I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, February 21, 2011

Julie Lessman: Pondering Passion with a Purpose

Julie Lessman personifies fiction, faith, and friendship. I met Julie in the bookstore at the 2009 ACFW conference in Denver. It was my first ACFW conference, and I literally did not know one single attendee. I was looking for a historical romance for a friend, and Julie graciously offered to help me find one. She suggested several books, and then someone said, “What about your books, Julie?”

Surprise! This sweet, down-to-earth friend, hanging out with me in the bookstore and showing me everyone else’s books, was not only a published author; she was in the running for ACFW Debut Author of the Year (for A Passion Most Pure) the next night! She assured me she could not possibly win against such a talented group of nominees. I laughed and told her if she was included in that group, she must be talented as well, meaning she absolutely could win. And suddenly, in my heart, I just knew she was going to win and I told her so. I’m pretty sure she thought I was crazy. Until the banquet, when they called her name and I got to say, “I told ya so!”

It was a thrilling night for me, watching someone I had just met, someone who had been so genuinely kind and encouraging just a day earlier, be publicly recognized for her achievement and talent. Since then, she has gone on to write and publish more novels, and those novels have won more awards. I recently learned that her newest release, A Hope Undaunted (the first in her “Winds of Change” series) ranked #5 on Booklist’s Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010 and I asked to interview her. She not only agreed to the interview, she offered to be available to answer your questions for a couple of days as well!

CONTEST ALERT!! Post questions or comments Monday, Tuesday, and/or Wednesday. We will enter your name once for each day you post for the drawing on Wednesday night. The prize package includes a signed copy of the Julie Lessman book of your choice, and a $10.00 Amazon gift card so you can buy its sequel!

Welcome, Julie! Some of our readers may not be familiar with you and your fabulous “Inspirational Family Saga/Romance” novels. Would you share a little bit about yourself and your writing journey?

Well, I’m a baby boomer (how’s that for side-stepping the age issue?) married to a man who makes me feel like I’m living my own personal romance novel. I have a 27-year-old son and an OB/GYN daughter-in-law (for whom I prayed since my son was a baby). I also have a 23-year-old daughter in her 2nd year of law school who hates to read (and, yes, it’s true –I paid her $20 just to read the first chapter of my debut novel A Passion Most Pure. I’m happy to say it hooked her, and the rest of the book and the other two didn’t cost me a dime! J).

My writing journey began at the age of 12 after reading Gone With the Wind when I first penned 150 pages of what today has become my debut novel A Passion Most Pure. Fast forward almost forty years later to July 2001 when I was sitting in a beauty parlor reading a Newsweek magazine cover article about Christian entertainment. It said Christian books, movies and music were on the threshold of exploding. My heart jumped, and something in my spirit said, “It’s time to finish your book.” I started writing A Passion Most Pure one month later, finally selling it to Revell 4-1/2 years and 45 rejections later. I am proud to say that despite those painful rejections, A Passion Most Pure went on to win the American Christian Fiction Writers Debut Book of the Year in 2009.

I read in another interview that you joke that you are the Queen of Rejections. Here on the Ponderer blog we’ve talked a lot about rejections and negative feedback. How did you cope with your rejections, and what kept you moving forward?

Ah, yes, Queen of Rejections! Anyone who attended the 2005 American Christian Fiction Writers Conference will remember me as the poor slob who waved her hands wildly in the back of the room when Brandilyn Collins asked who had the most rejections in a year. I won hands-down with 19 (at that time) and went on to garner in excess of 45 (both agent and publisher rejections, including three received after I signed a 3-book contract with Revell Publishing!). Even my agent Natasha Kern blanched a bit when she first signed me, realizing after the ink was dry just how many times I’d been rejected. I believe the word she used was “daunting.” But apparently not too daunting for her amazing skills as an agent because she landed me a 3-book contract in the first six months.

How do I cope with rejection? Well, now it comes in the form of 1-star reviews from readers who do not approve of my edgier style of romantic passion, which I have to admit, made me cry in the beginning. My first 1-star review started with the sentence, “this is simply a horrible book,” but after thousands of glowing e-mails from avid readers and100s of 5-star reviews, I now take the bad ones in stride. One blog reviewer said she put one of my books down halfway through because "In my opinion, smut is smut. Even if you slap God's name in it on occasion it's still smut." Now, I have to admit that one hurt a lot, demeaned me, made me feel like a bad person (judgment) and actually had me ranting and raving to my husband, which is something I haven't done in a long, long time. You see, it was that mindset that turned me into a Bible-burning agnostic before I came to Christ at the age of 23, so it struck a real nerve with me, I'm afraid.

BUT ... there is only one way I deal with criticism like that or any criticism for that matter, because for me, it is a matter of keeping my heart clean before God so my prayers are effective (the prayers of a righteous man availeth much). As much as I didn't want to (and I didn't!), I prayed for that reviewer above until my teeth ached, and then I prayed some more—that God would bless her and heal her if she has issues that made her react so strongly to my book. But trust me, I am also praying about what she said—seeking God to do what my favorite Scripture asks Him to do: Psalm 139:23-24—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.

Please tell us about your newest release, A Hope Undaunted, as well as the other two upcoming books in the Winds of Change series!

Although the “Winds of Change” is a brand-new series, it does continue the saga of the close-knit O’Connor family from the “Daughters of Boston” series, picking up with the youngest daughter’s story at the tail end of the Roaring 20s into The Great Depression. Anyone who has read “The Daughters of Boston” series knows that Katie O’Connor is a spunky, sassy little girl with a sharp wit and dry humor, but never more so than when she butts heads with her childhood nemesis, Cluny McGee. I have to admit that A Hope Undaunted is my favorite of all my books so far, and I am very proud to say that it came in at #5 on Booklist’s Top-Ten Inspirational Fiction for 2010. Here’s the jacket blurb:

What happens when the boy she loved to hate ...becomes the man she hates to love?

The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman—smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband—smart, good-looking, well-connected, wealthy … and eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Cluny McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?

I recently completed book 2 in the “Winds of Change” series, A Heart Revealed, which releases this September and tells the forbidden love story of Sean O'Connor and Emma Malloy. Here’s my jacket blurb for that:

The ring on her hand belongs to one man …

but her heart belongs to another.

As a battered woman, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston ten years ago, seeking shelter for a heart badly bruised by both her husband and guilt. But when she falls in love with Sean O’Connor, a man who wrestles with demons of his own, fear and shame almost destroy her … until she is finally set free by a heart revealed.

I am currently working on book 3, Steven O’Connor’s story, tentatively titled A Trust Restored. Steven will be a tall, brooding G-man-type modeled after Elliot Ness (a la Robert Stack from the Untouchables), who not only battles crime with a vengeance, but also the guilt and regret of a painful past. Since all three of these books take place during The Great Depression and Prohibition, there’s a wealth of historical interest about this exciting era of speakeasies, dance marathons, gangsters, G-men and era criminals like Bonnie & Clyde and Al Capone.

Your Daughters of Boston trilogy takes place in Boston in the early 1900s and WWI, and your new Winds of Change series in the Roaring 20s and Great Depression. How do go about researching the history and geographical locations for your books?

