FamilyFiction Plus ~ Julie Lessman

It was my privilege to interview the indomitable Julie Lessman for the September, 2011 issue of FamilyFiction’s digital magazine.  Known for her 400+ page books, it was no surprise Julie had lots of say that I couldn’t contain in my article!  I’m delighted to be able to share our complete interview here on my blog.

 Julie is generously offering a signed copy of one of her books to a reader of my blog so be sure to enter by completing the form below.  She will also be joining in the conversation here about love, romance, passion and God so be sure to chat with Julie by leaving a comment.  We would love your thoughts!

Why are you so passionate about writing romance?

Well, as number twelve of thirteen children, I suppose you could say I was starved for love! I read Gone with the Wind as a little girl, and when Scarlett seared Rhett with a look on the winding staircase of Twelve Oaks, I was a goner. That novel so inspired me that I immediately embarked on my romance-writing career at the age of 12, penning a 150-page manuscript that forty years later became the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure.

Let’s face it—passion is powerful. It can drive a woman into the arms of a man, or a person into the arms of God. In truth, romantic passion gives us a glimpse into the very heart of God. After studying the “Song of Solomon,” I’m convinced the God who created passion and intimacy did so to mirror the intensity of His own love for mankind. It is my belief that romance laced with God’s precepts is also powerful—it can draw, woo and win hearts to the true Author of romance with the stroke of a keyboard. And never has the need been greater.

Look at the world today—it’s obsessed with illicit passion. Hollywood promotes adultery and unmarried couples sleeping together as sexy, and I can count on one hand how many young, unmarried women I know who are still virgins today. Why? Because passion is important! Not just to romance readers, but to everyone on the planet. We were created that way by a passionate God who analogizes His own depth of love for each of us in His very passionate love letter mentioned above, “Song of Solomon.” Unfortunately, the world uses this beautiful, God-given gift of romantic passion to shove sin down peoples’ throats. I want to use romantic passion to teach people God’s precepts and therein, His love. It’s the cry of my heart, and I hope and pray that for my readers, my stories of romantic passion translate into passion for God.

You have written some pretty memorable heroes! What defines a great literary hero, in your opinion?

To me … or to everyone else? Keep in mind my first hero love was Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind—a strong, take-charge kind of man who couldn’t be pushed around by a woman. Now that I’m grown up and married to my own real-life hero, I realize that in addition to being strong and decisive, a true hero has to be gentle and kind to the woman he loves, cherishing her above all else. To me, seeing a strong, male type like Rhett Butler “who wasn’t the marrying kind” give in and marry Scarlett 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, not only is that a hero that makes me swoon, but that’s romance in the most heart-pounding sense of the word.

How easy/difficult is it for you to weave your faith into your stories?

Oh, my goodness, INCREDIBLY EASY!! Let’s put it this way, without God, there would be no books—period. God is not only my reason to write, He is my inspiration, my motivation, my confidence and my talent. Like Michael W. Smith sings in his incredible song, “Breathe,” God is “the air I breathe.” I love romance, make no mistake, but I’m sorry—to me, romance is just not romantic unless God is in the middle! For my tastes, there’s nothing “sexy” about sin in a romance novel or movie. I’ve had people tell me that Bridges of Madison County was one of the most romantic films they have ever seen. Are you kidding? Since when is adultery romantic, no matter the situation! Maybe that’s just me, but I personally can’t fully enjoy romance (in a movie or book) unless it is according to God’s precepts OR unless it uses sin to point the reader TO His precepts. That’s the reason I LOVE Inspirational Romance so much. And, yes, “faith” (or spiritual passion) is the key component in my novels … with romantic passion hot on its heels!

