Character Spotlight ~ Julie Lessman’s Katie O’Connor & Cluny McGee with giveaway

Katie & Cluny

Julie Lessman made a big splash with her debut series, the Daughters of Boston. She continues the O’Connor family saga with the much anticipated A Hope Undaunted, the first in her Winds of Change trilogy. Julie does nothing by half measure so I know you will enjoy this fabulous insight into an all grown up Katie and the man that was the young rapscallion, Cluny McGee!

Over to you, Julie:~

Katie O’Connor

Katie is eighteen years old going on thirty with a sassy attitude WAY taller than she. Five foot two, eyes of blue, Katie has a stylish blond Dutch-boy bob and can eat whatever she wants and still fit into the rail-thin styles of the Roaring 20s, which annoys her friends to no end. With her biting wit and cool air, Katie’s petite size is no hindrance in keeping everyone on their toes … especially the pest from her past, Cluny McGee.

Think Reese Witherspoon with an attitude.

Cluny McGee

From street orphan to gang thug to lawyer, Cluny McGee exudes charm and charisma from every pore. With a muscular frame of six-foot-three, clear blue eyes that can pierce right through and a teasing, almost cocky grin, Cluny is a natural athlete who does not like to lose. He spends endless hours playing sports with the kids in the streets, garnering a year-round tan that hides most of his freckles and bleaches his hair to white blond in the summer.

Imagine a younger, toe-head Brad Pitt.


KATIE: Katie is a spitfire with dry wit and more than her fair share of spunk, making her a force to be reckoned with. But it’s her underlying compassion, staunch defense of the underdog and her devotion to women’s rights that sets Katie apart from the average eighteen-year-old girl during an era when women are just coming into their own.

CLUNY: As a street orphan who led a gang on the streets of New York, Cluny McGee is a strong-willed leader who is resilient and tough despite his deep longing for family. He has a heart for children, especially those who are orphans and an incredible loyalty and love for friends, whom he sees as the “family” he never had. He’s charismatic and funny, charming women of all ages, from tomboy orphans to the nuns at the orphanage, and his greatest attribute is his total willingness to give of himself to those he loves.


KATIE: As the baby of the O’Connor family, Katie has a tendency to be a bit spoiled and used to getting her own way, causing her father to refer to her as a “handful.” Her faith in God is minimal at best due to her no-nonsense practicality and she leans toward being the loner in the family due to the age span between her and her sisters. She tends to hold a grudge, particularly toward her father and Cluny McGee.

CLUNY: With a temper mostly subdued thanks to his spiritual mentor, John Brady, Cluny still has no qualms about taking anyone on in a fight. He’s relentless in sports and games and a bit cocky when he wins, which is most of the time. He’s got a stubborn streak that’s a bit controlling and because of his big size, he tends to try and bully those who don’t see things his way … particularly Katie O’Connor!


Katie has a weakness for Life Saver candy … and Cluny McGee’s kisses.

Cluny hates suit coats and ties and is forever taking them off and almost never loses at Pinochle.

Inspiration for the characters

My own twenty-two-year-old daughter Amy, who like Katie, has a dry wit, is in law school and has an actual written list (just like Katie) as to what she wants in husband.

Cluny actually just started out as a bit player who was only to appear in a couple of lines in A Passion Denied, but he so charmed me in that one scene, that I expanded his role in that book to be a major subordinate character who now has his very own story!


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 womansmart 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 husbandgood-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?

Julie ~ it is so much fun having you here. As always, thanks for the energy and effort you put into your spotlights :)

Julie is graciously giving away a signed and personalised copy of one of her books here at Relz Reviewz ~ thank you, Julie! To enter, complete the form below.

On Thursday, the spotlight shines on Mary Ellis’ Sarah Beachy from the just released, Sarah’s Christmas Miracle

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed & A Passion Denied

Character spotlight on Lizzie & Brady

Interview with Julie

Visit Julie’s website

Buy Julie’s books at Amazon or Koorong

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27 Responses to Character Spotlight ~ Julie Lessman’s Katie O’Connor & Cluny McGee with giveaway

  1. Awww, great character spotlight! I cannot wait for this book to come out. When Cluny was present in A Passion Denied, I never pictured him growning up to be a young Brad Pitt…but I love it! I'm sure he'll give Katie a run for her money. :) Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  2. Renee (SteelerGirl83)

    Love it! I'm sure this series will be a winner like DOB!