Well, when it comes to research, I’m no Bodie Thoene, but then she’s married to a historian, so she’s got a leg up! I have to be honest, though, my passion is more character- and plot-driven than historical, although I am keenly aware that historical accuracy is key in winning the confidence of historical fiction readers. My publisher, Revell, is excellent at keeping me honest on this point, from time-appropriate phraseology and words (I have seven on-line dictionaries I use, two of which are Etymology Dictionaries) to the historical feasibility of key plot points (sigh, my editor is married to an Irish historian!). Also, one of my prayer partners is exceptional at details that everybody else misses … like my reference to chocolate chip cookies in a 1916 scene when chocolate chips weren’t invented until the 1930s. Whoops! J

So now I am faithful to my research, doing it mostly as I go along and primarily via the Internet. I have tons of websites that I mark as favorites, but two of my favorites are http://www.fashion-era.com/index.htm for clothing and hairstyles and The Online Etymology Dictionary at http://www.etymonline.com/. For me, The Online Etymology Dictionary is crucial for ensuring that the words I use are historically accurate for the era. In addition, I keep a “historical facts” file for each book where I cut and paste info to be used later. I also recently had a conversation about research with good friend, Patty Smith Hall, and she highly recommends contacting the Library of Congress for a wealth of information, which is a great suggestion.

I have a million more questions I could ask you, but I know you have deadlines (not to mention a job and a family!) so I won’t. But as we are closing, is there anything else you’d like to share?

Thank you, Heidi, for hosting me on your blog. It’s been fun! And I LOVE to hear from readers, so they can contact me through my Web site at www.julielessman.com, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter at http://www.julielessman.com/sign-up-for-newsletter/. My newsletter is chock-full of fun info on my books and there’s always a contest featuring signed book giveaways. Also, I have a cool feature on my website called “Journal Jots” (http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots/), which is a very laid-back, once-weekly journal to my reader friends that would give your readers an idea as to my relaxed style of writing. Then finally, I can be found dailyat The Seekers blog (http://seekerville.blogspot.com/), a group blog devoted to encouraging and helping aspiring writers on the road to publication. Thanks again, Heidi, and God bless!


Thank you, Julie; it was my pleasure. I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to spend a little time pondering with us!

READERS: Don't forget...Post your questions and/or comments between now Wednesday night. We'll enter your name up to three times in the drawing for a signed copy of the Julie Lessman book of your choice, and a $10.00 Amazon gift card!

~Heidi Larson Geis

96 comments:

  1. Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your rejections and successes. I am at the beginning of that rejection process - 8 so far for my recent book. I am confident that in God's time and in His way, the right agent will give a resounding "yes." Thank you for the tenacity to keep working toward your goal! God bless you in your success!

    ReplyDelete
  2. julie...you know i am one of your biggest 'fans.' i'm looking forward to reading steven's story.

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  3. WOW, HEIDI, I really did that in the bookstore??? If my memory worked as well as my mouth, I'd be in good shape, wouldn't I? Thank you, my friend, for that incredible introduction, but the only thing I DO remember is 1.) YOU and 2.) The friend you were buying a book for was named Julie, right? and 3.) I was dead sure I wouldn't win!! So all in all, it turned out to be a blessed encounter for sure!! :) Thanks SO much for hosting me on your blog and I'll do my best to answer any or all questions.

    CHRISTINE ... Eight rejections?? Sounds like you are well on your way to publication, girl, so don't give up. Here's a Seeker blog I wrote last year about "magic #s on the road to publication that hopefully will encourage you further, and good luck in the contest AND with your ms.

    2010 ... Your Magic Number?

    KAREN!!! Soooo good to see you here, my friend, and gosh, I'm "looking forward to reading Steven's story" too, because THAT would mean I'd have it written ahead of schedule!! :) Thanks for your support, Karen, as always!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have been hooked on Julie since I read her Passion series. Love her books. She holds my attention when I get a hold of her books. thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

    ReplyDelete
  5. JULIE - Thank you for the link and the encouragement!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for sharing Julie. You are an inspiration and encouragement.

    Blessings,
    Jodie Wolfe
    digging4pearls(at)comcast(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have enjoyed Julie's books. She came and spoke to my book club and what a night that was. I enjoyed hearing this author’s heart and her passion for Christian fiction and why she writes it.

    My favorite of her books so far is her new book series and the first book, A Hope Undaunted. WOW!! Did she hit a home run with this book or what? Loved the main character and the way Julie includes the reader in the family gatherings. I feel like I'm in the Christmas day scene in the movie While you Were Sleeping every time.

    I also love how Julie deals with matters of the heart and how her characters struggle to do the right thing. I can't wait to read her new book. Love the book cover Julie. I'm excited to read your newest creation.

    I also appreciate all the prayer that goes into you writing these books Julie. You are a real prayer warrior and it shows through in the books you write. I know that you want to shine the light of Jesus through the pages. Another reason I LOVE Julie's books and read Christian Fiction.

    Nora St.Laurent
    norafindinghope (at) gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Really enjoyed this great post and the fact that you both ended up with a valuable relationship through that experience.

    Pondering, I like seeing your writing space, Julie. Wondering, what is the hardest part of writing each novel for you? Thanks and blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wonderful post/interview! Appreciate both of you sharing with us. I enjoy Julie's books. Look forward to the upcoming ones; thanks for the little previews. :)
    Have a wondeful week!
    Blessings,
    Karen
    klange61(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Julie, you are my inspiration!I'm so glad I bought your book, A Hope Undaunted, and got your autograph at ACFW. You are one awesome writer and woman of God. Bless you my friend.
    jilly11(at)cinci(dot)rr(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  11. The bookstore story doesn't surprise me in the least!

    I adore your books, Julie. I hope you know that.

    I can't wait for Sean and Emma and Steven and whateverhernameis! They will be preordered the moment they're available.

    Love ya, lady!

    ReplyDelete
  12. [Oh - Julie - my email is acting up - I tried to send one via your website, but I don't know if it went through - could you let me know? Thanks, lady!]

    ReplyDelete
  13. ABI!!! Thanks for coming by, my friend. Sooo glad I can hold your attention, uh, especially through 500-page books!! It would be a heck of a long read otherwise ... :)

    CHRISTINE ... you are MORE than welcome, girl! As women who long to glorify God through our writing, we are in this together, so I strongly urge you to check out our group blog Seekerville, where we strive to encourage, teach and inspire fellow writers on the road to publication and beyond. Our motto is, "leave no woman (or man) behind"! :)

    JODIE!! Sure hope you are going to ACFW this year, girl, because I'd love to give you a hug. Thanks for coming by and good luck in the contest.

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great Interview!
    My question for Julie is: Are you going to be writing Marcy and Patrick's love story? I know you mentioned once how you would love to but I'm wondering are there any concrete plans to do so or not?
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Julie, I really enjoyed reading this interview! Up to this point, I admit (gulp), that I hadn't heard of you. Now, I want to read your books. :)

    I truly appreciate your transparency as you shared how you deal with rejections. I am early in the writing process of my first ms, so I am eager to learn from those who've gone before me, and to develop a godly mindset in all aspects of writing, and (hopefully, one day) seeking being published. May the Lord continue to use you to speak truth and encouragement into the hearts of your readers!
    P.S. Great job, Heidi! :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. NORA!!! Hey, girl, thanks SOOO much for taking time to come by, and I JUST watched "While You Were Sleeping" the night before last and I LOVE that Christmas scene, so HUGE compliment!! And OH YES, there is a TON of prayer that goes into these books, not only because I crave God's anointing on these stories, but because I'd flat-out be up the proverbial creek without God's help. Right now I am putting together a proposal for my next 3-book series, and if I didn't know God was in this with me, I would have NO fingernails left, trust me. :) Thanks again, my good friend -- I hope and pray I get to come to Atlanta for ICRS so I can hug you to pieces.