Please explain your tagline, Passion with a Purpose

Anyone who has read my books knows they are a tad more passionate than the majority of Inspirational romance in the Christian market today, and I did this on purpose. You see, I’m the type of woman who loves a heated romance. You know—the heart-fluttering, pulse-pounding emotional tug-of-war between a man and a woman? It draws me, always has, from the early days of Gone With the Wind. But for me, heated romance is not enough. Without God and His precepts in the middle, it’s nothing but lust—heat that burns but doesn’t keep you warm. And guess what? There are a lot of women out there who feel exactly like I do.

According to the American Religious Identification Survey conducted by the Barna Group, “nine out of ten women nationwide (90%) consider themselves to be Christian.” Ironically, despite the fact that romance is the #1 genre today with sales approaching one and a half billion dollars annually, most women who read romance wouldn’t choose Inspirational romance to save their soul. Why, you may ask? Well, I can only speak for myself and my friends who wanted more heart-pounding, 21st-century realistic romantic tension interlaced with God’s precepts. As a result, most of my friends, Christian and non, read secular romance, which generally promotes the world’s amoral lifestyle rather than God’s. What’s wrong with this picture? I mean if the world can take something that God created and use it to sell its amoral agenda, then I ask you—why can’t Christians utilize this God-given passion to promote Him and His precepts?

What do you hope readers take away from A Heart Revealed?

One of the basic themes of A Heart Revealed is “honesty is the best policy.” Every character in this story is struggling with some form of honesty with people they love, whether it’s delusion, deception, secrecy, manipulation or outright stubbornness. It is my hope that Sean and Emma’s story will not only “reveal” the grace and mercy of a loving God, but the healing power of His truth … which truly does set us free.

What makes Emma and Sean’s romance unique?

Emma and Sean’s romance in A Heart Revealed is not my typical romance where boy meets girl and sparks fly. Instead, it is a ten-year friendship that grows spiritually and emotionally, ripening into unconditional love where two people sacrifice themselves for the other. In many ways, A Heart Revealed is a departure for me—a heroine who is scarred, both inside and out, and a forbidden love with minimal romantic interaction. You see, Emma Malloy is married, a battered woman who fled Dublin to seek shelter for a heart badly bruised by an abusive husband and guilt. But when she falls in love with Sean O’Connor, a confirmed bachelor with demons of his own, fear and shame almost destroy them … until God sets them free with a heart revealed.

Do you think you will ever write a contemporary story?

I think so, someday. I actually had a contemporary romance started when I sold my first historical and it’s still burning a hole in my hard drive. But I have to admit, I have fallen in love with the historical romance genre, so it’s likely to be a while before that story ever sees the light of day.

Relz Reviewz Extras
Character spotlight on Sean & Emma
Reviews of A Heart Revealed, A Hope Undaunted, A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed & A Passion Denied
Character spotlight on Cluny & Katie
Character spotlight on Lizzie & Brady
Interview with Julie
Visit Julie’s website
Buy Julie’s books at Amazon or Koorong

Read the article in FamilyFiction’s September edition 

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65 Responses to FamilyFiction Plus ~ Julie Lessman

  1. Julie – oh my gosh, where you said:
    "I’ve had people tell me that Bridges of Madison County was one of the most romantic films they have ever seen. Are you kidding? Since when is adultery romantic, no matter the situation!" I've never seen this movie, BUT I completely understand your sentiment! I feel exactly the same. There was a movie or book that I hated because it was about an affair (I can't remember what it was now) and people thought I was crazy because everyone loved it.

    Great interview Rel! Always love learning more about Julie.

  2. Hey, HELEN, SO good to see you here, my friend!! And, yeah, I refuse to buckle under to the world's idea of what's romantic. Sorry, but sin is NOT romantic to me like it is to Hollywood, so I'm not surprised you and hopefully many other Christian women feel that same way. Unfortunately, the young women today, Christian or no, get bombarded with the world's take on love/sex, so it gives me GREAT pleasure to counter it with my books.

    Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment, Helen, and GOOD LUCK in the contest because I know we still need to get the first three books in your hands … :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

  3. I completely agree, even dabbling with an adulterous relationship is enough to make me put a book down. It's not romantic, and it's not good to dwell on.

