(I am so happy to have one of my favorite authors with us today…Julie Lessman! Julie has generously offered to give one winner their choice of A Passion Most Pure or A Passion Redeemed! Just leave a relevant comment to be entered!)

My name is Julie Lessman … and I am a romance addict.

However, I might add, Margaret Mitchell bears the blame. The moment Scarlett seared Rhett with a look on the winding staircase of Twelve Oaks, I was a goner, my brain irrevocably branded with the burning desire for romance. God help me, I was only twelve at the time when some innocent, unsuspecting person put a copy of Gone With the Wind in my hand. I swear to this day that the binding not only burned my fingers, but it seared my life forever.

You see, when I read that novel at the age of twelve, I was swept away into the world of romance for the very first time. It captured me like no other book had done, and I immediately set out to write (along with thousands of other love-struck young girls, I’m sure), what I hoped would be “the great American novel.” Obviously my dreams of grandeur didn’t go anywhere, but I did write 150 single-spaced pages of a story that became the basis (some forty years later!) for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. Today, I like to think that not only are Margaret Mitchell’s fingerprints are all over me in my religious devotion to passion, but God’s as well—merging my passion for romance with my passion for Him.

And speaking of religiously devoted, I may well be one of the few GWTW fans whose obsession became a habit—a religious habit, to be exact, of the “nun” variety. Although I had read the book at the age of twelve (and reread it a gazillion times since then), I never saw the movie until I turned sixteen. Way back then (we won’t go into how far back that was), Gone With the Wind was only re-released every seven years. So when I found out that a theatre in my city was sponsoring a free premiere to all the local religious and clergy, I actually dressed up as a nun to go. One of my friends had a sister in the convent who loaned us novice habits and off we went! I sat there mesmerized, shoving free popcorn into my mouth as I watched the emotional tug-o-war between Rhett and Scarlett. It was one of the most thrilling times of my teens … until we ran into the nuns from our high school! I must have looked pretty convincing in the novice garb, though, because one of our nuns started talking to me about a vocation. Are you kidding? A nun who writes romance? Uh, no!

Why would a book like Gone With the Wind impact me so? Romance, pure and simple. Yes, Scarlett was selfish, but what drew me was the pull she had over Rhett—a man who wanted her but couldn’t have her. To me, seeing a strong, male type like Rhett Butler “who wasn’t the marrying kind” give in and marry her because he loved her and wanted to cherish her, spoke volumes to me. Even as a little girl, I sensed that was what romance was all about—finding a man who couldn’t do without you and to whom you were the most important woman in the world. It wasn’t until I became a born-again Christian at the age of 23 that I learned it was a foreshadow of how God sees romance in Ephesians 5:25: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Now I am not saying that Rhett Butler typified the kind of love Christ had in mind, but he wanted Scarlett so badly, he was willing to give of himself to get her. No other woman alive could do that to him, only her. Now to me, that’s romance in the most heart-pounding sense of the word, and I only hope and pray that God allows me to capture it in each and every book I am privileged to write!

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Remember leave a relevant comment to be entered to win in this one day contest! Please also mention which book you would like to win. Here’s some information about both books:

A Passion Most Pure: 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 suddenly affections shift her way, it threatens to tear Faith’s proper Boston family apart.

A Passion Redeemed: Depth of beauty … shallow of heart, Charity O’Connor is a woman who gets what she wants. She sets her sights on a man who wants nothing to do with her, and although the sparks are there, he refuses to fan the coals of a potential relationship with a woman who ruined his life. Charity burned him once, destroying his engagement to the only woman he ever truly loved. He won’t play with matches again. But Charity has a plan to turn up the heat, hoping to ignite the heart of the man she loves. And she always gets what she wants—one way or another.