    XOXO~ Renee

  3. I am so anxious to get my copy of this book, I'm on pins and needles! I'm going to have to wait to give you my thoughts on actors until after I read this book. Off the top of my head I don't think Reese is fiesty enough for Katie, and I also don't agree with a young Brad Pitt. I think Amanda Seyfried would be a good Katie, and a young Leonardo DeCaprio.

  4. Thanks girls :)

    Andi ~ you will have to come back and let us know your thoughts when you have read the book. It will be fun to see what final choices you make compared to Julie's ones of Reese and Brad.

    I can see Amanda as Katie but not Leo for Cluny. Too short and boyish, I think. Funny how we all imagine characters differently!

  5. I cant wait to read the book either.
    I must be one of the few people on earth who doesn't like Brad Pitt.
    It will be good to read Katies story.

  6. REL, thanks SO much for hosting me on your blog — it's always a lot of fun being here, my friend!

    And, SARA, you have NO idea just how much of a run for her money our Cluny McGee gives "Katydid"!! Talk about a match made in heaven … by route of purgatory, that is!! :) Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the contest!

    RENEE … Oh, girl, since our taste are SO similar in books, I gotta feeling you are going LOVE this one, my friend. I just got my author copy last Friday and started rereading it yesterday, and I am on HOOKED on this story — my favorite so far, without question. Thanks for all the incredible support you give me, Renee, and I can't wait to see what you think!


  7. ANDI!!! SOOOO good to see you here, sweetie, and I'm not a Leo DiCaprio fan, unfortunately, nor really a Brad Pitt fan either but to be honest, I spent hours looking for an appropriate Cluny McGee and Brad came the closest to that charismatic, cocky yet sweet grin that I always see on Cluny's face in my mind. I love Amanda Seyfriend, actually, but I think she may be a little soft and gentle for Katie, who trust me, is as tough as nails and has a wit just as sharp. :)

    REL, you are dead on about Leo being too short and boyish. Cluny is pretty tall, after all (6'3"), which, by the way, is not unusual for someone as short and spindly as he was as a kid. My brother-in-law was the same way and then shot up to over six foot, and my husband grew over six inches in two months the summer before high school! His mom bought his school clothes in June and by September, his pants were calf high and the kids made fun of him and his red socks!

    Anyway, Cluny is also very muscular (emotional after-effect of him being a runt outcast on the streets for so long), so Leo doesn't exactly do it for me as far as Cluny is concerned.

    Move over, JENNY, 'cause I'm right there with you girl. Never could see what the big fuss was about Brad Pitt (and he's from my home state of Missouri), but he does have a certain little-boy gleam in his eye that I picture in Cluny's eyes, so he got my vote.


  8. I've never been a Brad Pitt fan, either! So I will have to look around and pick someone else to picture as I read. I don't always "pick" somebody to picture, but it's always fun. I like it even better when the author picks, but I'm afraid if I picture Brad, I won't like Cluny! :)Nah, I'm sure I would like him anyway, but I won't take the chance. :)

  9. LOL, Julie, it must have something to do with our, um, being from a slightly older generation. We remember actors and actresses the way they USED to be and don't stay as current with who's hot with today's young adults. But I could totally see Reese and Brad as your characters!

  10. Oh, BLUEROSE … PLEASE DON'T picture Brad, then, sweetie because we don't want anything to get in Cluny's way!! And if you find somebody you like better, PLEASE send the pic my way, okay? Thanks for swinging by!