  4. I whole-heartedly agree with Julie's views on our passionate God and the romance of His heart which should translate to the pages of our romance novels. I write the contemporary kind of passionate love stories. What's romance without passion? And without the Lord's pursuit, it's just lust.

    Good job, Ladies.

  5. Julie..I am with you all the way on this one! God created passion in us. Used the right way there is nothing wrong with passion as long as it is in the marriage bed and not someone else's!! I feel sexy to my husband, not lustful dirty sexy, but loving and passionate sexy! I love reading books that aren't afraid to write about passion for God, Spouse, Family, Friends, in a Godly way. You go girl!!

  6. I have to say that I am so glad that Julie writes the way she writes. Romance, passion, sexual attraction are human emotions and I find that so many authors really white-wash it. I don't want Harlequin but I want a realistic view on human emotions by people who are spiritual and they struggle with it, without falling prey to temptation.

    Keep on writing the way you do, Julie :)

  7. HANNAH (Word Lily)!!! AMEN to that, my friend and by the way … SUPER CONGRATS on your good news, girl!! I think you will find that your little "sprout" will be WELL worth the wait.

    It took me a VERY long time to have children (I was an infertility case), but by the time that I did, I think I was SO much more mature and appreciative than I would have been if I'd had a baby in my early 20s like all my friends did. Instead, my hubby and I were in total awe, and that awe has NEVER left!! God bless you and your new little family. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

  8. NICOLE SAID: "What's romance without passion?"

    OH, AMEN AND AMEN, SISTER!!! And for that matter, what's ANYTHING without passion??? We only have one life to live and one God to serve, so I say give it your ALL, right???

    Thanks for coming by and GOOD LUCK in the contest! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

  9. JUDY SAID: "I feel sexy to my husband …"

    And that's EXACTLY what God intended, my friend, so GOOD FOR YOU, GIRL!!! Ruth Axtell Morren and I just taught a workshop at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference last week called "A Kiss is NOT Just a Kiss," and in that workshop I said the following:

    So … why would two middle-aged women be so preoccupied with kisses, you ask? Well, the truth is that we and every woman alive comes by it honestly because kisses reflect “desire,” and — SURPRISE, SURPRISE — women want to be desired. We were, after all, made in God’s image, and as John and Stasi Eldredge so beautifully point out in their book, Captivating, “God longs to be desired … just like us. So … let’s just blame it on an amazing God who is “relational to the core” and has “a heart for romance.” Mmm … like Father, like daughter …

    Appreciate your input, Judy, and here's to a win!

    Hugs,
    Julie

  10. Thanks, LIVVY, I will — you have my word on that!

    You said, "I don't want Harlequin but I want a realistic view on human emotions by people who are spiritual and they struggle with it, without falling prey to temptation."

    The sad truth is that I have more Christian friends who read Harlequin than Inspy romance because they are looking for passion in their reading, so I think it's critical the Christian market offer them — and the thousands of young women living in this amoral society today — an alternative. One loaded with the truth of God's Word and His precepts, WHICH, contrary to 1-star reviewers who have referred to my writing as "scum reading" and "smut," is all I'm trying to do. :)

    Good luck in the contest! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

  11. JULIE!!!

    A Contemp?!?!?!?!?

    Count me first in line!!!!!

    So so so so glad to see you last week! Wish next year wasn't so far away ;).

  12. CAROL!!! I always light up when I see your sweet name, girl … although, oddly enough … it always makes me hungry for chocolate chip cookies too … :)

    YES, a contemp!! And guess the locale??? Springfield/Lake of the Ozarks. :)

    Seeing you was a highlight of ACFW for me, my friend, and I am SO glad we will get to connect each year at that wonderful conference.