This post was written byAmy and is filed under Guest Posts from Authors, Saturdays in the Nook. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

35 Responses to “Saturdays in the Nook with Julie Lessman!”

  1. Christy Says:

    :o) And this is why I am a Julie Lessman fan… oh the romance :o) And the writing :o)

    I always love reading Julie’s thoughts…and how they always go back to her love of our Savior, Jesus. The true author of Love.

  2. Melissa (ForstRose) Says:

    First off please don’t enter me as I already have copies of both books.

    Secondly what a fun visit with Julie, a great author and an online friend who I hope to meet in person one day.

    Love her books both for the length – I read so darn fast that I like when a book is actually long enough to last me several days rather than one or two. They are also very emotionally charged books which for me is a huge plus. I have a thing for being able to identify with characters and experiencing things as if I were them. Julie along with a couple other authors I love has a knack for this.

  3. Kathryn Says:

    How absolutely perfect! I love Julie’s description of how she fell for GWTW and romance in general. I’d love the opportunity to read one of her books.

  4. Julie Lessman Says:

    Christy!!!!!!! So good to see you here — thanks for your sweet comment … especially about how my thoughts always go back to the Lord! I hope that’s true, although they may waver at times when I am in the midst of writing a pretty … ahem … romantic scene, but basically for me, no faith, no books! 🙂

    Melissa!!!!!!! Always great to hear from you too, sweetie! And thank God there’s somebody out there that likes lonnnnnnnnnnnnng books!! Unfortunately, you may get more of that in the next series. I’ve got 180 pages written on book 4 (book 1 of the next series, about Katie), and I’m worried it’s going to be way too long because I am incorporating substories about all of the other couples at the same time as the main story about Katie and her love interest. YIKES … Margaret Mitchell could write a 1,000-page book, but I’m not looking to follow in her steps in THAT area!

    Kathryn, thank you SO much for taking the time to comment. If you win the book, I would love to hear what you think, okay?

    Hugs,
    Julie

  5. Kaye Says:

    Passion Most Pure sounds most interesting. I like books set during one of the WW’s or set in Boston. please enter me in the contest

  6. Andie Says:

    Gotta Love Julie, and her Daughter’s of Boston series! Not only are these books full of passion, fun with the O’Conner daughters, and the entire O’Conner clan. They’re filled with the passion our heavenly Father has for us. I can’t wait for Passion Denied.

    I too have found a great friend in Julie, and hope to meet her some day in person.
    Please don’t enter me in the contest as I already have both books, I just wanted to stop by and say “hi”!

  7. Julie Lessman Says:

    Hey Andie!!!!!!!! Thanks for stopping by! One of the very nicest things about writing these books is the dear friends like you, Amy, Christy and Melissa that I get to meet and grow to love. I am blessed!

  8. Carole Says:

    I live in what many consider to be GWTW country and love Julie’s take on Rhett’s reason for marrying Scarlett – and like someone has already mentioned, how she brings imperfect human love around to Christ’s perfect love.

    I already have “A Passion Most Pure” and am saving it until after the busyness of this Christmas season is over. But I would love to win “A Passion Redeemed” and I thank you for this most generous offer.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

  9. Alycia Says:

    Hi again Ms. Lessman! You are a really good writer. I have never read Gone with the Wind but now I may have to read it. It sounds like it’s really good. That’s neat how it inspired you to be a writer.

  10. Julie Lessman Says:

    Ooops, Kaye, missed you last time — so sorry! And I really appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment. Good luck in the contest!

    Hey Carole, soooo glad you have A Passion Most Pure already for some post-Christmas reading. And good news — it has a Christmas scene in it, so it’s season-appropriate! 🙂 Hope you enjoy it.

    Alycia — Thanks for dropping in to leave a comment — you are neck and neck in my influencer contest with another reader, so THANK YOU for your support and good luck!

    Hugs,
    Julie

  11. Keli Gwyn Says:

    My love affair with romance novels goes back to high school. During the summers when my dad was off fighting forest fires, my mom would take my sisters and me to the used bookstore in town where we’d buy Harlequin romances ten for a dollar. I devoured them.