    DTOPLIFF ... I sense you are a "Ponderer," correct?? Sooo thrilled to be on your very cool blog today with Heidi, you and the others. As far as "what is the hardest part of writing each novel," before today, I would have said the first quarter of the book. As an author who LOVES family saga, I have to introduce this VERY passionate 14-person family to a new reader who maybe hasn't read the previous books, which is not easy to do in a short period of time. You see, I have to convey ages, descriptions, personalities, quirks, backgrounds and specific dialogue styles in a way that not only helps the reader to identify each unique character (and they are, every one of them unique and different), BUT love them too!

    BUT ... after working on a new proposal where I have to start from scratch, with no prior plots or characters to build upon, WOW, we're talking sweating bullets here, a roller-coaster of emotions of monumental proportion that I don't mind saying, I don't like one little bit!! But, once again, God is pulling me through page by page, passion by passion, trauma by trauma ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  17. KAREN, thanks for your kind comment about my books and for coming by to enter the contest. Good luck and you have a wonderful week too!

    JILL!!! Soooo good to see you here, my friend! And I cannot WAIT to hold YOUR new book in my hand, SECRETS OF THE HEART, which as you know I LOVED and endorsed. Thanks for coming by AND for you sweet words.

    Aw, CAROL, you are SUCH a sweetheart, you know that? Thanks SO much for your support, my friend, and NO, I did not receive an e-mail from you though my website, but you usually send me a direct e-mail anyway, right??

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  18. CAROLYNN!!! What happened to that cute pic of your niece you used to have ... or is this not the same Carolynn from Canada that I know and love???

    Regarding Marcy and Patrick's story, initially I pitched it as a Christmas story, which my publisher said they would be interested in, but not till 2014, so I pulled the project. BUT ... I have made up my mind to go ahead and write it this year, hopefully, as a regular novel (shorter than my other books, maybe 300-400 pages) with a Christmas time period. We'll see if I can get anybody to publish it ... :)

    JEANNE T!!! Oh, girl, we're going to have to remedy that situation ASAP regarding my books!! We'll have to see what we can do in this contest, aren't we??

    And you're welcome about the transparency. I honestly don't know any other way to be because I'm pretty much an open book (uh, a 500-page book, at that!) and what you read in my interviews is what you get in my books too. Glad I could be of some help in this rugged publishing journey, and I strongly recommend you check out our group blog called Seekerville because it will encourage you even more. After all, we're all in this together, right?

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  19. Julie - I do normally email you directly but your isp has decided I'm spam :(. Four emails bounced saying they decided they were spam. I wondered if the isp would say the same thing from your website since it had my return address on it. I followed the directions in the email to hopefully be unspammed... Didn't want to use my other email b/c it gets so much junk I'm afraid you'd get lost :p.

    I may try my gmail though and hope that it doesn't see my name in the address and flip out.

    And you are the sweetheart, darlin'!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh - and Jeanne! Definitely check out Seekerville! It's like a Master's course ;).

    [I've just found MBT and am checking it out so... =D. Voices membership has been approved...]

    ReplyDelete
  21. [Sorry for hijacking the comments - but the gmail was returned too Julie :(. Says it's spam... again. I included the original email - guess I shouldn't have done that...]

    ReplyDelete
  22. [Julie - I got both of your emails but still couldn't reply :(. Looks like one from my att address went through - hadn't wanted to use it because it gets all the junk, but we'll see... :)]

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks for this post. I love family saga/series books and yours sound delightful...going on my TBR list now. :) And thanks for sharing your story of rejections...I'm up to 12 since May 2010, but did get a request for 2 fulls in January. Always good to be reminded to have hope. All the best!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Julie, it's such a delight to have you here! Your first series sits on the front row of my bookshelf. Now I'll have to make room for your next series! Thanks for sharing bits of your journey with us!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Julie! I am not exaggerating when I say that my encounter with you over that conference weekend was a major highpoint. I made a last minute decision to attend and traveled from Spokane, Washington, all alone. I was staying at a different hotel, by myself, and I had never attended a writing conference of any kind. With over 500 attendees at the conference, it was a little overwhelming and I was pretty intimidated. So I spent a lot of time in the bookstore! You were the "real" author to sort of befriend me. (Note: my definition of a real author has radically changed since then, and I now see that everyone there was a real author!)

    Anyway, as it turns out, just about everyone in Christian fiction is incredibly kind and helpful, but you were the first to exemplify that kindness and it has stuck with me! I'm so glad I could do this interview and publicly thank you for taking that little bit of extra time with to encourage me. It mattered!
    And I am so impressed you remember that I was buying for my friend Julie Summerhill! I was looking for books like those of Julie Klassen, who was my friend's favorite author at the time. Add Julie Lessman, and you've got yourself a Julie trilogy!! A Passion Most Pure turned out to be the perfect choice for my Julie! In fact, I am hoping she will be stopping by here over the next few days to get her name entered as she loves your books!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am totally hooked on Julie's books....love her interviews and blogs, too!!! She's the greatest!! Please enter me.....am so anxious to read her newest one coming up!! Thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
  27. It's so good to see so many new faces! Welcome to all of you:

    Christine~ The fact that you have 8 rejections means you have written something and you are getting it out there. Good for you!! I have ZERO rejections because I am still trying to complete something to send out!I hope to see you again here on the Ponderer blog...let us know when we can buy your book!!

    Karen K~ I can see why you are one Julie's biggest fans...not only are her books awesome, but she's pretty great too! Keep on her to finish Steven's story!! Thanks for coming by!

    Apple blossom~ Julie's books are epic! They tend to run about 500-ish pages, and like you, my attention is held to the end. I never feel like she has thrown in a bunch of filler, but that every last page is important! Thanks for joining us today!

    And Julie, I am heading to your 2010 Magic Number blog as soon as I am done here!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I read a Passion Most Pure and found it full of unexpected plot twists and turns. I'm so glad I got a chance to get to know Julie better. What a humble writer, to recommend other authors' books to you, Heidi, rather than touting her own.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Julie, are you on Twitter?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Christine~ Welcome! I'm glad you were encouraged today...Julie's good at that, isn't she?

    Jodie~First of all, I love your screen name, Digging for Pearls! It says so much in just three little words. Thanks for joining us today!

    Nora~ I agree with every word! Well, except that I have to admit I've not read A Hope Undaunted...yet! My copy is currently sitting in my Amazon cart waiting for me to get a tax return! =) In all seriousness, I agree that is obvious Julie has prayed over her creations. Considering she is dealing with characters who are human and therefore prone to human desires, I appreciate that Julie is real and true to her characters, even when it means the occasional 1-star Amazon review by those who think Christian fiction needs to be devoid of sin. My life is certainly not sin-free, why would I want to read about perfect people who never struggle? It makes me sad that some people choose to see "smut" instead of, as you so beautifully said, "the light of Jesus (shining)through the pages." Thanks for joining the conversation today!

    ReplyDelete
  31. CAROL ... hope we got it fixed, sweetie, or at least I got your last e-mail -- YAY!!

    REINA ... Oh, girlfriend, if you like FAMILY SAGA, then you've come to the right place!! Toss in LOTS of drama, angst, passion for God and some pretty heated kisses, and you've got my books. I make no apologies -- I am a died-in-the-wool CDQ (caffeinated drama queen), so I pretty much ramp it up every scene. My best friend (not a fiction reader) said when she first read A Passion Most Pure, "Gosh, Julie, there's SO much tension!! Can't you just write sweet, simple romance??" Uh, no ... because I want to stay awake at the keyboard ... :)

    And WHOO-HOO -- requests for two fulls in January?? Good for you, REINA!!! And up to twelve R's means you're out there taking a chance, trying, and you can't get a contract without trying, right?? Good luck, both in this contest AND with your ms.

