A Dialogue with Julie Lessman – Author of “A Passion Denied.”

I’m happy to welcome my friend, Julie Lessman, for a return blog visit so we can talk about her latest release, A Passion Denied. Julie will be popping in all week long to respond to your comments and questions.

This is the third book in her Daughters of Boston series. In A Passion Most Pure and A Passion Redeemed we follow the stories of the two older O’Connor sisters, Faith and Charity. In this book, Elizabeth (Lizzie) O’Connor loves someone who won’t allow himself to love her in return.

Recognized as an author who pushes the boundaries for Christian Romance compared to what readers have been accustomed to in the past, the Romantic Times book review states, “This isn’t your mother’s inspirational fiction!”

Julie has a heart passionate for God, and she writes stories of faith out of that passion. Desiring to reach people who might not ordinarily read Christian romance, her characters come with real struggles and baggage. Married and single people experience the joy - and if abused - the destruction intimacy can bring into relationships.

In A Passion Denied, the author gives the reader a real message of hope for healing and forgiveness to anyone who has ever been wounded, or been the one to inflict pain. That pretty much covers us all.

Read on to learn more, and then enjoy the dialogue with Julie concerning the book’s storyline.

You also have a CHANCE TO WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY of any of the three Daughters of Boston books. (See below.)

Back Cover Blurb

A Love So True, a Memory So False …
and a Passion Denied

Elizabeth O’Connor has been the little sister John Brady always longed for, sharing his love of literature and his thirst for God. But in the throes of the reckless “Roaring Twenties, “Lizzie” suddenly wants more from the man who has mentored her since she was thirteen. When this shy, little bookworm blossoms into a beautiful young woman bent on loving him, she discovers John’s past won’t let him go there. Unfortunately, Lizzie won’t let him go anywhere else—until his dark and shocking secrets push her away.

Can true love survive the betrayal and deceit of a painful past … or will it be shattered like the fairy-tale dreams of a young girl in love?

Brimming with romance, longing and betrayal, Book 3 in the Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Denied, will quicken your pulse and gladden your heart with a riveting story of redemption and forgiveness.

Dialogue with Julie

1. Julie, you’ve gained recognition as an author who pushes the boundaries in Christian romance novels when it comes to the joys and heartaches of physical intimacy between married couples – and the struggles of those not married. You create real characters. Why is it so important for you to be that honest in your work?

Remember Jim Caray’s character in the movie Liar, Liar—the guy who couldn’t stop from telling the truth whether he wanted to or not? Yep, that’s me. Even if I wanted to keep quiet and not say anything, my mouth would trip me up because I am above all things good and bad—honest to a fault. Once I bought groceries for a school function and was tallying the receipt for reimbursement when I noticed the grocery store hadn’t charged me for a jar of nuts. I immediately got on the phone with the store manager and asked if it would be okay if I brought the money in on my next trip to the store. He paused and said, “Mrs. Lessman, I have only one thing to say—nuts to you!” He told me that I should keep the nuts as a thank you for my honesty.

A very nice story, but I’m afraid that when it comes to my honesty in portraying real Christians with real temptations in my brand of “edgy Inspirational fiction,” a lot of people still think I’m pretty “nuts.” But that’s okay because I am absolutely driven to be as real and as passionate in the writing of my books as I am in my relationship with God. It is critical to me that I write the type of fiction that draws women like I used to be—women who, yeah, maybe they believe in God, but they are not living for him—not in their lives or in their sexuality.

I look at the young women today, mired in an amoral society, and my heart cries out to make a difference in their lives. To show them what God showed me—that unless He is in the center of our relationships, true happiness will be very hard to come by. Unfortunately, most of these types of girls and women don’t read Inspirational Romance. BUT … it is my desire—and I hope, God’s—that the edgy romantic tension in my books will somehow draw women like this to the type of Inspirational Romance that I write. And IF they read it, I am convinced the spiritual message will resonate for some of them.