    It was Grace Livingston Hill’s books that got me started on historical inspirationals. Now I can’t get my fill. 🙂

    I look forward to reading the series, so please enter my name in the drawing for the first book. Thanks.

  12. Paulette Beete Says:

    I was an avid reader as a kid and, one day, after the library books ran out, I discovered my mother’s stock of Harlequins in the downstairs closet. I evolved thru Barbara Cartland, Victoria Holt, and a slew of others and now I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Susan Wiggs. Now that I’m a Christian, I don’t feel too comfortable with the premarital sex, and I’m so excited to discover someone who shares my love affair (pun attended) with romance novels and with Jesus. Hmmm, wonder if the bookstore’s still open tonight? 🙂

  13. calia Says:

    I love your books! I already own the first book. This series just come alive with the characters. Really enjoy them. Enter me in the contest for the second book! Can’t wait for the third book!!

  14. Julie Lessman Says:

    Hi Keli, Grace Livingston Hill was the first Christian romance writer I read as well, and I loved and admired her stories. Although my stories are a bit “edgier” than Grace Livingston Hill’s and definitely more passionate, I like to think that they are also very passionate in expressing love for God and application of His precepts. I would love to know what you think after you read them.

    Oh, Paulette, I SO relate!! I absolutely LOVE Nora Roberts (she is a wonderful writer!), but I had to stop reading her because I have a lot of trouble with the premarital sex in her books. As a result, I opted to write my own novels that had sexual tension but followed God’s precepts. To me, adultery and immorality is NOT romantic!!! I cannot enjoy a good love story unless God is in the middle, which is what I try to do in my books.

    Calia, bless you, my friend!! I hope you enjoy book 2 as much as book 1. And I am proofing the galleys on book 3, A Passion Denied, this very week, and I am sooo excited! It is definitely a more romantic, dramatic book than the other two, with lots of substories on each of the couples in addition to the main hero and heroine. I hope you get to read all three. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    Hugs,
    Julie

  15. Alyce Says:

    That was so funny! I can’t believe she dressed up as a nun! I have never read the book, but I saw the movie for the first time in junior high and was smitten. They re-released it in the theaters when I was in college, and I took my sister with me since she had never seen GWTW before.

    I would love to win a copy of the first book in the series, A Passion Most Pure, since I haven’t read it yet.

  16. Julie Lessman Says:

    Alyce, thanks for your comment. I think in most instances, the book is usually better than the movie, but I would have to say that for me, in the case of GWTW, the movie is pretty darn awesome and comes real close to the book. Sigh. Talk about perfect casting!

    Hugs,
    Julie

  17. Lori Barnes Says:

    I haven’t read either one of these yet I have just started reading Christian fiction. I would love to win A Passion most Pure. Please enter me in your contest : )
    photoquest(at)bellsouth(dot)net

  18. Theresa N Says:

    I think now days kids see the movie Gone With The Wind before they ever hear of the book. A Passion Redeemed is my choice. Thanks:)

  19. Mrs. Hall Says:

    I have never read Ms. Lessman’s books before – but they sound utterly delightful. I was also swept away by “Gone with the Wind”, but slightly later, at age seventeen. I didn’t start it with any enthusiasm (it seemed awfully long) but it had been recommended to me by my New Zealand pen-pal, and I figured, what the heck? So I started reading it – and then somewhere along the line something clicked, and I charged through the book in a period of about two days. Amazing, amazing book – not unlike “Wuthering Heights” in many respects (which I charged through at age 14!)

    I would like to be entered for “A Passion Most Pure”, please! 🙂

  20. Pam Williams Says:

    I think I missed “The day” the comments were supposed to be made since it is Sunday now. I did want to say please don’t enter me anyway because I am thrilled to say I own one of each book. I have to admit I never read GWTW or seen the movie. If Julie’s books give me an idea of what I missed, now I am sorry I did miss them. I’ll be excited for ANYONE who wins either book, whichever the winner chooses and I’m very much looking forward to Julie’s next books.