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  32. Dtopliff is indeed our one of our own! Ponderer Delores is one of the most encouraging people I have ever met! Love you Dee!!

    Karen L~ Thank you for joining us, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the post! It was absolutely my pleasure to interview Julie, especially since it gave me an opportunity to share my own "Julie experience."

    Jillian~ Welcome! Thank you for stopping by! I see you are like Julie in not wanting to push your own book, but now we know! SECRETS OF THE HEART, loved and endorsed by Julie...when can we buy it?

    Carol~ One of my favorite things about the bookstore story is that it doesn't seem to surprise anyone, meaning Julie is genuine; she is the same sweet lady no matter the situation. Thanks for joining us today, and don't worry about the "hijacking"...I'm glad we could help you communicate with Julie!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. GReat post! Thank you for sharing your writing history, especially the part about being rejected so many times. Makes me feel a little better about mine. I haven't read any of Julie's books so I'm on my way over to Amazon to get started.

    ReplyDelete
  34. LISA!!!!!!!! WHOO-HOO, girlfriend, you are ROCKIN' with your sale to LI -- SOOOO thrilled for you!! And thank you for your kind words -- I hope to have YOUR book on my bookshelf too, sweetie. :)

    O-MY-GOSH, HEIDI ... you may have told me that about you traveling from Spokane by yourself and staying at a different hotel, but WOW, you are one brave woman!! But your personality is so full of life and sparkle, that I wouldn't expect otherwise from you. First conferences can be REALLY scary!! God taught me a HUGE lesson at the very first ACFW conference (uh, first conference PERIOD!), which is a really cool, almost supernatural story. If you are so inclined, you can read about it here when I wrote about it on my Seeker post entitled "Conference CPR: Cry, Pray, Repent. Conference CPR: Cry, Pray, Repent

    Uh, and actually I'm impressed I remembered, too, because I am NOT known for my memory, but you left such an impression on me, kiddo, that your and Julie's names have been emblazoned on my mind! Can't wait to say "hey" to Julie if she stops by!

    JACKIE!!! Hey, girl, you never did answer me on the last blog you commented on as to how your hubby is doing. I still have him on my prayer hit list, so let me know if he's in the pink, okay? Thanks for coming by, sweetie, and good luck in the contest!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  35. Julie~ I laughed @ your answer to Delores' question about the hardest part of writing! What you described is how I feel about my writing all the time, lol! Sweating bullets, a roller-coaster of "emotions of monumental proportion" but I am encouraged that God is pulling you through "trauma by trauma!" That last one puts a smile on my face. You told us that your first book was in your heart at age 12, and as such, you had over 40 years to tweak and rewrite it before it was published. In addition, those characters who had been hanging out in your head for so long seemed determined to have their stories told. Do you think being on a publisher's schedule as you embark on this new proposal is part of the "trauma?"

    ReplyDelete
  36. Yeah, BETH, I'm kind of partial to those "twists and turns"!! And I'm not too sure about the humility, but I do remember Heidi telling me Julie liked Julie Klassen and since Julie K. (a good friend of mine) writes Jane Austin type books, I think I was probably pointing some of those out, maybe? I'm guessing I would have gotten to my books eventually, so don't canonize me just yet ... :)

    And, yes, Beth, I AM on Twitter and you can click on it via my website or here's the link: Julie Lessman Twitter. Thanks for asking.

    Gosh, HEIDI, you're flushing my cheeks, there. I like to think that what you see (or read) is what you get with me, but one thing I have found with ACFW is that the number of genuine, kind and God- and people-loving writers there will boggle your mind -- it's one organization that's LOADED with great people and a REAL must to join and attend if you want to make headway in the Christina writing world.

    PAT!!! Goodness, girl, you don't beat around the bush, do you??? My kind of person!! Thanks SO much for heading over to Amazon straightaway -- that blesses me. But only buy the first one, because if you like it, you might win the second one here, okay? Thanks, sweetie -- happy reading!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  37. Carolynn~ I'm glad you liked the interview. I think your question about Marcy and Patrick shows how wonderful Julie's characters are, and how, as I was just saying, they seem to demand to have their stories told. I'm glad Julie is going to write it, and contrary to her worries, I don't think she will have any trouble getting it published!

    Jeanne~ I know this sounds crazy, but I am so glad you hadn't heard of Julie until today! There are so many awesome authors out there, it is impossible to know them all...I am thrilled that I get to be the one to introduce you to Julie's books. You will have to let me know what you think! One of my favorite things about Julie is that she went from Queen of Rejections to Debut Author of the Year. With the same manuscript!! If that isn't hope, I don't know what is! It just goes to show that if we are writing what God puts on our hearts, we can never give up.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Reina~ Welcome! Just like with Jeanne, I am glad to be the one to introduce you to Julie's books. If you love family saga/series books, these are the books for you! Like Julie said, tons of drama, and passion through the roof. When you read them, you will be amazed that she was rejected even once. Like you said, it is important to have hope. Congrats on the two requests...that is awesome!! Keep taking chances.

    And Jeanne and Carol M~ Carol, I almost missed your note to Jeanne...thank you for checking us out. We are just getting started on our journey together, and while we are a diverse group, we have the same goals: to write, publish, and encourage others. Jeanne, Carol is right about Seekerville...great stuff! Make sure you check it out!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thanks! And for anyone who doesn't have her books...book 1 and book 3 of The Daughters of Boston are on bargain price at Amazon...so of course, though I'm not supposed to be buying books right now, I had to get them! :)

    ReplyDelete
  40. Lisa~ I think our bookshelves are probably pretty similar. And pretty soon, I will have YOUR FIRST BOOK sitting up there too!! Can you tell I am a little excited? =)

    Jackie~ Welcome! Thanks for joining us! Julie has is so easy to interview, which is good because this was my first author interview! (It would've been terrifying if Julie wasn't so awesome!) Consider yourself entered, and remember to come back tomorrow and/or Wednesday and post again for up to 2 more entries. Good luck!!

    Beth~ Isn't it so true?! I think Julie's choice to suggest other authors rather than trying to push her own work is what spoke to me the loudest! In fact, she seemed almost embarrassed to have the volunteer point out her book and Debut Author nomination. Up to that point I had met a few people who only wanted to talk about the book they were there to pitch. Julie's humility was refreshing. And after meeting her, it was as if I began to be drawn to people like her, and I discovered that most of ACFW's published authors wanted nothing more than to help the "less fortunate" (for lack of a better term, lol) succeed in realizing their writing dreams.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Julie, Julie, Julie,
    I love each and every interview you give!!!!
    The more you share, the more we readers love you!
    You are so REAL, and God is pleased when we are real and honest! He knows who we truly are anyways, doesn't he?
    It has to be hard to admit you had so many rejections, but you give so much hope to those writers out there who are still struggling to be published! You are such an inspiration!
    Keep on keeping on, dear author friend!
    So many blessings and smiles to you:)
    Charlotte
    charlovesmark at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  42. Pat~ You won't be sorry, and I said earlier to Reina, you will be amazed she was ever rejected!

