Today I welcome a well-known authoress, one with a bubbly, energetic personality
and has become a sweet friend: Julie Lessman.
Enter to win an autographed copy of one of Julie's books! see below
I met Julie through ACFW. She taught the first class I attended at ACFW. Her husband graciously showed, enduring Julie's stories. She taught how to write Christian Romance. We laughed and learned so much that night.
I asked her to share her writing journey with us. Here is what she wrote:
My Journey As a Christian Romance Writer …
My journey as a romance author actually came LONG before my journey with God. It happened the moment I read Gone With the Wind at the age of twelve. The instant that Scarlett seared Rhett with a look on the winding staircase of Twelve Oaks, I was hooked, and my “romance-writing career” began with a 150-page, single-spaced ms. entitled When Tomorrow Comes, which, by the way, is now a Janette Oke title! I used to read my story to my little sister, Katie, and she loved it. But then adolescence hit, and I soon abandoned paper romance for the real thing as a teenager.
Fast forward almost forty years later—I was sitting in a beauty parlor reading a Newsweek magazine July 16, 2001 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.” Now, I have to be honest with you—up until that moment, I had never seriously considered writing a book. But the pull was so strong, that I started writing A Passion Most Pure one month later, finally selling it to Revell 4-1/2 years and 45 rejections later.
Now, my journey to God? Not so pretty. I was a twenty-three-year-old hardnosed 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, and acing an advanced writing course at Washington University, 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 a God-sent angel by the name of Joy—pretty appropriate name, eh?
Since then, my life has been a journey of “joy,” because EVERYTHING with God at the center is joy—especially romance! He is the one who takes us on this amazing journey, which I have found in the long run, is really just a U-turn to lead us back to Him in a deeper, more passionate way than ever before. Through God’s grace, I’ve encountered so many “significant” things during my publication journey that I wrote an entire Clint-Eastwood-ish blog on this for Seekerville—including all the reverberation of guitar strings, jangle of spurs and haunting wah-wah voice—in “The Good, the Bad and the Really Ugly: Memories of a Published Writer.” It gives writers all the ups and downs I encountered on the road to publication and beyond, all neatly listed in a format of the “good” things I did to get published and after, all the “bad” things I did, and all the “really ugly” things to avoid.
For me, in my life and my writing, God’s close and intimate presence is as natural as breathing, just like the lyrics from the Michael W. Smith song, Breathe –“This is the air I breathe, Your holy presence living in me.” Jesus Christ transformed me, a hard, cynical agnostic (like Charity, the rival sister in A Passion Most Pure) into a person of joy and hope and love (like Faith, the heroine). This is a story I never tire of telling, and hope to do so in all the books I am privileged to write. You might say that The Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series are my love letters to a God whose love took me from the dark into His glorious light, and I hope and pray they bring Him—the One Who is the true passion in my life—the glory He so richly deserves.
“Passion with a Purpose"
Daughters of Boston Series
A Passion Most Pure--ACFW Debut Book of the Year, Holt Medallion Merit
A Passion Redeemed--Inspirational Reader’s Choice Finalist
A Passion Denied--Borders Best: Your Favorite Fiction
Winds of Change Series
A Hope Undaunted--Booklist's Top 10 Inspirational Fiction 2010
Family Fiction magazine 2011 and 2012 Readers Choice Awards
#1 Romance Author of the Year, #1 Historical Fiction Author of the Year,
#3 Series of the Year, #3 Author of the Year, # 4 Novel of the Year
To enter the contest for an autographed copy of one of Julie's books, leave a comment and become a follower of this site if you aren't already. Please also include your email address (username (at) yahoo (dot) com) so I can contact you if you are the winner. The winner will be selected by a third party, random.org, and will be announced next week. U.S. residents only.
Also, by clicking on the "contest" picture above, you can see how to enter Julie's book promotion contest. Lots of great prizes!
Reader, How has God made your life a journey of joy?