Friday, February 01, 2008

Serials and Scenarios - Pure Julie Lessman

Julie Lessman dropped by the Dregs for a cup o' cyber tea.

Q: Fiction character you would most like to be or most identify with and why?

Omigosh—Scarlett O’Hara, hands-down! Why? Because I first read Gone With the Wind at the age of twelve and was so swept away by the romantic tension between Scarlett and Rhett, that I actually wrote 150 single-spaced pages of what today is my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. Scarlett was not exactly a role model, I know, but I loved her strength, her confidence, her inability to be false or phony … and I especially loved the pull she had over Rhett whether he liked it or not. That’s what true romance is—a man who will cherish you and love you no matter your failings.

Q: Do any of your characters reflect your own personality?

Yes, there’s a part of my personality in each of the three sisters in the Daughters of Boston series. I like to think of Faith, the sister heroine of A Passion Most Pure, as my spiritual self. She has an intimate relationship with God just like me—she talks and prays to Him as if He is her best friend, but she gets angry with Him too. I like to refer to it as being 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. In 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’m hoping that’s a good thing!

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, like so many of us before Jesus got a hold of us (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.

Q: Some out there in writing land have strange rituals. Share yours.

Well, maybe not “strange,” but definitely a bit quirky. My artist husband and work in the same small computer room, so most of the time, we are back to back, which is kind of nice because I like to lean back and kiss him after I put lip gloss on, which is OFTEN! That would definitely qualify as one of my quirks—lipstick and lip gloss. I wear it everywhere, even to bed (the lip gloss, I mean). Also, I always have a candle lit next to a favorite picture of my husband and me before we were married and I like to turn the lights down real low. How’s that for romantic inspiration?

Q: What makes you feel alive?

Well, when I was a little girl, sticking my head out of the window of a moving car used to make me feel incredibly charged and alive. Now that I’m … well, NOT a little girl any longer … it’s God’s goodness and His blessings that leave me breathless. Just having God at the center of my life—in my marriage, in my children’s lives, in my career as a writer—makes me more alive than I EVER was without Him.

Q: Favorite season and why?

Spring because I love the redbud trees and tulips and the faint haze of green in the trees as new buds burgeon forth. No, wait—summer because I like to lay out in my driveway slathered in Coppertone and listening to oldies. Well … maybe fall because I love the smell of wood fires in the crisp air as gold and scarlet leaves flutter to the ground. Okay, no, definitely winter, because there’s nothing better than being snowed in and cuddling up with my honey in front of a fire with an old movie or a great book. I like ‘em all, I guess, what can I say?

Q: Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?

I love hearing that the romantic scenes are deeply moving and emotionally tense, but I have to say that the first compliments that really impacted me were when two separate women told me that A Passion Most Pure made them feel both closer to God and want to be a better person. No higher compliment could be paid an inspirational author.

Q: Favorite chore:

Believe it or not, I LOVE making revisions—my editor’s or revisions in general. I write my books to please women like ME who love romantic tension and lots of true-to-life romance, so I enjoy reading my own novels because basically I am the market I am writing for. So making any revisions—ones I’m happy with or ones I’m not—is fun, challenging and exciting for me to do. (Okay, I know that’s probably not normal, is it???)

Q: Societal pet peeve … sound off.

Oh, my goodness—discourtesy, hand’s down!! I DESPISE hurting people’s feelings and hate it even more when I see other’s do it. Life is hard enough—we don’t need the verbal abuse or discourtesy of others. It’s amazing how one kind word or gesture from the heart can be balm to someone’s hurting soul.

Q: Grammatical pet peeve … sound off.

I’m a travel writer in my day job, and it drives me CRAZY having so many variations in what’s grammatically correct or not. For instance, one client prefers no commas before the conjunction in a simple series, while another wants them. Groan!! And the word “Web site” … for pete’s sake, let’s go with one spelling, shall we? Merriam Webster shows it as two words and says it’s a capital “W” when referring to the World Wide Web, while other dictionaries show it as “website,” “web site” or “Website.” Can’t we just all agree and get along??

Thank you, Kelly, for having me as your guest—it’s been fun! But of course. And thank you, Julie.