    Hugs,
    Julie

  13. Thanks so much for your kind words, Julie! 😀

    Sometimes my husband and I (or one of my friends, even) look at the lives of some of the people around us and think, life would sure be easy if we weren't so passionate about so many things. But then, we're quick to remind each other, life would be so boring then, too!

  14. HANNAH … you are MORE than welcome, my friend — I relate to your joy, trust me!

    Oh, AMEN to your comment on passion and life being boring without it!! As a wired CDQ (caffeinated drama queen), I tend to be "passionate" about everything I do, from brushing my teeth to worshiping God with hands raised, and although it is trying on those who have to live with me at times (God bless my husband), you're absolutely right — it sure makes life interesting!!

    In fact, I stole something my husband said to me once for a scene between Charity and Mitch in A Heart Revealed. In that book, Mitch spends several weeks angry at Charity, but finally makes up with her. His thoughts at the time (based on my husband's words) are:

    Yes, she was a handful and challenging and infused his life with more drama than any woman he’d ever known, but life with Charity was never boring, never dry and always an adventure. She was the most passionate woman he’d ever met, loving her family, her friends—him—with an intensity that took his breath away.

    Give me a life with PASSION any day over the safe and mundane!!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

  15. Enjoyed reading the interview! I agree with you completely. Sin is NOT sexy. God's version of romance is holy, set apart, and sacred. When people try to join sin with that, romance jumps right out of the mix. Thank you for your stand for Christ, Julie, and giving us another God-honoring option in the romance genre!

    God bless!

    Natalie

  16. Book Review Sisters

    Hi Julie,

    I haven't read any of your books but I think I'm going to have too pretty soon! Reading Helen's review and reading your interview has made me want to know what's going on!

    Your comment on Rhett Butler:
    "I realize that in addition to being strong and decisive, a true hero has to be gentle and kind to the woman he loves, cherishing her above all else. To me, seeing a strong, male type like Rhett Butler “who wasn’t the marrying kind” give in and marry Scarlett because he loved her and wanted to cherish her, spoke volumes to me" is so true!

    I can't think of anything better than a guy who will give of himself like that in order to get the girl!

    Thanks for the great interview.
    Jess

  17. I did not enter as I already own every one of Julie's books:) But I wanted to stop by and say hey! I am a big fan of Julie's novels and the way she writes. They offer so much more than what the world offers because she follows the Lord's leading and what he tells her to write. This is so refreshing! You don't know what a blessing your books are Julie:)
    And I am one of those handful of ladies still single at 26 and still pure:D

  18. Hey, NATALIE, soooo good to see you here, my friend — THANK YOU!!

    And your statement, "When people try to join sin with that, romance jumps right out of the mix" is DEAD-ON, so obviously we are in the same camp, girl, and I'm glad. :)

    I know you still need to get your hands on one of my books … AHR, I think … so hopefully this giveaway will do the trick! Good luck!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

  19. JESS, YESSSS!!! I won Helen over, so look out because I hope you're next, girl!! :)

    Helen has been SUCH a blessing to me, that I am SO glad God let our paths cross!

    You said, "I can't think of anything better than a guy who will give of himself like that in order to get the girl!"

    My thoughts EXACTLY!! I was only 12 when I read GWTW, but I knew immediately that THAT was the type of love I wanted someday — almost sacrificial where a man gave of himself for me. It wasn't till I came to Christ at the age of 23 that I realized that God offered the spiritual component of this type of love in a life-changing love affair with Him. And when God is in the middle of a romantic relationship, OH MY, what a rush!! :)

    Good luck in the contest, Jess, and thanks for coming by to introduce yourself.

    Hugs,
    Julie

  20. CHARITY!!! You sweetheart, you — THANK YOU for taking the time to come by and encourage me. You are SUCH a blessing!!

    And I am SOOO incredibly proud of you, girl, because staying pure in this amoral society is NOT easy!! But trust me, the Word says "God honors those who honor Him," and honey, you've got some blessings coming your way!! I didn't find the love of my life till I was 28, but he was SO worth the wait!! :) I'm praying the same for you, sweetie.