    Charlotte~ Welcome! I'm glad you joined us today. Julie's interviews ARE all so great...so you can imagine I was a little nervous be interviewing her! At one point, I literally had 20 questions on my list, and it took me three days to get it down to 4. After that, it was so easy, because Julie is so easygoing and easy to interview. It was in another interview that I read about the rejections. I had no idea; I was stunned that so many took a pass on what ended up being award-winning work! You are so right; her testimony indeed gives hope to all of us struggling writers! Thanks for your post.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Julie is so right about ACFW! By the end of the Denver conference, it no longer felt like hundreds of people. It was more like a family. I didn't want to come home!! Aside from the conference, if you haven't joined ACFW, I strongly recommend it. There is a wealth of experience and information available to members, and it is the best $65 (first year) to $45 (each year after) you will ever invest in your writing!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Julie~ At the time I would've chosen the word "CRAZY" to describe what I did. My husband and I made the decision on MONDAY and I flew out Thursday!! I didn't have time to give thought to what exactly I was doing. I hadn't followed the ACFW chat on first time attendance, but I did go to the meeting for newbies.

    I don't think I realized what I had gotten myself into until I walked into the banquet hall and saw that sea of tables. I still remember thinking, "Um, that's a LOT of tables...how many people are here, anyway?!?!?" But I had made my bed and now I had to figure out how to lay in it. So, I gulped down fear, reminded myself that I wasn't truly alone because I had asked God to meet me there, and headed toward the front of the room. I purposely picked an empty table, and then gave God permission to fill it with the people He wanted me to meet.

    And for the record, I have only felt full of life and sparkle since a serious car accident forced me to sort of start over. You can read about it here:

    http://mbtponderers.blogspot.com/2011/01/life-defined-by-god.html

    I figured that if God could handle big stuff like that, He could totally deal with the small stuff! So, after living in fear of just about everything for 38 years, I have been blessed to be blissfully fear-free (mostly, that is) for the past 4. Besides, as I mentioned to Beth, meeting you sort of set me at ease and I then began meeting more people like you. (Okay, so no one is quite like YOU, but you know what I mean, lol!!)

    ReplyDelete
  45. It is just after 8 pm, EST, and the Monday Night Chat is just getting started over at My Book Therapy. Come join the discussion on why a reader should pick up your book and care about your story.

    http://mybooktherapy.ning.com

    To access the chat:

    * Join us at 8 p.m. EST
    * Sign into My Book Therapy with username and password, if necessary.
    * Click on the Chat tab at the top of the screen below the site header
    * Your name will show up in the right sidebar.
    * To post a comment, type in the box below the yellow smiley face.
    * We abide by chat etiquette to maintain order in the room. Please type ? for question, type ! for comment, and when you're done typing your comment or question, please type GA for go ahead. That lets us know to continue. We will call on you in order.
    * If you have any questions, please send an email to lisa@mybooktherapy.com

    ReplyDelete
  46. Yes, Julie it's me! LOL...I changed the picture a while ago.
    Thanks for answering, that's so exciting! I can't wait to read their story and I'm sure you will have no trouble finding a publisher! God Bless you my friend! :)

    ReplyDelete
  47. Julie, I'm so glad you persevered through all the rejections! There are probably some editors who are kicking themselves now. You have shown that Christians can be passionate (but you definitely do not show this in a smutty way). Keep on writing; I'm looking forward to the final two books in this series. The next series that you blogged about Friday sounds like it will be a winner too!

    ReplyDelete
  48. Heidi - thank you for the warm welcome :). I'll have to spend more time looking around once I get my Genesis stuff ready to go. Oy. That's the writing plan for the week.

    And JULIE! You're on Twitter?! You're gonna have to explain that one to me, girlie. I think I've got three or four different accounts. I've not got a clue about any of it!

    I'm heading to my first ACFW this year since it's right up the road in ole St. Lou'. Lord willing and the creek don't rise of course. Or rather, the money comes in. It looks like it will though :). PTL. I can't wait!

    Thanks again MBT!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Carol~ The Genesis. Oy is right! Especially with the date earlier this year! I have not ruled out an entry, but I am not optimistic. Good luck to you, though! What category will you enter?

    And hurray for you on your first ACFW conference! You will love it! I've only been to the one (the creek rose, lol, so I missed 2010) but I am hopeful that I will get to attend 2011. Maybe I'll see you there!!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Heidi, thank you for bringing this conversation with Julie. How ensightful!

    ReplyDelete
  51. You are so welcome, Reebs! It truly was my pleasure to interview Julie; I learned a lot. And thank YOU, Reba, for chatting with me tonight at MBT. You always know just what to say to encourage me. But you never did tell me why you didn't take that Spokane job. Can you imagine if we lived in the same town?!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hi Julie,

    Another great interview. Am presently re-reading A Hope Undaunted and am surprisingly enjoying it more the second time around (if that's possible!).

    I'm thrilled that you're going to write Patrick & Marcy's story. Love those two!

    And, of course, looking forward to your next book coming out in the fall.

    Thanks for being such an inspiration, both as a writer and as a person!

    Cheers,
    Sue
    PS. don't worry about me for the draw. I have multiple copies of your books already. :)

    ReplyDelete
  53. Julie, I was wondering how come you choose to put a picture of Emma on the cover of 'A Heart Revealed' instead of Sean?
    Not that I don't like the sample cover you shared with us in your newsletter...I think it's beautiful. It's just that I also wanted to 'see' Sean! ;) lol

    ReplyDelete
  54. Julie,
    This is your second series. How soon do you start planning and thinking about the next series. As you know I'm in the midst of series number one. I hope I'll get to write another one for Realms. What's your process for this? How long are you given to write each book?
    Thanks kiddo!
    Jill
    jilly11(at)cinci(dot)rr(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  55. SOOOOO SORRY I'VE BEEN MIA!!! Didn't get home from Bible Study till late last night and had doctors' appts. ALL DAY, but it's okay because this was a GOOD doctor's visit. Not talking about my health, of course, but the fact that my young doctor's jaw dropped when she read that I was 60. She told me I look closer to 40 than 60, so I'd say that was worth the price of the visit, wouldn't you? Heck, I'd pay her extra just for that ... :)

    CHARLOTTE, CHARLOTTE, CHARLOTTE ... you sure know how to make a girl's day!! You and the doctor I mentioned above aren't in cahoots, are you, trying to make this old girl feel better??? Well, I love "each and every" comment you leave too, kiddo, so THANK YOU so very much for your kind words and your support -- means more than I can say!

    LOL, HEIDI, you are SUCH a hoot!! Twenty questions, really??? And you were nervous, with MOI??? Silly girl, I am so down to earth, I'm practically dirt, so NEVER be nervous with me ever again, you hear? :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  56. O-MI-GOSH ... O-MI-GOSH!!! HEIDI, that story of your accident brought tears to my eyes, girl, and I am praising God for His hand in your life!!! That sure sounds like He has a plan for you as a writer too, because not only was that beautifully written, but He obviously has things for you to do yet with your talents.

    I say that because I have a similar story about how I was sitting at a stoplight behind another car in 2005, on my way to pray with my prayer partners, when an elderly man apparently didn't see my stopped car OR the red light. He plowed me and the car in front of me into the intersection at about 40-50 mph, into oncoming traffic. My car was totaled and I was put into an ambulance with a brace on my neck. I was laying there in shock, shivering like a son of gun when I heard (a thought, not an actual voice, mind you, but a thought, loud and clear) that said the following: "Julie, I saved you because I'm going to use you." As soon as the thought struck, peace immediately enveloped me and the shivering faded and stopped. I ended up completely unscathed although my car was totaled. Keep in mind that up until that time, I was sitting on a ton of rejections and setbacks in my writing. A few days after the accident, I finaled in the GH, got a agent months later and then sold six months after that. My point is that God DOES have a plan and purpose for each and every one of us and if God is far us, NOBODY can stop us in that plan. So your day is coming, my friend. God saved you because He's going to use you. Period.

