implies that one person is above the other, which is SO not how it is. We are all equal in God's eyes--just insecure human beings looking for a little kindness in life and someone who will love us and accept us with the love of Jesus. BUT … I digress.


As far as what I plan to write next, I'm hoping to write a prequel about Marcy and Patrick O'Connor before they were married as well as a new trilogy entitled “The Cousins McClare,” a poor-man, rich-man scenario among three cousins amid the Irish-political landscape of 1920s San Francisco, prohibition and the Barbary Coast. Think Little Women meets Dynasty.” And for those of you too young to remember the TV show Dynasty, think family wealth and poverty in a political setting.


To please my husband (who wants me to write for the market), the next series will be a lot shorter (yeah, good luck with that!) and less complicated, God willing!! Which means the books will be about 400 pages rather than 500, and the plots will be two tier instead of 3- and 4-tier (i.e. less subplots than A Passion Denied and the “Winds of Change” series). There will be the story between the hero and heroine, of course, but also a second-tier love story between the older couple in the series, a godly widowed matriarch who butts heads with an ungodly brother-in-law with whom she used to be in love and who owns a vineyard during prohibition. And, of course, there will be LOTS of romantic tension between both couples. 


Julia: Lastly, if we beg...will you give us readers a "snippet" that will whet our appetites to read A Hope Undaunted?


Julie Lessman: Grin … you don't know me very well because no “begging” need be involved.  Since romantic scenes are among my favorites, I will give you one that has all the elements I like in a love scene--tenderness, passion, humor. In this scene, our hero Luke McGee has just learned that the feisty 8-year-old street orphan tomboy he's been trying to find a foster home for is being shipped out on an orphan train against her will (and Luke's). Our heroine Katie O'Connor, who works with him, interrupts his malaise.



She hesitated. “Are you sure you don't need anything before I go? You look … tense.”

Tense? Because two people he loved were leaving his life forever? He blew out a sigh of frustration and wheeled in his chair to stare out the window. “No, Katie, go home. I'm just down about Gabe, that's all. Go on, get out of here and have fun this weekend.”

Go home to Jack, Katie Rose.

His stomach tightened at the sudden click of her heels, and shock expanded his eyes when she perched herself on the edge of his window. She crossed silky legs and leaned forward, palms flat on the sill and blue eyes sparkling with excitement. Her mouth twitched with a smile, as if a secret hovered behind those full, sensuous lips, and the tease of her proximity triggered his pulse till he thought he couldn't breathe. A gentle breeze from the window rustled her silk dress, and the scent of roses drifted in the air, warming his blood. “What's on your mind, Katie?” he asked, heat crawling up his neck at the realization of what was on his.


“The same thing that's on yours, apparently,” she said with a mysterious smile. “Gabe.”


His pulse slowed. “Gabe? What about her?”


Katie bit her lip and then grinned outright. “I have a foster family for her.”


He sat up straight in the chair, fingers gripped white on the arm. “W-what? W-where?” His words tripped over his tongue, moving faster than the hammering of his heart.


Her laughter floated in the air like the sound of hope. “A wonderful family, really--large, well-to-do, and so full of love that Gabe will think she died and went to heaven.”


He couldn't help it--tears stung his eyes. “Who?” he whispered.


Her gaze was tender as she studied him, the wetness in her eyes matching his own. “The O'Connors of Boston,” she said softly, then put a hand to her chest and blinked back her tears. “Goodness, you think she'll mind sharing a room?”


He stared, disbelief stealing the air from his lungs. And then in a jolt of comprehension, it whooshed back in, flooding his body with such joy and emotion, he thought he would faint. In one frantic clip of his heart, he swallowed Katie up in his arms and squeezed as if he would never let go, his deep laughter rumbling against her hair. “Woman, I could just kiss you,” he shouted, and then all at once his breathing stilled as he set her back down, suddenly aware of her body pressed against his, the burn of his hand on the small of her back.


Their gazes met, and heat traveled his bloodstream like alcohol, drowning all inhibition he may have felt. He saw the vulnerability in those wide blue eyes, heard the tremulous breathing drifting from those soft, parted lips, and all reason fled from his brain, disarming all good intent. In slow and careful motion, his hands cupped the sides of her face like a caress, eyes fixed on her mouth before shifting to lose himself in her eyes. He feathered her lips with the pad of his thumb. “Thank you, Katie Rose,” he whispered, “for giving me so much joy.”