    Hugs,
    Julie

  21. Hi Julie, it surprises me so many christians read secular romance and not just tame ones. I like the christian romance books and love how you put passion into a book. I think it was after reading APMP I said thats what I want in a husband. not that its likely to happen. I know here I have put alot of christian fiction into the local library and the Librarian said she gets alot of comments from readers asking for this as they like the fact the romance is left intact. Now I have them in our church library which is mostly borrowed by ladies who come to a craft group there a couple ladies have said I have ruined the library for them as the only books at the library where she is are the steamy romances which she just doesn't like.
    I will read you last one this year (Its set in a state I need to read so saving the best for last!)

  22. Julie ~ I saw Bridges of Madison County and had exactly the same thoughts as you. I was really disappointed as I heard what a great love story it was :(

  23. Helen ~ thanks for the encouragement! It is always a treat to interview Julie ~ she is a real sweetheart, as I'm sure you know :)

  24. Hannah ~ I so agree with you.

    And let me say again what a fabulous mum you are going to be :) So thrilled for you ~ enjoy the journey! xo xo

  25. Nicole ~ keep writing for Him! I guess there is a fine line to tread sometimes but I know many authors put so much prayer and thought into how they will word their stories and I admire and appreciate that so much.

  26. Judy ~ love that you love your husband!! Thanks for sharing :)

    We live in a society that seems to pursue criticism of our spouses as a hobby. Makes me so sad! My hubby and I have this saying to each other, "Fly the flag", meaning supporting, encouraging and standing behind each other no matter what. I can see you are all about that, too :)

  27. Love your encouraging words to Julie, Livvy ~ I agree with you :) Thanks for taking the time to tell her!

  28. Okay, Carol, you have given the rest of us a moment of envy! Totally blame you for that ;-D

    It must have been fabulous to have some time with Julie :)

  29. Julie, I love how you write stories that have lots of romantic passion but also show God's love and His passion for us. I finished AHR this weekend and absolutely loved it. I was so tempted to peek at the ending to find out how you managed a good ending; I was glad I didn't give in but just read everything in sequence. There is so much variety in Christian fiction now, thankfully, that I rarely read books that aren't CF. When I do read a secular book, I'm usually disappointed because of the language or something. I'm looking forward to reading Steven's story when it is completed!
    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

  30. Natalie ~ love the way Julie's readers encourage her! Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

  31. Jess ~ I recommend you start with Julie's A Passion Most Pure and take it from there :) She does writes some very appealing (and often totally frustrating!) male leads :) Thanks for dropping by!

  32. Hey, JENNY!! It surprised me, too, how many of my Christian friends prefer secular romance to Christian romance, but that's the hard, cold truth.

    LOL … I think after APMP, EVERYBODY wanted Collin for a husband!! :) I actually have the model shot for Collin hanging over my desk and I sigh every time I look at it. That is ONE hunky guy, let me tell you! :)

    I'm anxious to hear what you think of Emma's story, Jenny. For some reason, I think you might really like it, mostly because Emma is so kind and giving. Let me know what you think when you do, okay?

    Hugs,
    Julie

  33. It's tough but worth it, Charity ~ thanks for sharing!

    Do you have a favourite of Julie's books? I think mine is a toss up between A Passion Denied and A Hope Undaunted!

  34. Jenny ~ love it when my fellow Aussies drop in :) Well, I'd ditch Colin for Brady in a heartbeat…but no telling him, Jenny or Julie ;-D

    You are so faithful in supporting your church library – good on you!

  35. Pam ~ now tell the truth, didn't you want to throw AHR a time or two?! Julie has the gift of transferring her characters' emotions on to the reader, doesn't she? Like you, I'm keen to read Steven's story, too, but then I think even Julie's shopping lists would be entertaining, don't you think? – LOL!