    MYRA!!! I just LOVE it when my Seeker buds drop by, so thank you, sweetie!! And you got that right about we Baby Boomers not staying current on the hot new celebs out there today. Sigh … I miss the days of Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Collin Firth, Kevin Costner and my all-time FAV David James Elliot, although I have to admit that Michael Vartan and Ryan Reynolds are pretty darn cute …


  11. Woo Hoo! What a book. I'm so excited about reading Julie's book. Julie is new to me, and I can see a very popular writer coming up to stardom. I am of that era..where I can see Robert Redford or Paul Newman in the role of Cluny. I'm not too sure about Katie…perhaps Joanne Woodward or Audrey Hepburn (hair blond)..I'm having a senior moment…LOL. I hope I will win this book, but if not…I promise to buy it, it's just too good to pass up.

    Sharing Christ's Love,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

  12. BARB!!! Another Baby Boomer in our midst, apparently, so THANK YOU for your sweet comment!! And oh YUM … Robert Redford and Paul Newman were SO gorgeous in their prime and Paul was pretty much that way all his life — definitely favorites of mine! And LOVE Audrey Hepburn (Breakfast at Tiffany's one of my all-time favorites), but I never really liked Joanne Woodward … I think because she had Paul … :)

    And, Barb, if you haven't read any of my books, I strongly recommend reading book 1 of "The Daughters of Boston" series first because it introduces the characters and family AND this is one series that you will have a MUCH more enjoyable read if you read them in order due to a number of big surprises. You don't have to read them in order, but at least book 1, A Passion Most Pure, needs to be read first if at all possible. So if you win Rel's contest, I would be happy to send you A Passion Most Pure, okay?

    Thanks for stopping by AND for your enthusiasm!! You make Baby Boomers look good, sweetie, and let's face it, we need all the help we can get rubbing shoulders with these cute, young things!!


  13. Hi Julie, Baby Boomer? My boom did go bong a longer time than a baby boomers. I'm almost 72, and I consider your reply one of the nicest compliments I've received. I enjoyed your reply so made me laugh. I love to laugh, it feels so good, so healthy and healing when the blahs set in. As a matter of fact, I've not read your writings and I'm so anxious to do so. Are your books available for the Kindle Reader? I submitted another chance to win one of your books, and I checked "A Passion Most Pure" this time. What a kind gesture to send me that book in the case that I win the first one I checked. I'd be very pleased for you to do that for me. It was certainly a treat for me to receive your reply to my comment. As for rubbing shoulders with these cute young things…I diapered at least two of my baby boomers before we knew they were Baby Boomers! And those sweet young things are the age of my grandkids. LOL Just saying….

    Happy Blessings to you,

  14. BARB!!! To quote Humphrey Bogart — "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!!" :)

    Seventy-two??? You sound more like twenty-two, which automatically means I would LOVE you if we ever met. I'm glad I could make you laugh because you are SO right — it is healthy and healing and I don't know about you, but I need ALL of that I can get!

    Anyway, if you don't win on Rel's blog, PLEASE check out my website calendar at Julie Lessman's Calendar because I will be having a TON of giveaways and, girl, your chances are reallllly good. Just ask Sherrinda who won FIVE of my books in one year just by what she called "cyberstalking" my giveaways. Now THAT's just plain smart. And you know what? I do it all the time myself and JUST won another book this week on a blog, which is about my 10th book I've won since I've started trying to win them a few years ago.

    Anyway, you are a delight, Barb, and YES, all my books are on Kindle and book 1, A Passion Most Pure, was actually on a promotion several months ago where they gave it away FREE for about three weeks. I understand 75,000 people downloaded it, so I just wish you had been one of them!!

    Have a blessed day, Barb, and thanks for starting mine out with a laugh about your "boom" going "bong"!


