Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A View from Julie Lessman's Window and GIVE AWAY!!!

I have been "getting to know" Julie via email since the publication of her first book, A Passion Most Pure. So, it is very exciting for me to be able to invite her back to discuss the second book of the Daughters of Boston Series, A Passion Redeemed. Julie has also made an exciting and gracious offer....if you leave a comment here, you will be entered to win an autographed copy of A Passion Redeemed!!

So please, welcome Julie back for her second visit to my window. You can read her first interview here to learn about the first book of this terrific series! Welcome Back, Julie!

How difficult was it to allow Charity to keep lying to everyone even after she'd paid such a painful price for lying to start with? What kind of responses does Charity solicit from your readers?

Gosh, I hate to even admit this, but it wasn’t difficult at all. I mean Charity is Charity—a woman without Christ in her life who has spent every fiber of her being manipulating and lying to get what she wants—so lying was as natural to her as breathing. And what does she want? Simply to be loved. But without Christ, she can’t possibly attain the type of love she craves—to be loved as she is and for who she is. That’s called “unconditional love,” and it’s only available through a God who loves us to the depth of our sinful souls!

Charity is the type of woman whose drive for love was so misguided and so strong, that I honestly felt deep pain would be the only thing that would turn her to God. Thus the Scripture theme of this book, Psalm 83:13-16: “As fire consumes the forest or a flame sets the mountains ablaze, so pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your storm. Cover their faces with shame so they will seek your name.” And unfortunately, that’s what it takes for Charity to finally change—ultimately taking her from the casual lip service she gives to God mid-book … to the heart commitment where she’s finally willing to live her life for Him rather than for herself.

What kind of responses does Charity solicit from readers? Grin … not good! I actually had one reader say she loved A Passion Most Pure, but could I do her a favor—slap Charity for her! Another reader said she had this overwhelming desire to see Charity “maimed or killed.” But personally, I have always loved Charity (just like I loved Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind), maybe because she is so wonderfully flawed and needy of love, not unlike I used to be before Christ. In fact my husband, who is currently reading A Passion Redeemed, does not like Charity AT ALL. Grin. The poor guy—he doesn’t realize he’s been married to her for over 30 years!! J

Share with us what God has done in your life since the publication of A Passion Most Pure. How is He working through your writing?

First, let me get a Kleenex, because the tears are sure to fall! With the publication of A Passion Most Pure, God has once again proven His Word true by doing “abundantly, exceedingly more than I ever hoped, thought or prayed.” And let me tell you, when He says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart,” He is not kidding!

Six months before my book sold, I was sitting on the swing outside on my deck, reading and praying. As always, I prayed to be published, although with 37 rejections under my belt (out of an eventual 45!), I wasn’t real confident. All at once, I heard God’s still, small voice. Have I ever failed to give you the desires of your heart? I gasped and tears misted my eyes. “No, Lord,” I said, overwhelmed with the knowledge that He had indeed given me three of the four desires of my heart—to write for a living despite not having a college degree (I miraculously got a job as a Travel Writer), a loving husband (a miracle in itself considering how high-maintenance I can be! J), and two beautiful children (after being an infertility patient). The only other desire of my heart that was still unanswered was to be published—a dream I had had since the age of twelve when I first started writing A Passion Most Pure after reading Gone With the Wind. And then came the gentle reply—And I will give you this one too. Of course, as we human beings always do, I wondered if perhaps the thought hadn’t just been my own imagination. But when Revell gave me a 3-book contract six months later, I knew it had been God’s still, small voice—faithful and true to the end.

So what’s the key to reaping the desires of your heart? Three simple, little words: Apply God’s Word! One of the things that grieves me the most is how so many people in the Body of Christ (myself included) read the Word and study the Word and memorize it cold, but they DON’T APPLY it! Then they wonder why they don’t have peace or victory in their lives. As far as I am concerned, applying God’s Word IS the missing link for victory in Christians’ lives.

It’s really pretty simple. Somebody ticks you off? Pray for God to bless them. Are you jealous of the pretty girl with the great marriage? Pray for God to bless her more. Something bad happens to you at work? Praise God and ask Him to make good from it. I mean, come on! We Christians have the greatest insurance policy in the world—Romans 8:28: And we know that ALL things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to his purpose. There is an application of God’s Word for EVERY problem we have, and if we would just “choose life” (God’s way/applying His precepts, which is the Deuteronomy 30 lesson in A Passion Most Pure) instead of death (our way, or sin), we would be in Fat City!

As you can probably tell from reading both my books, I have a great passion for both God and romance. And if there was such a thing as a passion detector, I’m afraid my needle would be off the chart. I do everything with passion, from brushing my teeth with a vengeance … to piping dinner guests’ initials into twice-baked potatoes. So when I gave my heart to Jesus at the age of 23, naturally I did it with all the passion I possessed—I read my Bible daily, prayed throughout the day and worshipped Him with everything in me. But most importantly, I diligently tried to apply God’s Word to the letter, which I believe is the “key” in delighting Him … a key that can and will unlock the door to the desires of your heart.

Finally, you asked how God is working through my writing. Well, He has allowed me to take my passion for Him and put it into stories that hopefully will convey how natural and fulfilling an intimate relationship with God can and SHOULD be. Like breathing. My books may be fiction, but this is NOT a fairy tale here. It is possible to have a living, breathing relationship with the living, breathing God of the Universe. So when I got the following e-mail from a precious woman who had read A Passion Most Pure, I was brought to tears. She wrote:

“I just wanted to write to let you know that in all my life, I've never before read a book that has inspired me to change my life as much as this one has! The desire to turn my life over to God has never been this strong. Thank you for making such a strong impact on both me and my family!!”