  36. REL!!! Thank you SO much for hosting me on your blog this week, my friend — it's always fun being here.

    And I am glad I am not the only one who felt that way about Bridges of Madison County. Another one like that was Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks. I LOVED A Walk to Remember and The Wedding by Sparks, but couldn't get past the adultery in Rodanthe.

    And I LOVE your "Fly the flag" expression with your hubby. Mmmm … think I can use that in a scene between Charity and Mitch someday???

    Hugs,
    Julie

  37. PAM!!! I am SO glad you enjoyed A Heart Revealed, my friend and even more thrilled that you didn't peek — good girl!! I have one really dear reader friend who I had to threaten within an inch of her life because she couldn't stand the suspense and would flip to the back to see how it ended EVERY SINGLE TIME. I think I have her cured now, but it wasn't easy! 😉

    Anyway, thank you again, not only for reading my books, but for taking the time to encourage me over and over. I don't know if you are prone to writing reviews, but if you are, don't forget I am running a newsletter contest where anyone who posts a review on Amazon.com, CBD.com, Goodreads, B&N or anywhere else, gets a point for every review posted. It only has to be a line or two saying you liked the book, then even just one review posted enters you into a drawing for a signed copy of Steven's story, A Trust Restored when it comes out next year. The persons who come in first and second in posting the most reviews will get a character named after them in Steven's story and the top winner will also get a $50 gift card. So if that sounds like something you'd be interested in, just post a review or more and let me know by forwarding me the links. BUT … if posting reviews is NOT your thing, PLEASE do not worry about it, okay? This is only for those people so inclined.

    Thanks again, Pam, for your invaluable support.

    Hugs,
    Julie

  38. Always a pleasure to have you here, Julie :)

    I'm sure Charity and Mitch could make use of "fly the flag". We use it as a little reminder when we feel one of us is skating a little close to the edge of being a bit negative about the other person in public. A gentle "fly the flag" from my DH usually gets me to pull my head in! Or get cranky with him, I have to admit, unfortunately!!

    I have also cured a dear friend of her habit of reading the ending first! But another friend refuses to read prologues to books – what's with that! I am yet to convince her there is usually something signficant in the prologue that affects the entire story. She insists on diving straight in – sigh! My powers of persuasion have taken a beating – LOL!

  39. Gosh, REL, I sure wish you could wing it over to ACFW one year, girl, because I would SURE love to meet you and Jenny too — two of my FAVORITE Aussies and bloggers!!

    And, sure, Rel, you'd ditch Collin for Brady, but Luke??? I don't think so. I am SO glad it's a tossup between APD and AHU for you. I just LOVE AHU!!!

    I'm still smiling over you wanting to throw AHR across the room a couple of times. I know Mitch caused some of that, but I'm guessing Luke did too? Can you tell I like the strong, dominant type of man?? Heaven knows I'd ride roughshod over a weaker man, unfortunately, so God was on top of it giving me my strong, silent hubby. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

  40. Enjoyed the interview ladies and thanks for your comments Julie. I love that the passion in your books demonstrate the right kind of passion instead of Hollywood's version.
    Blessings…..Joy
    ibjoy1953{at]yahoo[dot]com

  41. You know, it was mainly Mitch that had me seething! Even as a female lawyer myself, I understand why Luke responded the way he did to Katie and her secrets, and given the era the story is written in.

    But Mitch, I just thought he was WRONG! I so GOT how Charity felt and I was behind her all the way – a first when it comes to her – LOL! Want to say more but there will be no giving away of the plot from me 😉

    And sorry to say, Luke might catch my eye, but Brady's integrity and control appeal to me more than Luke's fiery responses :) So there! Probably says more about me than them, don't you think?!

  42. Thanks for your comment, Joy – delighted you enjoyed the interview :)

  43. Hey, JOY, thank you!!! "The right kind of passion" is what it is all about, isn't it? Something Hollywood doesn't seem to know a lot about. Thanks for coming by and GOOD LUCK in the contest!