    And, WOW, how I wish I could have attended your Book Therapy discussion last night, but I have Bible Study on Monday nights for six weeks, so I am sorry that I missed it!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  57. CAROLYNN ... I thought so, sweetie. I miss your niece's picture, though, I have to say ... :)

    PAM ... grin ... well, I'm not sure if there are any editors "kicking" themselves, but I do know that my editor kicks herself on occasion when it comes to me because as I like to say about Katie O'Connor in my books, "I'm a handful" -- just ask my husband!! I guess I must ask and do things that not a lot of other authors do because I am pretty sure there's a lot of eye-rolling going on when I do, although my editor tells me that they always pass my e-mails around for a laugh ... :) But thank you, though, for your kind comment, my friend, and good luck in the contest.

    CAROL!!! YES, I am on Twitter, although I have Miralee Ferrell (great author, by the way!!) to thank because she literally dragged me into the 21st century at an ACFW conference two years ago. Sat me down in the lobby of the Hyatt and strongarmed me to sign up for FB and Twitter, neither of which I do well, I might add. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  58. HEIDI!!! Get that Genesis in, girl, because contests (especially that one) are SOOO important in so many ways, truly. And I am SOOO excited I might get to see you (and hopefully Carol) in St. Louis this fall -- that is WAY COOL!!

    SUE!!! SOOOOO good to see you here, my friend -- thanks for swinging by and saying such nice things. And you are rereading AHU??? That blesses me because as you know, it's my favorite of all the books I've written. This is going to sound silly, I know, but whenever I ship one out in a contest win, I find myself sitting down and reading the first few pages again, which always makes me want to reread it too. What can I say -- these characters are like family to me, and of course, I LOVE Luke McGee ... sigh.

    CAROLYNN ... actually, that was Revell's decision, not mine, and they did it primarily because they wanted me to focus on the heroines more than the heroes. And not only is it cheaper to just have a heroine on the cover rather than having to shoot two models, one for the heroine and one for the hero, but also because also there's less danger of the reader being disappointed that the hero doesn't look like she pictured him. But, I will try to remember to include in my next newsletter a model/movie star pic of the guy I pictured for Sean, okay? :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  59. JILL ... ironically, I have been working on my proposal for my third 3-book series THIS WEEK and Steven's story is not out until Sept. 2012, so that should give you some idea as to my time parameters for pitching the next series. I've been thinking about it for a long time now, so it's just a matter of fleshing it out, which I hope to finish doing by end of February.

    But, if I were you, I'd get your ideas/proposal drafted sooner than I did so you can get a leg up on the process because your book WILL do VERY well, I suspect.

    When I sold my first series, the Daughters of Boston, I had both APMP and APR already written, so it was a breeze to meet the year deadline for APD. For Winds of Change series, Revell moved me to an once-a-year release schedule rather than the every-nine-month release schedule I had for DOB, so I get about a year to write a book. I would rather be on a 6-9 month schedule, however, so I am cutting this next series down page-wise from my usual 500 pages to about 350-400 pages, which I hope will help me get more books out more quickly.

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  60. Thanks Julie, that makes sense! Looking forward to seeing how you picture Sean. :)

    ReplyDelete
  61. Julie, I absolutely love your books! I have seven kids, so I love how your books are family oriented. I can't wait for Sean and Emma's story!

    berryfoot@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  62. Julie, Well I finally have a minute to say a couple of final things. :) First, I am definitely going to get ahold of one (or more) of your books. :) The contest way would be great, if God so wills. IF not, I'll beg, borrow or buy one. :)

    I am also eager to check out your Seekerville blog. :) I'm always looking for good information. MBT has been so helpful too!

    So, my questions. When did you first go to ACFW and what were your feelings and impressions? I am hoping to go this year, but that may still be up in the air. :)

    Thanks again for sharing your wisdom and fun voice here! I'm looking forward to learning more about you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  63. Susan~

    Welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. It was a lot of fun for me, and Julie made it easy. Between you saying you are re-reading A Hope Undaunted, and Julie saying it is her favorite, I almost wish I could win it! =) And thank you for giving up your chance, I'm sure whoever wins it will be glad there was one less name!

    ReplyDelete
  64. Tamara~

    Welcome! Wow, SEVEN kids!! I have my hands full with two, so you must be one amazing woman! Like you, I love books about families, and Julie's are wonderful. Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  65. Julie~

    I was never nervous about YOU, I was nervous about doing an interview and putting it out here for anyone to read. The few blogs I've posted here are the only writing I've done in public, so this has been a stretch for me. I was also a little stressed about picking the right questions, and doing you and your books justice. You were actually the easy part! =)

    Speaking of blogs I've posted, thanks for reading the one about my accident. And thank you for the encouragement about my writing and God's plan. He definitely used my accident to move me toward writing; I'm just waiting to see what He wants to do next. Your accident story inspires me to keep waiting!

    One more thing...I'm with your doctor! I'm shocked that you are 60! You are going to need to share your secrets to looking so young!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Jeanne~

    I know your question about ACFW was for Julie, but I just wanted to put in my two cents. I've only been to the 2009 conference, and I am not exaggerating when I say it was life changing. There's a great keynote speaker (it was Debbie Macomber in 2009), numerous opportunities to network, and a wide variety of classes taught by writers who truly know the craft. Everyone was so incredibly nice!! The whole point of the conference is for those who are successful to help those who are a little further behind on the road to publication. And did I mention how much fun it is? As I mentioned, I didn't know ANYONE when I stepped into the banquet room, but by the end of the conference I had met at least 100 people.

    I missed the 2010 conference, and it was so painful, lol, that I will do everything in my power to never have to miss another! You say that you are up in the air about whether or not to attend. My advice is ATTEND!! You will not be sorry. It is worth every penny, and if money is an issue, ACFW has scholarships you can apply for if you've been a member in good standing for at least a year. I am planning to be there, I hope to see YOU there!

    ReplyDelete
  67. Julie~

    I hear you on the Genesis entry. I entered last year, and overall it was a good experience. I was disappointed by my scores, but I learned a lot, and if I can get it together, lol, I know my scores will be higher this time. I just have to find the time to put my fanny in a chair and get 15 pages ready. I also want to enter The Frasier, the MBT contest. Check it out:

    http://www.mybooktherapy.com/index2.php/2011/01/24/the-my-book-therapy-frasier-contest-is-open/

    ReplyDelete
  68. Hi Julie,
    My name is Ashley and I'm 18 years old. I just wanted to let you know that I ADORE your books. I'm aspiring to be a novelist someday and I can only hope to be as succesful as you. The way you mix passion and faith makes a girls heart pound while showing God's work and people's lives. I received my first book by you from my dad! My 16th birthday he bought me A Passion Most Pure. The fact that he found a new series to love before me is incredible since I'm a total book worm and purchase every new book to hit the market! But anyways, I just wanted to encourage you and say keep at it!

    ReplyDelete
  69. Julie,
    Thanks for the feedback on the series proposal. That does give me a better view of where I need to be. Best of blessings to you as you work on your proposal too.
    Smiles,
    Jill
    jilly11(at)cinci(dot)rr(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  70. TAMARA!!! Good-night, girlfriend, SEVEN KIDS and you STILL have time to read books??? Heck, you deserve to win this contest on that alone!! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to encourage me, sweetie, because it blesses the socks off of me. I'm glad the "family oriented" aspect of my books appeal to you because I am from a family of 13 kids, so I just couldn't let all that valuable experience go to waste in my books, right??? Good luck in the contest!!