Sniff. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

22 comments:

Smilingsal said...

Great! I get to be the first to say that I'd like to win this book.
Thank you for the opportunity.
smilingsal55[at]yahoo[dot]com

CherryBlossomMJ said...

Absolutely fabulous interview! I love Julie and love finding out more about her through questions like these. I would die for an autographed copy! *sigh* cherryblossommj (at)gmail[dot]com

Mary said...

I love how Julie's passion shines in her life; wonderful interview. Please include me,"A Passion Redeemed" is on my wish list! Thanks.

worthy2Bpraised{at}gmail{dot}com

Julie Lessman said...

Smilingsal, I hope being "first" pays off for you, girl! Thanks for dropping by!

Thanks SO much, Margaret, for such a great comment. AND, you little minx, if you show up on enough of these blogs and leave comments saying you would "die for an autographed copy," I just may be forced to send you one!!

Thanks SO much for your support -- both you AND Kim -- I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it.

Hugs,
Julie

Pamela J said...

For some reason, I never felt like doing anything destructive to Charity. She DID remind me of many of the people we have dealt with these past 6 years or so. Perhaps I'm becoming desensitized? Maybe it would be better to say I don't have unrealistic expectations of most people anymore.
What I am most excited about most of the time is being able to finally apply scripture to my life. I didn't seem to be able to figure how that worked for some time but Praise God, He has finally opened up that then-to-now connection.
I'm thrilled to be able to comment to win Julie's next upcoming book, A Passion Redeemed. Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks.
Pam Williams
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Julie Lessman said...

Pam, I'm thinking you should win on just sheer perseverance, my friend!!!! Thanks for your incredible support.

Hugs,
Julie

stampedwithgrace said...

blogged ya :)

http://stampedwithgrace.blogspot.com/2008/08/passion-redeemed-by-julie-lessman.html

Diana said...

Julie, you make me hang my head in shame. I so need to follow your lead in living in Christ. You have to be the most amazing person I know. You really do live this way and it shows!
Can't wait to read Charity's story in a REAL BOOK! :)
Diana

Julie Lessman said...

Stamped with Grace (grin, I always think it says "StamPEDE" with grace, which is pretty much my M.O.!! :)) -- Thank you SOOOOOO much for blogging on Redeemed AND for your kind words. I am thrilled you liked the book. My prayer is that its message of redemption will reach the hearts of those who need it the most.

DIANA!!!!!!!!!!! Most amazing person you know??? Uh, no. But apparently I was able to pull the wool over your eyes, anyway! :) Actually the most amazing person we all know is Jesus Christ. Dear Lord, where would be be without Him???? I can tell you one thing, they would have locked me up by now if I didn't have Him. And, grin, they still might ... :) Love you, my dear, dear friend! Thanks for dropping by.

Hugs,
Julie

ReadingRobin said...

I have not had the pleasure of reading any of your books, but I sure have heard about them! I coordinate 3 book clubs and I hear your name a lot! Pick me so I have something to add to the conversation {grin}! Thanks for the give-away they are so much fun!!
cmrobin[at]bellsouth [dot] net

Alycia said...

I love the interview. Ms. Lessman, your story was very touching!

Julie Lessman said...

Reading Robin, THREE bookclubs????? Oh, girl, we have to get you a book!! I am running about 7 book giveaways on various blogs right now, and planning on adding 3 more in the next week, so check out the calendar on my Web site at:
http://julielessman.com/julies-calendar/. Also, I have a 3-book giveaway contest for those who sign up for my newsletter (yes, this includes ALL 3 books in the series, INCLUDING next May's release of A Passion Denied). Hope to see you on some other blogs!

Thanks so much, Alycia, for dropping by and your sweet comment.

Hugs,
Julie

DBarker said...

Thanks for sharing. I look forward to this next book.

danelli04 [at]hotmail [dot]com

Carolynn W. said...

I love the interview! Julie, thank you for sharing what is on your heart and how God has blessed you, I pray that He will continue to bless you more and more! I can't wait to read your book, thanks for the chance to win!
carolynnwald[at]hotmail[dot]com

Amy said...

Dbarker, thanks for dropping by, and I hope you enjoy Charity's story ... uh, even if you don't enjoy Charity! :)

Thanks SO much, Carolynn, and I will take those prayers, my friend, and then some!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Ooops ... my daughter Amy has been on the computer, apparently, because Blogger gets us mixed up, I'm afraid. That last comment was from me ...

Hugs,
Julie

Liv said...

Lol I'd love to win this autograpghed... or spell a.u.t.o.g.r.a.p.h.e.d LOL.
christianlit(at)hotmail(dot)com

Julie Lessman said...

Liv, thanks for stopping by and good luck! You're racking up points, kiddo. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Kim said...

CONGRATULATIONS! PAM IS THE WINNER OF THE AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF A PASSION REDEEMED!

Thanks so much to everyone who took time to stop by! I hope you will be back again for more great books!

Kim

Pamela J said...

THANKS SO MUCH, KIM! I'm certainly looking forward to reading Julie's book. It's been fun reading all the comments. I sent my mailing address to you via email. Thanks again.
Pam

Timothy Sternberg said...

I'd like to win this book.

soccrgrlmonkey said...

I agree the actions Charity did that led to the end of her story was her fault because she had no faith in God and for the fact that she wanted to do it her way and fall in love with people who were totally wrong for her just to make Mitch.

emiller2@keystone.edu