  15. I can not wait to get my hands on Katie's story. I am quite sure that it will be a I-can't-put-this-down-no-matter-what-time-I-have-to-get-up-in-the-morning… kind of read! 😉 I have to say that I like the idea of a Reese Witherspoonesque (pretty sure that's NOT a word) Katie and a Brad Pittesque Cluny. I am strictly basing my opinions on looks alone. Looking forward to some loss of sleep soon! :)

  16. Julie,
    You have me cracking UP!!!! I will give you Brad for Cluny. But I too am not a fan of his, or Leo. I too would go back to the rat pack or Robert Redford. I am also a baby boomer . .looking at the picture that is up of him I have to agree he has that boyish look. I love this chatter. It makes me long for my copy! Hugs, Andi

  17. HEATHER — Well, hopefully that "loss of sleep" is coming your way soon, girl!! :) All I know is that it's inflicted me because I have been staying up WAY TOO LATE to read my author copy of Undaunted and I am embarrassed to say that Cluny makes me swoon!! Seriously, a hero hasn't turned me to mush like this since Mitch in Redeemed and Jamie Fraser in Outlander. Sigh. I sure hope you guys like him too!

    ANDI!!! Gosh, girl, I ALWAYS forget you are a boomer because honestly, you look 30ish to me, no joke. Heck of a picture, sweetie!! :)

    Okay, we'll ditch Leo and Brad and let the cute young things have them and you and I (and Barb!!) will go for Robert Redford, who in his Butch Cassidy days would have been pretty darn close to a dangerous Cluny McGee!! Double sigh.

    Anyway, can you see why I write romance with such passion??? I was stunted in my teens after Gone With the Wind and I'm still a crazy young teenage romantic at heart! My poor husband!! :)


  18. Renee (SteelerGirl83)

    Hahaha I'm totally not of the baby boom generation and I happen to think that Paul Newman was soooo dreamy and Gregory Peck too, especially in Roman Holiday! SWOON!

    XOXO~ Renee

  19. Well, this Gen-Xer is certainly not immune to the charms of Robert Redford 😉 Can picture him as Cluny, too!

    Thank you, Julie for your lovely comments and interaction with your readers. I know you love it but so do we and appreciate it greatly :)

  20. RENEE … you know, for a cute, young thing, we are SO in sync, which should make you VERY afraid, my friend!! Can't you just imagine a pajama party with all of us?? Wouldn't we have a blast?? I get kind of wound up, though, wired, you know? Think an older Charity with a little bit of Faith thrown in to keep me honest … :)

    Paul Newman was drop-dead sexy (uh, can I say that word on a Christian blog???), although I was never crazy about Gregory Peck. Oddly enough, I did love him in To Kill A Mockingbird, but then what's not to love about To Kill A Mockingbird??? It was my second favorite book as a kid after Gone With the Wind, which is REALLY saying something because there's not a smidge of romance in it!!

    REL you are right — I LOVE talking to my reader friends, much to my husband's angst because it robs me of much-needed writing time, but I don't care. It's one of the greatest blessings of being an author, and I will NOT give it up!! And it's good to hear that a Gen-Xer likes Redford too. I swear, the man was all I could think of after I first saw him in The Way We Were. Whoa, baby, what a hunk!! :)


  21. I could go for a younger paul newman or robert redford.
    Its funny I dont always get a picture of the person in my mind when reading. or if I do its not a movie star.

  22. Grin … you bet, Jenny — I could too! And you know, I don't always imagine the hero as the picture of the guy that's on the cover either. For instance, the model that they used for Mitch on A Passion Redeemed was SO good-looking in his head shot that the girls at work would gasp when I showed them his picture! But unfortunately, the picture of him on the cover did not turn out like I'd hoped, so I just imagine Mitch in my head like that head shot instead, and it's MUCH better! In fact, he's so cute, I'm tempted to put his picture in my next newsletter!! :)


  23. Renee (SteelerGirl83)

    Julie, PLEASE put his picture in your newletter I can use more eye candy 😉

    And yes a pj party would be a blast too bad we all don't live close together :(

    XOXO~ Renee

  24. Don't worry, RENEE, I will!! You will LOVE him and never look at Mitch in the same way again. :)


  25. Renee (SteelerGirl83)

    Woohoo! I'm excited to see him now! Hurry up with that newletter!!! Hahaha I'm totally kidding! 😛

    XOXO~ Renee

  26. RENEE … oh good, I've piqued your interest for the newsletter … pretty smart of me, eh? But truly, it will be SOOO worth it when you see this hunk of a guy. Sigh.


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