  21. Debi Salanitro Says:

    WOW. What an awesome visit with a woman who seems equally as amazing.
    I love the honesty and sincerity in which she describes how she fell completely for GWTW.
    Dressing up as a nun? Priceless!
    I would truly love to read something written by someone with such a love of the genre itself:-)
    I’d type with crossed fingers but I think they’d cramp!
    Best of everything to you both! 🙂
    Debi in South Joisey

  22. Sandy Greathouse Says:

    Sorry I don’t have a website, but would love to be entered in your giveaway. I loved GWTW and read it as a young teen, so I know what you mean. Have you ever read “Forever Amber” by Kathleen Windsor…another great old book.
    I love historical fiction, romance and mystery, and would love to read your new-to-me books. The covers are beautiful too!

    Happy Thanksgiving
    Sandy

    Thank you!

  23. Anita Yancey Says:

    Just like Lessman I am a fan of the book Gone With The Wind, but also any romance. I haven’t read her books, but I know I would love them. I really want to read A Passion Redeemed.

  24. Wrighty Says:

    I love to hear the story of what influenced a writer to choose that field. Gone With the Wind probably effected a lot of people the same way. I love the story about going to the movie theater too! I don’t have either of these books so I don’t have a preference. If I had to choose I would pick the first in the series but it doesn’t matter. Thanks for the contest and the interview!

  25. Julie Lessman Says:

    Lori and Theresa — Thank you SO much for taking the time to leave a comment. If you haven’t read either book, then I am praying we get a copy in your hands asap! 🙂

    Mrs. Hall — a fellow GWTW fanatic — YEAH!! Like GWTW, you can bet your bottom dollar that ALL of my books are chock full of romantic tension. Gosh, I just LOVE that stuff!! 🙂

    PAMMY!!!! Soooo good to see you again! You’re neck and neck in the influencer contest with Alycia, kiddo! 🙂

    Grin, Debi — thanks for your sweet comment. And if you would love to read “something by someone with such a love of the genre,” then I’m your girl! I love, love, LOVE romance … both in my romance with God and my romance with writing!

    Oh, Sandy, gotta feeling you and like the same type of books — I remember Forever Amber well! And if you like historical romance, then I have a sneaking feeling (or should I say a sneaking hope) that you will like my books. Let me know, okay? Happy Thanksgiving right back at ya!

    Anita, any fan of GWTW is a reader I want to get to know!! We’re a breed that LOVE lots of romantic tension, so trust me when I say that’s what I try to deliver in all of my books. After all, I gotta like ’em too, and I wouldn’t it they weren’t loaded with romantic tension.

    Wrighty, thanks for stopping by. And just a word of warning — this is one series that you MUST read in order to get the most out of it. There are a number of BIG surprises in book 1 that would be ruined if you read them out of order, so start with A Passion Most Pure first, okay? Thanks so much for your interest.

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and especially thanks to Amy, for her awesome hospitality!

    Hugs,
    Julie

  26. Darby Lohrding Says:

    I am ashamed to admit this yet I have yet to read either of these books and when asked to chose….I can’t decide!!! Please if I am the winner pick one for me!
    Thanks so much!
    Darby
    darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

  27. Julie Lessman Says:

    Good morning, Darby, and please DON’T be ashamed — both books are brand new and just out this year (January for A Passion Most Pure and Sept. for A Passion Redeemed), and this is a serious problem that can be easily remedied! 🙂

    But as I told Wrighty above, PLEASE read A Passion Most Pure first to get the most out of this series as you will ruin a number of key surprises if you read them out of order. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    Hugs,
    Julie

  28. Nise' Says:

    I knew that I loved this lady! GWTW has been an all time favorite of mine as well. I did not read it as young as you, I was 14 in the 9th grade at home on sick leave for 9 weeks. The first time I saw the movie, about a year later, my friend & I did not know any better and left at the intermission because we thought the movie was over! I kept saying as we walked home, what a dumb place to stop! I was so mad. We thought we were so grown up because we got to go to this movie by ourselves! Did we feel like losers when my mom told us we left at intermission!