2. In the beginning of A Passion Denied, Lizzie O’Connor is like so many young girls in that she dreams of marrying the perfect man, her Prince Charming. But the man she loves is not as perfect as she thought. Through it, Lizzie learned what it means to not only deeply love, but to love with a maturity that endures through hard times.

I really think this is a common problem among young women today—an overly idealistic view of what marriage or love will be like, or at least it was for me when I was that age. I mean let’s face it—Hollywood’s view (or a romance novel’s view) of happily ever after is quite different from reality, although with God at the center of a relationship, I believe you can come as close to that ideal as humanly possible in this world. Although it takes a lot of work and application of God’s precepts to do it, it can be done, and I am living proof. I am married for over 30 years to a man who makes me feel as if I am living my own personal romance novel. Let me tell you, that doesn’t just happen. It takes Jesus Christ at the center of a marriage and radical commitment to His precepts.

3. You show through story how important it is for couples to be able to forgive each other. That no matter how young or old the relationship, it can still be wounded, but it can also be healed when pride isn’t allowed to get in the way.

Grin. Yeah, well I have an over 30-year-old relationship with my sweet husband that has taught me A LOT about pride getting in the way, trust me! Let’s face it, we are all emotional and fallible beings no matter our age or marital status, and the need for forgiveness and healing will NEVER go away until we cross the Great Divide to spend eternity with Jesus. And as an older women with lots of “pride” experience under her belt, I especially wanted to relate the struggles of older married couples in a romance novel because I feel that is so seldom done in this genre. Which is why when people ask me what genre I write, I tell them “Inspirational Family Saga Romance” rather than just romance. Romance and life happens to all of us, regardless of age. I want to write romantic stories that offer a kaleidoscope of emotion through the eyes of characters of all ages and experiences, not just the young, single hero and heroine. I mean, really, why should the young people get all the fun??? Life is ageless, after all, and I think romance should be too!

4. Another truth is brought into the story. A man may desire to be physically close with the woman he loves and marries, but just like a woman, he can also struggle with that kind of intimacy if deeply wounded in his past.

Oh, absolutely! When I met my husband, he was toting around a boatload of baggage from past relationships where his trust in women had been greatly damaged. Keep in mind that it was the 1970s when the morality was as bad as it is now. So when he met me and I explained very calmly that I was a Christian who intended to do things God’s way (just like Faith calmly explains to Mitch in A Passion Most Pure), it wasn’t what he was used to. But because of Christ transforming me from a Charity to a Faith with the amazing power of His merciful salvation, I won my husband’s respect, trust and heart in a courtship that was completely moral until we said “I do.”

5. What are you currently working on? What can we look forward to reading, and when?

My next 3-book series will finish off the saga of the O’Connors in grand style, but I must emphasize that this will be a BRAND-NEW series, NOT a part of The Daughters of Boston Series. And oh my, you won’t believe the trouble brewing in O’Connorland!

As you know, there are six O'Connor children in all, four daughters and two sons, and each one will have their own story. As a matter of fact, I JUST finished Book 1 of the next series on St. Pat's Day—pretty timely, eh, for a series about an Irish family? It is Katie's story, the fourth daughter, which was fun because she is a pistol who comes of age in the Roaring Twenties, right before The Great Depression.

Books 2 and 3 will be about the O'Connor brothers, Sean and then Steven, all during the exciting era of speakeasies, dance marathons, gangsters, G-men and era criminals like Bonnie & Clyde and John Dillenger. Sean's love interest will be ... guess who? Emma—Charity's scarred friend from Dublin! And Steven will be a tall, brooding G-man-type modeled after real-life Elliot Ness. Some of your readers are probably too young to remember this, but I am modeling him after Robert Stack from the Untouchables, who played Eliot Ness in the TV show years ago. I am very excited because all three plots are very involved, include detailed sub-stories for ALL the character couples (can you say "complicated"???) and each plot has surprises that I hope and pray will blow readers away!