He wanted to fight it, knew it should only be a kiss on the cheek, but his body seemed drugged with her. His eyelids weighted closed as he moved near like a man in a trance, compelled to graze his lips against hers. Upon touch, their shallow breathing became one as he nuzzled her mouth with his own. And then, in a ragged beat of his heart, she melted into him with a familiarity that destroyed all restraint. He clutched her body to his, deepening the kiss that just cost him a promise he'd made. “God help me, Katie, I want you--”


Somewhere in the recesses of their minds they heard it, that gruff clearing of a throat that seemed so very far away. And then harsh reality struck, and Katie jerked violently from his arms as if he had thrust her away.


“I knocked, but I guess you didn't hear it.” Parker stood with arms crossed in the open door, voice rock hard and jaw even worse.


An unnatural shade of red bled up Katie's neck and face like a thermometer registering a fever of a 105. “P-Parker … Mr. Riley … it's not what it seems. L-luke was just thanking me …”


The hard line of Parker's mouth twisted as his eyes shifted to Luke with a penetrating look. “A simple 'thank you' wouldn't have been enough?”


Julia: Thanks so much, Julie!! Its been such a joy to have you on Dark Glass Ponderings.

For more about Julie be sure to visit: http://www.julielessman.com/.  Julie also has a journal blog I've been blessed by Julie's Journal Jots.  She is also a regular blogger on Seekerville, a must-stop for aspiring writers.



For a chance to win A Hope Undaunted OR one of the Daughters of Boston series, please write an encouraging comment for Julie.  This is open 9/24-9/25 ONLY.  Even if you already have her books, maybe you could send a little encouragement her way today.  Please include your email address in this format:

my email(at)wherever(dot)com

(Keep in mind my comments are located ABOVE the posts).

A Hope Undaunted Facebook Party
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39 comments:

Hi Julie and Julia!

First off lovely, review Julia I couldn't agree more especially the downside part about the next book not coming out until NEXT SEPTEMBER! What WILL we do till then?

Julie, tell the hubby to shush we love your 500 plus page stories! Hahaha kidding! I'm sure if you would write a novella it would be excellent! I'm so glad you shared a little bit about the stories that you are working on. You already know I can't wait for the prequel but The Cousins McClare sounds smashing!!!!!! Soooo when are those books coming out again? Hehehe.

Please don't enter me Julia I just wanted to stop by for a visit. :-)

XOXO~ Renee

Love the interview.
I would love to win and read A Hope Undaunted.
Please enter me in the drawing.
Thank you for the chance.
Wendy

ooops I forgot me email. Sorry.
Thank you.
Wendy


wdesirees[at]yahoo[dot]com

I agree, hubby needs to shush about the length! Your books are so good, I'm sure none of us would care if they were 6 or 7 hundred pages! And that scene with Jack and Katie that gets interrupted, oh my WORD!! Hot stuff! I need to read this book soon!

Holly
oceandreamerfla(at)aol(dot)com

JULIA ... Sooo fun to be here with you today and your readers, and THANK YOU, GIRL, for such a stellar review -- I am blessed!! Absolutely thrilled that this is your favorite so far since it's mine too!

And, RENEE ... "Julie and Julia"??? Mmmm ... sounds like a movie!! :) Oooo-ooooo ... can I be Amy Adams???

I can tell my hubby to "shush" all the time, but the guy has a mind of his own and doesn't listen ... sound like any "heroes" you know???

As far as The Cousins McClare, I haven't pitched it yet, but I am thinking since my books are on a 1-year schedule, the first one wouldn't be out till September 2013.

Thanks, Renee, for stopping by -- you always brighten my day, sweetie.

Hugs,
Julie

Hey, WENDY, thanks for entering the contest, and we will have to see what we can do about a win, eh? Good luck!!

HOLLY ... well, if you liked THAT scene, my friend, you are going to love this book because that is NOT even the best love scene in the book, in my opinion ... :) So here's hoping for a win so you can see what I mean.

Hugs,
Julie

@ Renee, Thanks so much for stopping in! I agree about Julie's reads...I don't care how long or short she makes them, they're all fantastic. We'll have to hope that she will give us excerpts on other blogs to keep us content until all these books come out :)

@ Wendy, Good luck! I have a feeling you will love A Hope Undaunted if you enjoyed The Daughters of Boston series :)

@ Holly, Amen! Julie can rival War & Peace in length and we'll all be happy to pick it up. Good luck!