    JEANNE ... I SO appreciate you checking out my books, and I KNOW you will love Seekerville, trust me on that one, for sure! As far as my "feelings and impressions" of my first ACFW Conference, I actually wrote a blog about that called "Conference CPR: Cry, Pray, Repent," which I mentioned in a comment above, but will repeat the link here in case you want to check it out. It pretty much gives you a GREAT idea as to my feelings and impressions during my first conference ... uh, and those of the Holy Spirit, too!! ;) Here's the link:

    Conference CPR

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  71. HEIDI ... oh, honey, we HAVE to get A Hope Undaunted into your hands, my friend, one way or another!! My next Seeker post will be on March 9, and I always do a giveaway of one of my books or sometimes even a critique in lieu of a book, so be sure to come by next month to leave a comment and enter, okay?

    And I'm glad it wasn't me that had you nervous, but, girl, after reading your responses above and that amazing blog you wrote and this one, YOU have NOTHING to worry about with your writing -- you're excellent!! And the MBT looks like a GREAT contest -- Susie Warren and Rachel Hauck are two of the best authors around, so that's VERY COOL!!

    ASHLEY!!! Your dad bought you A Passion Most Pure??? And am I to understand that HE read the series first???? I have had men read my books, but it's definitely not the norm, so if that's what happened, you give him a big ol' hug for me, okay??? And THANK YOU for your sweet comment -- I am BLESSED!! When you are ready to head down the road to publication, you let me know and I will give you the 8 or 9 steps I took to get there, okay? God bless and good luck with your writing and in the contest.

    JILL ... Right back at ya, my friend! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  72. Heidi and Julie,
    I think my first attempt at leaving this comment ended up somewhere in the ether....
    Thanks so much for your words of encouragement! Heidi, I loved reading about your first ACFW conference in your interview above. You must be an amazing lady to go to a conference and to reach out and embrace meeting others. :)

    My dear sweet husband is allowing me to go to all three MBT retreats this year (Florida, here I come!), so I am not sure if ACFW will be in the budget this year....I'm going to pray and see how the Lord provides. :)

    Julie, thanks so much for posting a link about Conference CPR. Sounds like a good one for me to read! I'm headed there next. :) Thanks to both of you for all you have offered over these past few days!

    ReplyDelete
  73. Mrs. Lessman,
    loved hearing about your writing journey, I enjoyed all of your books and am eagerly waiting for the next installments. Can't wait to hear all about Sean and Steven's stories.
    The librarian at my local library is working on a Christian fiction book. I hope she meet with at least half of the success you did!

    Keep writing. I love everything you write, books, blogs etc.

    Faith Oygard mystery.penny@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  74. Ashley~ Welcome! I'm so glad you found us. It's awesome that your dad found Julie's books and shared them with you! Like you, I love that her books are so passionate, yet restrained. I think that for us girls who love Jesus and desire to live our life according to His Word, Julie's books are REALISTIC! I think she paints a picture of real passion; we know we must draw a line that can't be crossed, but when we are carried away by our hearts, only God can help us stay on the right side of the line.

    How wonderful that you are an aspiring novelist! I'm going to give you a couple bits of advice. #1: No matter what, NO MATTER WHAT, never let anyone tell you that you should give up your dream to write. (I lost 20 years because I listened to one college professor who told me I would never amount to anything as a writer.) As long as you have a story to tell, and voices in your head that demand to be heard, you keep writing. #2: Study craft. Read books on writing. (I have a bookshelf FULL of them, if you'd like I can recommend a few.) There are authors who offer free writing email subscriptions, and the My Book Therapy website has a weekly online live chat with great writing instruction and you can ask questions about whatever you are working on. #3: Find as many blogs like this one, Julie's Seekerville, and My Book Therapy w/Susan May Warren & Rachel Hauck, to name a few, for encouragement from writers at all phases of the writing journey.

    Good luck to you! I hope to see you here again!

    ReplyDelete
  75. Jeanne~ I have to be honest, my ACFW conference experience was all God! I have not traveled alone, even by car, since before I got married 17 years ago! More importantly, I was too self-conscious to enjoy meeting new people. Even though I did hair for twenty years, I didn't consider myself to be truly outgoing. But this was different. My husband couldn't get away to come with me, and I knew if I wanted to do it, I had to do it alone. And God gave me this amazing peace about the whole thing before I ever got on the airplane. This was not like meeting new people...it was more like being reunited with long-lost family! These were my people, lol, and I loved them.

    After ACFW 2009, I attended Susie's Story Crafter retreat, and found my Ponderer sisters. Attending that retreat made a huge difference in my skill and my confidence. She's such a great teacher! My sweet hubby went with me to that one, and then gave me his blessing to attend the other two. I loved every minute of all of them. I am thrilled for you that you get to do the same! I have to admit, I am a little jealous that I won't be in Florida, but God knew I needed to be home even before I did! (My mom is having major surgery on Friday morning, and we didn't find out until just this past week. God is so good!!) Anyway, on a selfish not, I hope ACFW works out for you because it is the next event I get to attend, and I'd really like to meet you! Have an amazing time in Florida!! =)

    ReplyDelete
  76. Faith~ Welcome! I'm glad you could join us today. I hope you will keep us posted on your librarian's journey! I always love to hear about other authors of Christian fiction! Good luck with the contest!

    ReplyDelete
  77. Julie~ Okay, now it's my turn to blush! Thank you so much for the encouraging words. I struggle because while I love to tell a good story, and I can write...it's the writing of a good story that I gets me all twisted up!! So here's a question for you: Where do find the best ideas for your stories? And do you know everything that is going to happen before you start, or does it just sort of unfold as you write?

    ReplyDelete
  78. JEANNE ... I checked out the MBT Retreats, and they look SOOO very cool!! Is it just Susie May Warren who teaches or does Rachel Hauck teach too? You are one lucky girl to be able to go to all three retreats -- have a blast!!

    FAITH ... thanks SO much for your sweet comment AND for coming by -- hope it results in a contest win, my friend. And if and when your librarian friend decides to embark on the road to publication, tell her to e-mail me through my website and I will tell her the steps I took to get published, okay?

    HEIDI ... GREAT advice to Ashely, girl -- I wholeheartedly agree!!

    And, goodness, I am SO sorry to hear your mom has to have surgery Friday, but am saying one RIGHT NOW for a safe and successful procedure.

    Regarding your questions about where I find the best ideas for my stories -- I'm kind of embarrassed to say this, but on my treadmill!! I don't know if it's the endorphin rush or what, but between my worship music blaring in my ears and my legs pounding at warp speed, ideas come at me faster than the belt under my feet. I have brainstormed upon occasion with others, but not often. It's usually all just from my crazy life and my crazy brain. :)

    As far as knowing everything that is going to happen before I start writing, or does it just sort of unfold as I write -- with the Daughters of Boston, and A Passion Most Pure particularly, I had only a vague idea (a skeleton plot left over from that early ms. at the age of 12) of what I wanted to write. So on APMP, not much of a plot in my mind, no synopsis, no real direction. I simply sat down and wrote a first line and BOOM, it carried me away. I am a seat-of-the-pants writer, so all I really need is a title or first line, and I'm good to go. Even with Seeker blogs, the titles come to me first, then I write the blog. Weird, i know!

    However, by the time I got to book 3 A Passion Denied and especially book 4, A Hope Undaunted, I was forced to plot and plan because I have so many stories I am juggling in the air at one time, that my SOTP style had to take a backseat to the plotter style, which I found I really like. And, boy, by the time I got to APD, I had to create a birthday/anniversary/age chart that would boggle your mind since all 14 main characters moved from book to book!