    I loved A Passion Most Pure. It has been placed on my favorite list! Looking forward to reading A Passion Redeemed!!

  29. Julie Lessman Says:

    OMIGOSH, Nise, I cannot BELIEVE you left at intermission!!! How painful for you when you realized what you had done — I would have been sick! 🙂

    And thank you for your kind comment about A Passion Most Pure. I hope you like A Passion Redeemed as well, although it is a very different story. It is actually my favorite of all three books in the series, although most of my family and friends (and two editors) like book 3, A Passion Denied, best of all. You’ll have to let me know, okay?

    Hugs,
    Julie

  30. Melissa (ForstRose) Says:

    Julie~
    More long books ~ the longer the better ~ are definitely not an unfortuante thing in my world. In fact I’m sad when I hear stories of authors who write very good long books having to condense sequels because the publisher wants to keep costs down because it means I miss out on a longer read from that author and waiting for the next books always comes too soon as it is.

  31. Martha J. Sturm Says:

    Hi:

    I already own a signed copy of A Passion Most Pure. So enter me in the contest for the second book. Loved both books, but the second one had special meaning for me.
    My younger sister got me started reading Barbara Cartland. From there, I went to Marian Chesney and Grace Livingston Hill. Since then, I devour any Christian romance I can get my hands on. Fortunately, over the past 20 years, we have so many more Christian authors to pick from. Julie, you have to be one of the best.

  32. Julie Lessman Says:

    Grin, Melissa — a woman after my own heart — not only with your love for GWTW, BUT, in your love for LONG books!! I couldn’t agree more, and was actually tickled pink when I saw one of Diana Gabaldon’s books was over 1,500 pages!!! If something is good, you just don’t want it to end!

    Hey, Martha, I am really blessed to hear that the 2nd book had special meaning for you — I remember you from the Mall of America book signing, my friend, and I so appreciate your feedback! And thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind words — sweet balm to a new author, I can tell you that!

    Hugs,
    Julie

  33. Livvie Says:

    I wonder now – can one be addicted to romance as one is addicted to let’s say brownies? or Ice cream? or oou peppermint? Like imagine if you had peppermint something, and a cookie AND a romance novel (perferably Julies?) suh-swheet 🙂

    Julie: LONG Books Rock. I bow at your feet 🙂

  34. Laura Shepard Says:

    What can I say… once I was so fortunate that God drew me to Mrs. Lessman’s book while in the local Christian book store. I am not unfortunately an avid reader but once I began I couldn’t stop! Her books have been a blessing. It is my plan to get a copy of this book to both my mom and my sister and hope they will cherish the content as much as I did. It would be a dream to have a signed copy of Mrs. Leesman’s A Passion most Pure. I just can’t wait to get my hands on the next book A Passion Denied. O how I can’t wait!!!!

  35. Julie Lessman Says:

    Amen, Livvie, long books DO rock!! And so do you, sweetie!! But trust me, I’m worried my books are going to get longer and longer. Sigh. In book 3, A Passion Denied, I have taken to incorporating separate substories for each of the couples, so the books are more complicated AND longer!! And in this new series I have coming up, by book 3 (or book 6 in the entire series), I will have SEVEN couples to write about (substories) including the hero and heroine of each book! YIKES! Say a prayer I can do it, will ya? 🙂

    And, WOW, Laura — what can I say? Your comment blesses me to no end, my friend, and I am soooo thrilled you enjoy my books. I like to think that the readers who love them are VERY passionate women, both about God and romance. Nothing … I repeat … NOTHING is more romantic than romance with God at the center, eh?

    Hugs,
    Julie

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