@ Julie, THANK you so much for taking the time for your readers. I know you have such a busy schedule, I feel so blessed that you include us in it. Haha, yes you can be Amy. I love Julia Childs, but I don't think I can pull off the accent :).

I'm reading A Passion Most Pure right now, and I love it so far! Looking forward to reading more :)

pinkdaddysgirl[at]msn[dot]com

Also, thank you for the giveaway!!!

Another great interview, Julie. You are so super at giving us readers time when I know you are so busy! Thanks for entering me for AHU. Am excited about your upcoming Cousins series.
jackie.smithATdishmailDOTnet

Julie, I really enjoyed Luke and Katie, such strong characters pitted against each other. What a match-up!
Ann_Lee_Miller@msn.com

Julie Lessman is a new-to-me author and is becoming my FAVORITE! She is quickly out ranking my current favorite of Karen Kingsbury! Love Julie's work!

Blessings
Molly
Mollydedwards AT yahoo DOT com

@ Ariel, You have lots of great reading ahead of you. Good luck!

@Jackie, I SO agree. Isn't Julie amazing to give all her readers time in the midst of all she has going on? We are blessed :)

@Ann, I agree. I really enjoyed the pairing of Luke & Katie.

@Molly, Wow, knowing how much you read that is quite the compliment towards Julie's work and one which I agree with, which reminds me I still have to read Karen's Remember series at your recommend. :)

I'm thrilled to hear that Patrick and Marcy are getting their own book. They're my favorite couple too.

Great interview ladies!
Joy

Julie, I don't think it matters how long or short you write....it's always going to be amazing! You have a brilliant way of writing!

~Lauri (lulu)
http://knitsandreads.blogspot.com
l_meinhardt@yahoo.com

JULIA ... War and Peace??? Well, thank heavens I'm not THAT bad, although my favorite novel Gone With the Wind was about 1,000 pages, and Diana Gabaldon (one of my favorites!) writes books from 1,000 to 2,000 pages!! Kind of makes me look like a novella ... :)

ARIEL ... SOOOO thrilled you are enjoying APMP!! If you win in this contest, I will be happy to send you the second book in the "Daughters of Boston" series, A Passion Redeemed, if you like. Thanks for coming by!

You're welcome, JACKIE! Actually, my husband teases me a lot about my "second family" -- my reader friends -- but that's how I feel about you guys. It seems that anybody who connects with my writing connects with me personally, and I just can't ignore that no matter how busy I am.

Oh, ANN, I am SO thrilled you enjoyed the story!! If you are prone to posting reviews on Amazon.com and CBD.com, I would love a couple of lines posted on there as to how you liked it. But ONLY if you are prone to that type of thing, okay? Thanks, sweetie.

Hugs,
Julie

MOLLY,NO!!! "Out ranking Karen Kingsbury"???? Well, don't tell that to Karen, but that sure makes my day, girl!! I oughta award you a free book on that comment alone!! :) Thank you SO much and good luck in the contest.

Thanks, JOY -- I love Marcy and Patrick too! And no wonder -- they are modeled after my husband and me except I'm not as cute as Marcy! :) And, Joy, thank you SO much for the great review and posting it on Amazon.com -- I am really grateful to both you and Julia for doing that.

Aw, thanks, LAURI!! But if I write shorter books, I can write more books, right??? Uh, at least that's the plan ... :)

Hugs,
Julie

@ Joy, I can't wait for the Patrick & Marcy book either (sigh).

@ Lauri, Amen. Can't wait to get my hands on the next one.

I agree, Julie, some of my personal favorites are quite long, too, including yours, of course :)

I love your comments on how a woman is to LOVE her husband and NOT try and change him... I've applied it in my own life and it's so backwards in your mind (and according to the world), but when you truly RESPECT and LOVE your husband and put your husband and his needs first... you end up happy!! I know it makes no sense, but in God's economy it certainly does! I LOVE all of Julie's books.. my only complaint.. I want another one RIGHT now to read - I can't wait until next year!!
thanks again Julie for being an encouragement - your books are the best!!

