Interview with Julie Lessman!


I’m so fortunate to have Julie in my ACFW critique group. I actually met her in an elevator and we’ve been friends since. She graciously has allowed me to interview her for my blog.
Leave a comment and you may be the ONE who gets a free copy of her book A Passion Redeemed! Contest ends midnight Nov. 5! Please leave your email address for me, in case you win I have to be able to contact you!

DLB: Some days the writing and reviews can get to you. What do you do to escape and recharge?

Julie: Are you kidding??? I read!!! I love nothing better than carrying a book around in my purse when I’m out and about or leaving it in the powder room on days that I’m home, stealing wonderful moments here and there in another world altogether. One of my favorite times of the day is at bedtime, when I can snuggle in with my hubby for twenty minutes or so and read while he watches TV—ahhhh, sheer bliss!

DLB: Name 3 favorite writing books.
Julie: Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas (the workbook is AWESOME!), The Synonym Finder by J. A. Rodale (my writer’s Bible!), and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King.

DLB: Pen or Pencil? Why?
Julie: Pencil because I … uh … tend to edit a lot!

DLB: What do you feel was your biggest mistake when you started writing?
Julie: My biggest mistake when I started writing was head-hopping—I was clueless about point of view. But I had a paid critique at an ACFW Conference with top author, Tracie Bateman, and she set me straight pretty quickly, thank God (and thank, Tracie!).
My 2nd biggest mistake was trying to get published on my own, without an agent. I garnered some 39 rejections and wasted three years of my time before I finally got an agent who then sold me in six months.

DLB: Do you listen to music when you write? If so who gets your fingers moving on the keyboard?
Julie: NOOOOoooooooooo!!!! I have to have COMPLETE and utter quiet, which is a real pain the tush for my sweet husband. You see, he is an artist who HAS to have music on when he works, a real dilemma in the evenings when we sit in back-to-back chairs in our cozy office. So, the man is a saint because he now wears a headset when he has a project, which works out nicely because I tend to talk to my characters and read lines out loud all the time!

DLBL: Do you have a favorite quote or bible passage that you’d like to share?
Julie: Gosh, I have so many, but one of my favorites (which I also pray everyday) is the last paragraph in Psalm 139, verses 23-24, which I’ve listed below. But a word of warning—don’t pray it unless you mean business, because God will definitely nail you to the wall on a few things! 
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

DLB: Where would you like to travel to if money were available?
Ooooooo … Ireland, of course! Then England and a sandy beach in the Caribbean—in that order.

DLB: What do you like best about the O’Conner women?
Julie: Grin. Oh man, I love how EMOTIONAL they are, which is pretty much how I am, so what do you know—I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! But most of us are pretty emotional deep down, it’s just that a lot of people don’t show it. I love how Faith is emotional (or passionate) about God, and how Charity is so emotional about love. It’s this deep-seated fire that burns inside of both of them (and ALL of the O’Connors) that I truly love to write about.

DLB: What’s your perfect day like?
Julie: Early to rise, treadmill with worship music, Bible/prayer, e-mails, then WRITING till my sweetie comes home!! Doesn’t get any better than that!

DLB: Fill in this statement “I’d love to overhear the conversations of and .”
Julie: Rhett and Scarlett, from Gone With the Wind. I’m a romance writer, after all!

DLB: What would you say to yourself as a beginning writer?
Julie: Basically the same advice that published authors gave to me:
1.) Get involved in a writing network by joining a writers group (for instance, as a romance writer, I joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers, http://www.americanchristianfictionwriters.com/), FHL (Faith, Hope & Love, http://www.faithhopelove-rwa.org/), and RWA (Romance Writers of America, http://www.rwanational.org/), both to get connected with other like-minded writers and to learn a lot about my craft.
2.) Take a fiction-writing class or attend a writing seminar or conference.
3.) Join a critique group.
4.) Purchase and study writing books such as Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King or Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas, AND invest in a great thesaurus such as The Synonym Finder by Rodale Press.
5.) Enter contests for valuable feedback, to build your confidence, AND to sometimes get your work in front of publisher/agent judges.
6.) Go for an agent first, publisher second. Then query agents like crazy and even some publishers if you like.
7.) Submit stories or articles to magazines to build name recognition and a resume, to provide encouragement, and to acquire networking contacts.
8.) Then pray your heart out and put it in God’s hands.

28 thoughts on “Interview with Julie Lessman!

  1. Anonymous says:

    As always, great interview! Julie is so much fun! I loved the first book, so really want the second. I’ll buy it eventually, if I don’t win it here.

    Blessings,
    Deborah Piccurelli
    DebPiccurelli[at]verizon[dot]net

  2. Julie Lessman says:

    Hey Diana, I didn’t say Charity was the best … I said I like her story the best, mostly because it reminds me of the old-fashioned spitfire vs. man movies like The Quiet Man, where John Wayne would carry Maureen O’Hara kicking and screaming through the village. Sigh, I just LOVE that type of romance.

    But I DO like book 3 really well too, because it actually has a fun story about each of the couples, including Charity who is a real hoot in this book! 🙂

    And, yeah, Diana, you better be careful what you say — it just may show up in one of my books … 🙂

    Jen, thanks for relating to Charity — I agree that she does do things we all have done (I least I have!) and is a very human person who ends up becoming a very human Christian.

    Hugs,
    Julie

  3. Diana says:

    Ah Jen, we both know Julie and the way she creates her characters…who know you and I may be inspirations for that next book. 🙂

    Yep, redemption is awesome and Praise God He redeemed even me!

  4. Jennifer Tiszai says:

    Ha! I’m laughing at Diana’s comment. Think she’s read enough of your work, Julie?