    Hugs,
    Julie

  44. REL!!! You are a lawyer??? I don't think I knew that, did I?

    And as far as Mitch goes, I often run male behavior past my husband to see what he thinks regarding the husband's anger level. For instance, I asked him about Patrick in APD, about whether or not Marcy's secret about Sam would be enough to anger Patrick to the extent it did, and he said, "You bet." I also asked him about Mitch in AHR, and he said yes, he'd feel like Mitch did about the stunt that Charity pulled, but he wouldn't have let Mitch's anger go on for so long. But it was a timing issue for me in having the sequence of events fall where they did, which is why I dragged it out. Ah, the mired recesses of a writer's mind … :)

    And, YES, it says a LOT about you — all good!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

  45. Great interview! I'm a huge fan and totally agree. I can't add much more to what everyone else has said. Just ditto I guess. Know that you have another in your corner – praying for you, your family, and your writing.

  46. Oh, MARGARET, I cannot thank you enough for that — prayers mean EVERYTHING to me!! It's what gets me through every single day. Reader friends like you (and Rel, who also prays for me) are an INCREDIBLE blessing in my life, so THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

  47. Yep, a lawyer – fancy that?! Katie paved the way for women like me 😉

    Mitch needed a stern talking to not only for letting it go on so long but also his response in the first place! But I agree with your hubby that it was a natural response…just doesn't make it right – LOL! He should have nipped the issue that caused it in the bud long before Charity had to resort to what she did! Well, in my little ol' opinion, anyway – hehehe! Now shouldn't you be in bed, Julie?! xo

  48. Hi Margaret – I love how much Julie's readers (I know not to use the word 'fan'!) encourage and support her. Isn't the internet fantastic for writers in that way? Of course, it means they get negative feedback quickly, too but still…

    I've been reading for decades and never once thought to write a letter to an author but once I became brave enough to email and post comments, it is great fun to do :)

  49. Julie – aw you're so sweet! You are such a blessing to us all! The more I read from others that have read your books, the more I'm itching to read the rest. Jess HAS bought me your first three for Christmas. Maybe it's a good thing she lives 4 hrs away otherwise I'd be prying them out of her hands, I wouldn't be able to wait! So just need to get AHR :)

    So everyone wants to marry Collin after APMP?? Well, from all that I've read with AHU, I agree with Rel – Brady is my pick over Collin and Luke 😛

    Rel – I love your "fly the flag" philosophy too – you are so right, these days it's like a sport to rag on your husband. I notice some friends do it and I cringe.

  50. Yay, Helen :) Always love a fellow Brady appreciator 😉 I sign of discerning taste…no offence to Collin and Luke, of course :)

  51. At the ACFW conference, I attended Julie and Ruth Ann's A KISS IS NOT JUST A KISS workshop. WOW! I also enjoyed this post very much.

    The Bible Verse on my blog is 1 John 4:19 "We love, because He first loved us."

    So, I agree with Julie wholeheartedly. God created us to love and have passion — but within the confines of HIS plan and the institution of marriage.

  52. HELEN … Jess sounds like a keeper for a sister, you lucky girl … but then she's pretty darn lucky too!! I had nine sisters, but the two youngest (the ones beside me in the birth order) are the ones I'm closest too. GREAT THING, sisters!!

    And REL SAID:
    No offence to Collin and Luke, of course :)

    LOL … no offence taken, my friend. There are enough of my heroes to go around … :)

    And, Rel, both you and I know that if I "nipped" marital problems in the bud in my books, there would be NO stories, right???!!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

  53. HEY GUYS … double your chances to win a free signed book by taking advantage of another blog giveaway I have going on right now at one of Relz' buddies' blog. Here's the link:

    Edgy Inspirational Romance

    Hugs,
    Julie

  54. Julie, that is too true! Although somehow I think you would wangle come kind of brilliant story with or without Mitch's pigheadedness!!!