Hi ladies!! WOW, what a FABULOUS interview!!! Julia, I loved your questions and Julie, I loved your answers :D Seriously, I haven’t been this blessed by an interview since I don’t know when, but I thank you both very much!!

Julie, first let me start by saying that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE A Hope Undaunted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been wracking my brain for a week now trying to write a review that will do it justice, though it will most likely fall woefully short of the mark. But, Julia’s review was AMAZING and captured the thoughts of my heart exactly!! Prayerfully, I’ll have my review up on Amazon and Goodreads before the weekend is out. And, I plan on emailing you, too, because there is so much I want to talk about concerning your FABULOUS book and my FAVORITE Irish family :D

Anyway, what you shared in this interview (especially your testimony) was so inspiring and encouraging. I love your “tips” for the married- will tuck those away for the future ;) And, what you said about being single really spoke to my heart and is so very true. Christ needs to be our everything, and we need to fall deeply, passionately, and completely in love with HIM before He can give us the desires of our heart. Goodness, this interview was more like a devotional! Thank you, dear friend :) And, your upcoming projects sound WONDERFUL!! Can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for you!!

And, Julia, like I said before, your review was AMAZING!! Thank you so much for hosting Julie, and thank you so much for the invite! I’m walking away from this computer a truly blessed girl tonight, thank you, ladies! Oh, and please don’t enter me in the giveaway because I already have a copy ;)

Prayer & Blessings to you both!!
Amanda Stanley

I have a hope undaunted to win Julies wonderful book. You didn't think I'd miss this one, did you, Julie? I'm here! Can't remember if I've congratulated you on your new newsletter and I wanted to tell you I think it's sensational. Hey, I turn a full 72 on Oct 10th...if you have a giveaway around that date, it would be very apropo if I'd win! Woo Hoo! Just thought I'd throw that in. I'm glad we're friends or you might void my chance for rowdy behavior. I'm 72, I can do what I want to do! OK...next commenter, it's your turn. Good luck.

Blessings Forever,
Barb

uh oh....darn those senior moments!!! Here's my email addy:

Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Lady DragonKeeper said... September 25, 2010 at 4:22 AM  

"I also loved the way Lessman shows the effects of a tragedy in bringing the whole family together, in showing them what was truly important. This part of the book left me misty-eyed and became an event that drummed out much of Katie's selfishness."

OMGoodness!!! Tragedy?! Please don't say someone dies . . . achem, 'scuse me . . . I'm alright now. LOL, I've been reading too many Star Wars novels, I guess. ;-) I think this is one of my favorite Julie Lessman interviews, Mrs. Reffner --despite that small hinting of a plot spoiler. =P Super excited to hear of the potential Patrick & Marcy prequel --I'm sure I speak for everyone here when I say we wish you well! Thank you so much for the opportunity to win!

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

I've yet to read one of Mrs. Lessman's books, but I've heard a lot about them. I'd love a chance to win!

kristia4(at)hawaii(dot)edu

@Joetta, You are so right. I know its one lesson God has taught me (and sometimes needs to reteach me) in my marriage. We used to fight a lot more when we were first married before I understood this.

@ Amanda, You are so encouraging, girl. Thank you so much for your kind words. I was so thrilled to be able to interview Julie who definitely has to be one of the nicest authors out there. I'm in awe of how she takes the time for her readers in spite of everything else going on.

@ Barbjan, I think the FB party is around that time, so maybe you'll get lucky and win a kindle, right? I love Julie's Journal Jots! I've been so blessed by them! And you are free to be rowdy here anytime...uh, within reason :)

@ Lady Dragon Keeper, I tried not to give a spoiler. Hey, I figured all her books have tragedy right? ;)

And I would love a prequel :)

@ Kristia, You are in for a treat :)

Goodness, I have been all over the web reading Julie's interview and every single one is something different and filled with neat questions. gasweetheart211[at]netscape[dot]net

I truly enjoyed this interview Julie and Julia! I like how each interview I read has a something a little different. I really enjoyed the marriage "tips" you shared, Julie. Since I became a Christian 4 years ago, I've seen a tremendous improvement in my own marriage as I've followed God's precepts. Like you say, God's Word works!

Thanks for adding me in the drawing!
Michelle
scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

Hi Julie...You know that I'm one of your biggest fans (you have at least a million of us)...I always learn something new when I read your interviews. May our dear Lord continue to bless your 'ministry.' Many hugs back to you...