    The thing I love about Charity is how she does things we can all relate to and then becomes a redemption story of sorts. I think that’s the best kind of hope for all of us.

  5. Diana says:

    That is so not fair Mrs. Lesssman. How can you say Charity is the best when we haven’t had a chance to read the next book yet? I suspect it’s just because you and Charity are one and the same! 🙂 Seriously I can’t wait for the next sister!

  6. Cherie J says:

    Wonderful interview! I enjoyed a Passion Most Pure and would love to read Charity’s story next in A Passion Redeemed so please include me in the drawing.

    cherierj(at)yahoo(dot)com

  7. Diana says:

    Quiltma! I think I recognize you from LazyGirls? Thanks so much for stopping by and reading about Julie.
    Miralee! How fun to see you here!
    Pam, did I miss meeting you this year? How is that possible. 🙂 So many people there! Maybe next year!
    Cheryl,Stormie, Jo, too soon to know who wins. I wish everyone could win this book! Julie is a terrific writer.

  8. Cheryl says:

    I would love to win a copy of A Passion Redeemed. I read the first one and it was a great book. Please enter me in the drawing. My email address is shryackmom[@]charter[.]net

  9. Julie Lessman says:

    Miralee!!!!!!! Soooo good to see you here, my friend — thank you for dropping in! I hope things are going well for you!

    Stormi, thank you for your sweet comment — let’s hope you win the book in this giveaway so you can use the extra money on something else! 🙂

    Hugs,
    Julie

  10. ladystorm says:

    Great interview! I can’t wait to read this book. If I don’t win I plan on buying it when I get some extra money. The first one was fantastic so I am sure the second one will be just as great.

    Stormi
    ladystorm282001[at]yahoo[dot]com

  11. Julie Lessman says:

    Hey Jo,

    Whew! Soooo glad A Passion Most Pure is on your TBR list, girl! If you win A Passion Redeemed on Diana’s blog, make sure you read them in order, okay, or you will ruin several big surprises.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Hugs,
    Julie

  12. Julie Lessman says:

    PAMELA J!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh, I’ve missed you, girl!! It was sooo much fun meeting you at ACFW this year, and hopefully you will get to meet Diana next year too.

    Oh-oh … you put Redeemed down at one spot??? So glad you picked it back up again, though, no matter how mad Charity made you! I actually love Charity a lot, but most people don’t after reading book 1, including my husband who “couldn’t stand her.” Poor guy, doesn’t realize he’s been married to her for over 30 years!! 🙂

    Book 3, A Passion Denied comes out May 2009 (was supposed to be Feb. 2009, but my editor had me revise the last 50 pages or so because she felt Brady’s past was too dark, so that delayed the release date. Sigh.).

    Anyway, I LOVE your faithfulness to Christian fiction, Pam — as a reader, you are the stuff that dreams are made of, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

  13. Jo says:

    What a wonderful interview this was. I really enjoyed it and the book sounds like such a wonderful read. I also have the first book on my TBR pile. Please enter me in the drawing.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

  14. Pamela J says:

    A lady after my own heart: Julie said “I love nothing better than carrying a book around”. I try to keep my book (which ever one I am reading at the time) with me always if I go out the door. Inside the house, it is small so not too many steps if I have a few minutes here or there.

    I’ve already read A Passion Redeemed so don’t enter me in the contest. I just wanted to let you ladies know how great the book is. You just haven’t got a clue what you are in for! None of the interviews prepared me for it.

    In other interviews, Julie said we would get to love Charity but I was beginning to doubt it. I can’t believe all the stuff she pulls! I’m sure my mouth was hanging open a few times and I DID put the book down in one spot… lasted oh, a couple minutes. Then I HAD to pick it up again.

    Great job, Julie. I am “chomping at the bit” to read the next one, when does it come out? I look forward to meeting you someday, Diana. Great blog, I will check back, off and on, so see you again sometime soon.
    Pam Williams

  15. Julie Lessman says:

    Hi Rose,

    I am thrilled that you have A Passion Most Pure in your TBR pile — thank you! But I want to be sure to warn you that if you win book 2, A Passion Redeemed, through Diana’s blog, you MUST read book 1 first to get the most out of both books. There are a number of big surprises that would be ruined if you read them out of order.

    Gosh, Keli, thank you SO much for your sweet comment and for dropping by. And, yeah, the agent thing is a biggie and a rule of thumb I believe in sooo much: agent first, publisher second! In fact, I actually pitched to my editor three years earlier before I was agented and she told me my proposal was STILL in a slush pile in her office — the SAME proposal my agent sold to her in only six months!!

    Alycia!!! You are good, girl, leaving those comments whenever you can. You have heavy-duty points, my friend, and are definitely in the running in my newsletter contest. Thanks for your kind comments!

    Hugs,
    Julie

  16. Alycia says:

    Hi again Ms. Lessman! I love the ACFW. The majority of the books I read are by ACFW writers. When I’m looking for something to read, I like to go to their website and look through their authors.

    There is nothing better than a good book! I wish I had more time to read but right now it’s school work, more work, and volunteering. Your books are really amazing!

  17. Keli Gwyn says:

    Enjoyed the interview.

    I appreciate Julie’s advice on getting an agent and her willingness to share her experience trying going it on her own. I’m glad she finally landed an agent who sold her stories so that we can enjoy them.

    keligwyn [at] mindspring [dot] com

  18. Rose McCauley says:

    Dear Diana and Julie, thanks for providing this very informative post. I would love to win this book as I already have the first one in my TBR pile. crmcc at setel dot com thanks! ps. enjoyed reading some posts from you in margie’s class, too, diana.

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