    And yes, everyone head over to Joy's blog – it is fabulous :) Joy and Serena do a fantastic job. Thanks for mentioning it, Julie.

  55. Susan – thanks for dropping by! I must confess to a smidgen of envy that you attended ACFW and Julie's workshop 😉 Glad you had an amazing time there!

  56. SUSAN!!! Thank you SO very much for coming to our "kiss" workshop!! I hope I didn't hit you when I flung chocolate kisses into the audience OR with my off-key singing … Now, Rel, that should relieve ANY jealousy for missing it, my friend!!! :)

    And, Susan, you are SO dead-on with that Scripture — God loves with passion, so why shouldn't we, cherished children of the King, who were created in His image???

    Good luck in the contest, my friend.

    Hugs,
    Julie

  57. Rel i agree I like Brady best of the ones I have read. Hes more my type of guy. Colin was a bit more than I could handle I think but I did love Brady.
    Julie, when I get a job (have started applying) I want to come to the USA. I hope to come in about 18 months. of course I will be more in Washington state and Georgia but who knows where else. near Chattanooga.

    When I win Emma's story I will then be able to tell you what I think. 😉

  58. JENNY!!! I think Collin is probably "a bit more than" anyone can handle but Faith! :)

    And, Jenny, I would LOVE to meet you in about 18 months, my friend, so I am hoping and praying we get the chance … When you do come, sneak Rel into your bag, okay?

    Happy reading on AHR, my friend.

    Hugs,
    Julie

  59. Julie I got an interview on Wednesday next week. now I have 6 days to get nervous and its already starting!!!!!!!!!!

  60. Lady DragonKeeper

    I was watching some recent movies and it just hit me how often they depict (or imply) a couple "sleeping together" … it almost seems like it's a requirement in many romance films.

    I'm not an "old prude" or anything, but … is it any wonder why my generation and those coming after are viewing love, lust, or sex (outside of marriage) the way they do?

    Ms. Julie, I can see why some people at first glance might say such things about your books, but for me, seeing married couples totally in love and passionate about one another is such an inspiration for me –and I'm sure for many other singles as well.
    God willing, that's the kind of love I want to have someday and if it takes waiting like the O'Connor girls did (or the O'Connor boys, come to think of it), than that's what I'm going to do. =D

    Hope everyone's having a great week!

  61. Great comments LDK :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  62. JENNY!!! That is AWESOME — you go, girl!! Saying one RIGHT NOW for supernatural favor in Jesus' name AND LOTS of peace and calm, peace and calm …

    HUGS,
    Julie

  63. LDK!!! How the heck are you, girl???

    And regarding today's amoral society — it's downright scary how virginity has gone the way of the dinosaurs and living together is now the norm rather than marriage. Breaks my heart because I know how damaging that can be to a relationship AND how it hinders the blessings God wants to bestow on His children. But the good news is that we serve a loving and forgiving God who SO wants to bless the socks off of us if we just give Him a chance, no matter our past.

    And, Jen, the kind of love I depict in my books between a husband and wife IS available through Christ, and I know that deep down in my bones because I am living proof, so YAY for you for following God's path. Trust me — you will be blessed for it.

    Hugs,
    Julie

  64. My favorite is AHU. I LOVE Luke! My type of guy:) I really like all of Julie's books and my favorite female character is probably Charity, partly because she stole my name:D But I love her attitude and character, after she gets right.
    Great interview by the way!

  65. Hey, CHARITY, it's you and me, girl, as far as Charity is concerned … and AHU! LOVE that woman and LOVE that book!! And Luke?? Don't even get me started — he and Mitch are SO my faves!! Sometimes I think it's crazy that I am so attached to my characters, but I'm the type of writer who bleeds onto the page, so they almost feel like blood, you know?

    Thanks for coming by, Charity, and good luck in the contest, sweetie.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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