To Julia...thanks for the opportunity to read this masterpiece.

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Two things that make me happy:
1. Julie Lessman
2. Unhurried Saturdays for the sole purpose of reading said author's book.

I just finished A Hope Undaunted a couple of hours ago, and even though it was whopping 500 pages long, I didn't want it to end. In fact, I'm ready to go back and re-read A Passion Most Pure, just to get my O'Connor fix until the next book comes out.

Keep them coming!
Lindsay Davis
Pendleton, IN
katemcgowan1@hotmail.com

JOETTA SAID: But when you truly RESPECT and LOVE your husband and put your husband and his needs first... you end up happy!! I know it makes no sense, but in God's economy it certainly does!

PREACH IT, GIRL!!! JOETTA, my sweet Mennonite friend, ALWAYS a wonderful surprise to see you here!!! And as always, THANK YOU for your kind words of encouragement. I sure wish I could get the next book in your hands ASAP (it's written, just not approved yet), because I think you will LOVE it just because of who Emma is. But unfortunately for you AND ME, we all have to wait! But a year to me is nothing -- the older I get, the faster they fly!! :(

AMANDA!!! Honey, if your review is 1/10 as beautiful as that comment you just wrote above, I will be one happy woman!! WOW ... your beautiful enthusiasm and obvious love affair with God blesses the socks off of me -- and you're SO young to have all that passion inside of you for Him, which reads loud and clear to me: BLESSINGS AHEAD!!! Don't worry about writing a great review, a couple of lines saying you liked it a lot would be GREAT, so NO STRESS over this, okay???

And I am SOOO excited that you liked AHU, and I would LOVE to talk to you about it whenever you want. I sure hope you are able to join the Facebook Party chat with me on Oct. 7. All details and links are on my website, and it would be soooo fun to chat with some of my favorite reader friends!! (hint, hint ... :))

Hugs,
Julie

LOL, BARB ... would you believe that's the first time I heard that one??? And, no, I surely would not think you would miss commenting on a blog giveaway, and I'm glad!! And the 72-year-old thing ... are you sure you have that right??? Better check the driver's license again, girl, because the pic and the age don't match up ...

LADY DRAGONKEEPER ... deep breath, girl, you know there's no tragedy in my books that lasts. This is "romance," remember, where it has to end up happily ever after, not women's fiction that is more slice of life. I will try to go easy on you in AHU, although most of the reviews tell me it's a roller-coaster ride that rattles one's brain. Mmmm ... to me, it's just normal life, but then I tend to be a wee bit on the dramatic side ... :) Good luck, sweetie.

KRISTIA ... you little, shadow, you!!! I hope your sister is paying you for all these postings you're doing for her!! ;)

Hugs,
Julie

ADGE ... thank you for noticing, girl -- that means you are reading the interviews, which blesses me!! I have noticed that the questions this time around have been pretty excellent and different than the over 700 questions I have answered to date in over 90 interviews!! And I have to say that Julia's was one of my favorite interviews to do because her questions were so unique. Great job, girl!! And good luck to you, ADGE!!

MICHELLE ... four years ago??? WOW, you'll have to tell me that story sometime, girlfriend, because I'd love to hear it. Soooo glad God got a hold of you ... for you, your hubby and family AND me!! :)

KAREN SAID: I'm one of your biggest fans (you have at least a million of us). Oh, honey, from your lips (or comment) to God's ear!! :) A "million" would certainly be nice, but I'd settle for a lot, LOT less!! :) Good luck, sweetie, you sure deserve a win soon ...

Hugs,
Julie

LINDSAY SAID: Two things that make me happy:

1. Julie Lessman
2. Unhurried Saturdays for the sole purpose of reading said author's book.

(Big, cheesy grin here) Aw, girl you are so darn sweet to say that -- THANK YOU soooo much!! I am thrilled you liked AHU, and I have no objections whatsoever if you go back and read APMP! :) I actually reread my books all the time because I try to write what I would want to read, you know? Gotta have that passion, both for God and romance!! Good luck in the contest, girl, but since you've read them all, which one are you going for???

Hugs,
Julie


Julia M. Reffner

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Christ-loving bookworm & homeschool mom of 2 stealing the rare quiet moments to pursue that all elusive writing dream. I also write book reviews for Title Trakk and The Historical Novel Society.

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