Thank you SO much, Dawn, for allowing me this time to connect with you and your readers. Anyone who would like to contact me can do so through my website at http://www.julielessman.com/, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter, in which I feature book giveaways. And, of course, your readers will enjoy visiting both of us at The Seekers (http://seekerville.blogspot.com/), our group blog that talks about “The road to publication. Writing, contests, publication and everything in between.”


Please leave a comment for a chance to WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY of any of the three Daughters of Boston books. You can name the one you'd like to receive if your name is drawn. Then please leave your email address in this format: dawnkinzer (at)comcast (dot )net to avoid spammers or anything else from glomming on to your email address!

Thanks for visiting!


  1. Good Morning Julie! I just wanted to drop by and say "hi".

    I also wanted to let anyone who hasn't had a chance to read your books know that they don't know what they're missing. Please be sure to get copies of ALL of Julie's books any way you can ~ you will LOVE them all, just as I do!

    As you know, Julie, I can't wait to read Katie, Sean, and Steven's stories as well as catch up with the rest of the family. It's like waiting for Christmas to get here!! Excruciatingly exciting!! LOL

    Take care,

  2. Anonymous7:16 AM

    Love that poster of all three books, Julie.

    Great interview. The next series sounds great. I love that time period.

  3. Great interview! I love the fact that you called the store about the nuts. :)
    Your next series of books sound wonderful, I am looking forward to reading all of them.
    I would love to win 'A Passion Denied' Thanks for the chance to win!

  4. LORI!!! Thank you AS ALWAYS for your sweet comments! I cannot express how WONDERFUL it was meeting you at the Atlanta book signing because now I can ALWAYS picture your cute face.

    And, alas, I haven't gotten to the Anne of Green Gables series yet (unfortunately, I have more than a few required reads before that, but I must admit, I am chomping at the bit and will let you know when I start).

    Thank you again, my friend, for your invaluable support. You definitely have the gift of encouragement, Lori, because you ALWAYS lift my day!


  5. TINA!!! Sooo good to see you here -- there's just something special about Seeker buds dropping by!

    And thanks for the compliment on the poster -- my hand-dandy artist husband rustled that up for me. Poor Keith ... I'm afraid when he said "I do" over thirty years ago, he had NO idea just how much "doing" would be down the road. :)


  6. Oh, CAROLYNN ... I cannot BELIEVE you haven't won that third book yet, girl! Gosh, if anybody deserves it, you do! Here's hoping ...

    Thanks SO much for your support!


  7. Hi Julie:

    About your comment:

    “I really think this is a common problem among young women today—an overly idealistic view of what marriage or love will be like…”

    I only wish this were true. My experience is that many young people have little hope or faith in love or marriage. Hollywood is full of unmarried mothers, unmarried couples, and serial divorces. In real life, half of marriages end in divorce. Today Prince Charming is more likely to be Hugh Grant -- even our real Princes leave little to be desired.

    I think what young people need today is a renewed faith in love and marriage. They need good role models. I think “A Passion Denied” provides excellent role models -- for their time.

    This raises some questions: Do you think that your style of ‘edgy inspirational fiction’ would work in a contemporary setting? Or do you think your stores need the distance of time to give ‘sin back its sting’?

    A special request: when you do the two brothers’ stories, please include baseball. The first broadcast of the World Series on radio was in 1921. American men were crazy about baseball. During the depression baseball (and movies) were of major importance to average Americans.

    I’m sure if you walked down the street in a big city in the summer you would hear a baseball game being broadcast from many open windows. I can just hear it now: “And the Babe hits number 28 to put the Yanks ahead of the Sox, 4 to 1.” Just a little background would be fine. :)



  8. I love the story about the nuts! And if you are a little nuts, well, no worries there. I think we all are! Some are just more willing to admit it!


  9. Being of an Irish family (Rileys,) this series has intrigued me from the start. Plus, I love sagas, like of the 1970s. Wouldn't this be a fantastic film series?