    Hope that answers your question, sweetie.

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  79. Hi, Thanks for welcoming me, and yes, I will keep encouraging my librarian friend, and pray for her success. Hopefully I will see her next time I stop by the library.
    Heidi, thanks so much for hosting!

    Faith

    ReplyDelete
  80. I can't wait to read Julie's new book!

    Ann_Lee_Miller@msn.com

    ReplyDelete
  81. Hi Julie-

    I cant even begin to tell you how thrilled I was when my friend Heidi came home from her writing conference with a copy of your book A Passion Most Pure, just for me. Yes I am that Julie :) I LOVE historical fiction and am a hopeless romantic. Not only do I love Historical Fiction, but also a good story line. Your book delivered on both accounts.

    Heidi and I have been friends and book club friends for many years- I want to thank you for being such an encouragement to her. You could not have bestowed your kindness on a more deserving person. She has come so far on her journey to be a writer. It is very exciting to be able to experience her journey with her. She truely has a talent for the written word. God has blessed her with a brilliant mind. I know I speak for all of the ladies in our book club when I say, we can not wait till the day she publishes her first book. We know it is not if, but when!!

    Many blessings to you and your family. I wish you much success for many, many years to come!!

    Blessings-
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  82. Lady DragonKeeper2/24/11, 12:52 AM

    Thanks for hosting Mrs. Geist (and for the chance to win)! I liked hearing the story about how you and *Ms.* Julie met --very cool.

    Like Carolynn, I (also) thought it was kind of "weird" that they have Emma on the cover on "A Heart Revealed" ... and the heroine presumably on book 3 too, since the O'Connors are the main characters ... butdo the explanation does make sense.

    Ms. Julie --I saw the photos from the newsletter you sent (thank you)! =) I can definitely see it --except the only thing is "Luke's" hair needs to be a really light blond ...

    jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

    ReplyDelete
  83. Lady DragonKeeper2/24/11, 12:56 AM

    *but the explanation

    Ugh, sorry ... I'm a bit obsessive about correcting my spelling or grammar mistakes when I spot them. =)

    ReplyDelete
  84. Faith~ As I said, it was absolutely my pleasure to host and interview Julie. She made it easy and fun!

    Ann~ Welcome! I'm so glad you joined us. You may not have to wait to read her new one if you win it. Good luck!

    Julie S.~ My friend! I'm glad you made it so I could enter you in the contest! I'm also glad you stopped by since you are kind of the reason I met Julie L. Thank you so much for your sweet words...you are always such a blessing and an encouragement to me. I appreciate your friendship!

    Lady DragonKeeper~ I'm glad you found us and this interview! I loved doing it. And I'm just like you when it comes to correcting my spelling and/or grammar mistakes! =) Thanks for stopping by...good luck in the drawing!

    ReplyDelete
  85. So, it's about 10:30 on Wednesday night, here in Spokane, and I am heading to bed. I have been fighting the yuck for the past few days, so I am heading to bed and hopefully, to sleep. I want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to post, right up until midnight(PST)so I am going to wait until tomorrow to draw a name. I will post the winner sometime tomorrow, so keep checking! Thank you for all of your posts and positive feedback.

    ~Heidi

    ReplyDelete
  86. ANN ... you made it!! Wonder if your winning streak will hold here, my friend!! Thanks SO much, not only for your "passionate" support, but your friendship!!

    JULIE!!! We meet at last!!! What a thrill this is for me, too, because YOU are the reason I met Heidi as well, and she's been an incredible blessing the short time I have known her -- can't imagine how much she has blessed you and others. You said "We know it is not if, but when," and I couldn't agree more. Bring it on, Lord!!!Thank you for the "blessings" -- those and prayers, and I will take all I can get ... :)

    LDK!!! Yeah, I agree about "Luke's" hair being lighter in the Brad Pitt picture I sent you, and I think I did say that imagine him as a toehead with white-blond hair. As far as Sean and Steven not being on the covers ... something else my editor was adamant about was that that the 2nd and 3rd books be predominantly about the HEREOINES, not the heroes, which actually was difficult in Sean and Emma's story. My editor made me go back through and beef up Emma's POV and scenes and tone Sean's down because Sean is such a likable, easy-going guy, that I guess a CDQ like me just naturally gravitated to him!! My editor feels that women want to read about heroines first, heroes second, but I have to tell you that it is the heroes in my books who drive me!! :)

    HEIDI, I can't tell you HOW much fun this has been for me -- you are a delight and a real sweetheart, so thank you for your incredible hospitality. Saying one for you RIGHT NOW that you kick the yucks AND that surgery goes well for your mom tomorrow.

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  87. Lady DragonKeeper2/25/11, 1:31 AM

    Wow, I guess that as a writer, books 2 and 3 could be kind of different for you since in most of your previous books, your main character was a O'Connor sister, who had been established in previous books ... naturally you'd want to make Sean and Steven the main character in their respective story rather than someone who's had a lot less "page time" ... =) As a reader, I always felt that both main characters kind of "shared the spotlight" equally in your books, so I'm not too worried --I'm sure it'll be great! =D

    ReplyDelete
  88. Hello again, everyone! Sorry for the delay in picking a winner in the giveaway, but here I am with lucky reader. First, I want to thank Julie for joining us; this was a lot of fun for me. And then I'd like to thank everyone who joined in the conversation with comments and questions. You guys kept the interview going! For those of you who are new to our blog, I hope you will become one of our followers, and continue to visit us. You will generally find a new post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and sometimes surprise posts in between. I look forward to seeing you again!

    And the winner is.......DRUM ROLL PLEASE.........
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    ...CAROLYNN!!! Congratulations, Carolynn! If you give me your email address (you can go to our facebook page and message me) I will get you your Amazon gift card. I will let Julie now that you are our winner, and you two can make arrangements for your book. Thanks Carolynn, for being part of the interview! =)

    ReplyDelete
  89. Wow, Thanks so much!!! What a wonderful way to start out a new week! :)
    Can I leave my email address here? It's carolynnwald [at]hotmail [dot]com
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  90. Of course, Carolynn! That sure makes it easy! I wanted to give you the facebook option in case you didn't want to post your email in public. I already let Julie know you are our winner, and she will be in touch. I will get that Amazon gift card out to you later today or first thing tomorrow. Again, congrats!! And again, thanks for being such a part of this interview!

    =) Heidi

    ReplyDelete
  91. Lady DragonKeeper2/28/11, 4:22 PM

    *confetti* Congrats Carolynn! =D

    ReplyDelete
  92. Heidi, not to rush you or anything, but have you sent the amazon gift card yet? I'm afraid I might have accidentally deleted it if you did!

    ReplyDelete
  93. Oh Carolynn! You didn't delete it...I messed up! I thought I sent it, and then I remembered that I got everything filled out and Amazon wanted me to re-enter my credit card number for confirmation. Of course I didn't have it handy, so I thought I would get the number and come back to it. In the meantime, my brain registered it sent, and in the madness of a house of boys for my oldest son's 15th birthday, I completely dropped the ball. Hubby has the credit card, but I will get it sent ASAP. Rest assured, you did not delete it!! =D

    ReplyDelete
  94. Carolyn~ I sent it yesterday...did you get it? Let me know. And once again, congrats! =D

    ReplyDelete
  95. Hi Heidi, that's okay, I understand completely!
    Yes i did get it, thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  96. Thanks for the advice Heidi, and Julie I'll always be giving my dad big old hugs, he needs them sometimes to tone down his grumpiness from work :)

    ReplyDelete