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Thursday, January 31, 2008

a PASSION most PURE by J. Lessman

This week CFBA is touring Julie Lessman's first novel.

About the book:
She's found the love of her life. Unfortunately, he loves her sister ...As World War I rages across the Atlantic in 1916, a smaller war is brewing in Boston. Faith O’Connor finds herself drawn to an Irish rogue who is anything but right for her. Collin McGuire is brash, cocky, and from the wrong side of the tracks, not to mention forbidden by her father. And then there’s the small matter that he is secretly courting her younger sister. But when Collin’s affections suddenly shift her way, it threatens to tear Faith's proper Boston family apart.

Refusing to settle for anything less than a romantic relationship that pleases God, Faith O'Connor steels her heart against her desire for the roguish Collin McGuire. Collin is trying to win her sister Charity's hand, and Faith isn't sure she can handle the jealousy she feels. Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure is Book 1 of the Daughters of Boston series.

I liked the book so much I wanted to find out a bit more about Julie and her novel...so I went fishing on her website. And this is what I found...

What inspired you to write A Passion Most Pure?

Well, that would be Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara. From the moment I read Gone With the Wind, I was hooked on romance. So much so, that when I was in high school, I actually dressed up as a nun to go to a free showing of GWTW for the local religious and clergy. One of my friends had a sister in the convent, so she loaned us novice habits and off we went! I sat there mesmerized, shoving free popcorn into my mouth as I watched the tug-o-war between Rhett and Scarlett. It was one of the most fun times of my teens . until we ran into the nuns from our high school! Whew, we got into trouble . but it was soooo worth it (at least at the time!).
Anyway, that book inspired me to begin my own novel at the age of twelve, a 150-page, single-spaced manuscript that is actually the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you look at it!), almost forty years passed before God breathed new life into that early attempt and inspired me to finish my childhood novel of passion-only this time the "passion" would be for Him! ?

Do we "see" some of you in your characters?

Oh, my, yes! There's a part of my personality in each of the three sisters in the series. You might say that Faith, the sister heroine of A Passion Most Pure, is my spiritual self. Faith has an intimate relationship with God-she talks and prays to Him as naturally as if He is her best friend, but she gets angry with Him too. You might say she (and I) are emotionally engaged with the God of the Universe-we laugh with Him, tear up at His goodness to us, and worship Him with all of our hearts. As a matter of fact, Faith and I are so much alike in the spiritual aspect, that a good friend of mine told me that reading A Passion Most Pure was "like going to lunch with me." I guess that's good . I'm not sure! (grin)

Charity, the sister heroine of Book 2, is my rebellious and "passionate" self, before I came to the Lord. I was a wild child of the seventies, you know, like so many of us. Thank heavens that Jesus got a hold of me (as he does Charity in Book 2)!

Lizzie (or Beth), the sister heroine of Book 3 is my dreamer self. Lizzie is a bookworm bent on fairytale romance, just like I used to be as a little girl, sneaking downstairs to watch romantic movies after my parents went to bed. In her story, Lizzie has to learn (just like I did) that true romance, the kind that really satisfies, comes from following God's precepts, not the world's.

Can you share a little of your own personal faith journey with us?

Sure, but I guarantee you, you wouldn't have liked me back then. I was a twenty-three-year-old hard-nosed agnostic from a devout but dysfunctional Catholic family of thirteen kids. Suffice it to say that I was pretty angry at God. According to the world's standards, I had everything going for me-a hunky boyfriend with a Corvette and a boat, a great job, my own apartment when other friends still lived at home, and I was acing an advanced writing course at Washington U., a prestigious college in St. Louis. But I wasn't happy. I felt like Peggy Lee singing, "Is that all there is?"

Then one day, this annoying gal at work approached me. She had a lesser job than me, was divorced with a kid and no boyfriend in sight. I hated her because she came in humming every day, happy as a lark while I was utterly miserable. One day when she and I were alone, I looked up from my typewriter and said, "Just what in the heck (except my language was a bit stronger back then) makes you so happy all the time?" She said, "I've been praying you would ask." Oh, no, a Jesus freak, I thought to myself, but I found myself going to lunch with her, badgering her with questions and accusations. I don't remember now if it was a week or a month, but either way, I met Jesus Christ through the remarkable patience of God-sent angel by the name of Joy-pretty appropriate name, eh?

About the author:
Julie Lessman is a debut author who has already garnered writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She is a commercial writer for Maritz Travel, a published poet and a Golden Heart Finalist. Julie has a heart to write “Mainstream Inspirational,” reaching the 21st-century woman with compelling love stories laced with God’s precepts.

She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. A Passion Most Pure is her first novel.

Visit Julie's website here

Buy the book here

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