    Oh, and I so remember the "Untouchables" and Elliot Ness, so I'm with you on the next part of the O'Connor family set.

    Julie, just keep writing 'em!

    Thanks, Dawn, for the interview. I love your site. Will be back.

  10. Thanks, Crystal!

    And I agree. I'd love to see these books turned into movies. Better get Natasha on it, Julie! ;)

  11. Anonymous3:17 PM

    Hi julie!
    I have only one more book from your series to get, and i'll be done! please enter me!

    rebornbutterfly (at) sbcglobal (dot) net

  12. Hey Vince, thanks SO much for stopping by and for your thought-provoking comment!

    You said that "My experience is that many young people have little hope or faith in love or marriage." Most of the young people that I know eventually do get around to marriage after they have lived together (or slept together) for a while, which leads me to believe that their "little hope or faith" is not in love or marriage, but in God's precepts. They put their "hope and faith" in the world's view of self-indulgence rather than in God-indulgence.

    Part of what I meant by an "overly idealistic view of what marriage or love will be like" is that I feel that young women today (Christian or non) think that the sexual attraction/relationship is a solid basis for a solid marriage. I hate to say it, but many are clueless at how ignoring God's precepts in their morality will adversely affect the blessing and success of their marriage and subsequently -- in my opinion -- could also affect the blessing and success of their children's marriages as well.

    So many young people think they can live together before marriage without regard for God's precepts and that it will not have a negative affect. It's no big deal to them because the world's morality says it's okay. But it isn't okay according to God's Word (the Deuteronomy choice between life and death -- God's way or the world's way), and when they choose the world's way, they cut off God's blessing in their relationship and choose death (as evidenced in your statement that "Hollywood is full of unmarried mothers, unmarried couples, and serial divorces."). To me, it's a spiritual law much like the law of gravity that says if you throw a ball up, it will come down. I personally believe that if you choose life (God's precepts), blessings will follow. If you choose death (the world's precepts), you will reap curse ... in a relationship that is not as blessed as it could be, a bad relationship or even divorce.

    I TOTALLY agree with you that what young people need today is "a renewed faith in love and marriage," which I personally believe can only be achieved with God in the center AND application of His precepts. All of the really solid, great, passionate marriages I know of today (and I know a good number, including my own) have this as their common denominator. I try to portray this type of relationship in my books, so thank you for kind comment about A Passion Denied.

    You asked "Do you think that your style of ‘edgy inspirational fiction’ would work in a contemporary setting? Or do you think your stores need the distance of time to give ‘sin back its sting’?"

    Well, I'm not really sure, but I guess I will find out fairly soon because I hope to write a semi-contemporary "edgy Inspirational" series set in the Baby Boom era of the 1970s next, so time will tell, I suppose! But there is something really innocent about those bygone eras, although the setting for A Passion Denied and the next series (the Roaring 20s and Great Depression) was actually a pretty risque time period that reminded me a little of the 70s.

    And, grin, believe it or not, I just wrote the first scene this week for book 2 in the next series, Sean and Emma's story, where I have Patrick and all the brothers-in-laws standing around the radio after a wedding, desperate to get the Red Sox score that they missed. But I love your idea of fleshing it out a bit more with a mention or two of the "Babe" -- thank you!


  13. ASHLEY ... grin, thanks for making me feel better. I actually think people who are "a little nuts" are sometimes a lot more fun. :)

    CRYSTAL ... You're Irish, you like sagas, and you think this series would make a great movie ... I think you are my new best friend! :) Thank you for your kind encouragement.

    DAWN ... Natasha is the best. If anybody could do it, it would be that woman!

    REBORNBUTTERFLY ... Two down, one to go ... I don't know who to root for more -- you or Carolynn -- you both have been pretty darn consistent on these blogs, so THANK YOU!!


  14. Good interview.

    It’s time to read a great new romantic comedy, entitled Classes Apart.
    This is an adult sporting comedy that follows the fortunes of Paul Marriot, the secretary of the Barnstorm Village Sunday soccer team and coach of a school cricket team in Yorkshire, England. The story describes the remarkable camaraderie between the players and supporters of this little club and their desire to achieve success. The team had previously been known more for its antics off the field, rather than their performances on it.

    During his time at the club he meets and becomes involved with Emma Potter, who is the sister of James Potter, a major player for their bitter rivals Moortown Inn. Thus, begins an entangled web of romance and conflict. He also begins working at Derry High School, a school with a poor reputation of academic success, where he becomes coach of the school cricket team. Here he develops an amazing relationship with the children and they embark on an epic journey.

  15. Holly6:09 AM

    I can't wait for the new series. I love reading about Irish families. I've only read the first one so far, but I'll have to order them in at my local bookstore I think, as I can't stop after reading the first one. It will be interesting to get to Lizzie's story, as she was more of a minor character in the first novel. As far as which book I'd like if I win, either A Passion Redeemed or A Passion Denied.


  16. Great interview! Let me start off by saying how much I LOVE Julie's books.

    As a mom who is a stickler for purity int he books she reads let me say that these 3 books fit the bill just fine! Julie and I have discussed this before and like she's said to me, she like to bring the reader to the bedroom door and then shut it!

    We all know that romance is part of being attracted to your future spouse, so her writing is honest and dead on. Which one of us, Christian or not, didn't struggle with the physical part of the relationship when we weren't married? See what I'm saying! :)

    Julie, I'm so excited about your next trio of books. Nearly flew out of my seat knowing you finished it! Now, when is the release date?! The other 2 sound intriguing as well.

    Love you girly,
    Mimi B @ Woven by Words
    (don't enter me, I have my 3)

  17. PHILIP ... thanks for stopping by! Your book sounds (and looks ... yes, I checked it out on Amazon!) very interesting.

    Hey, HOLLY, maybe you won't have to order Redeemed if you win it here, right? Here's hoping ...

    MIMI!!!! I hope you had a GREAT birthday, my friend!! And thank you for your support. I will NEVER forget our first volley of e-mails over the whole "edgy Inspirational" subject. Little did I know we would forge a friendship for life out of that ... :)

    As far as the release date for Katie's Story (working title is "Refuge From the Storm," but it looks like it may be called "A Hope Undaunted"), that won't be until June 2010 ... a whole year away! Sigh. Gosh,I hope people still remember me by then!!!


  18. That'a a lovely poster. Enjoyed the interview. I really enjoyed A Passion Most Pure and I am looking forward to reading the last two books. Thanks for the chance to win one.


  19. Thanks for the interview and the chance to win. I've heard good things about these books.


  20. Hi Julie:

    I agree with your well reasoned answer to my question and I look forward to seeing how you weave your ‘edgy’ wonders in the 1970s.

    While both the 1920’s and late 1960’s were times of moral laxity, I see a big difference. In the 1920’s the ‘deviants’ were a small percentage of the ‘God-fearing’ population. We did not become a ‘flapper’ nation in the 1930s. However, in the 1960’s the ‘deviant’ population became a very large part of the then proportionally smaller ‘God-fearing’ population. We did, in fact, become the ‘baby boom’ generation.

    I think it is going to be very hard to make a passionate kiss seem ‘edgy’ in the 1970’s. Unless, that is, your community is rural and has a large population of believers who still maintain strong Christian values. I’ve wondered way Amish Christian fiction is so popular today and now I think I know. In the Amish community the society ‘as a whole’ has never accepted immoral behavior as the norm. There "a kiss is still a kiss."

    BTW, I would not worry about people not knowing who you are in 2010. Each book you write increases your ‘installed base’! More people than ever before will know who you are in 2010. You’ve only just begun.

    Oh, I’m very happy you have some baseball in your new book. Consider it something for the guys. (LOL) You know, Babe Ruth played for Boston for a while? I am sure that made some fans at the time ‘bar-fighting’ mad.


  21. CHERIE ... Thanks SO much for your sweet comment AND for reading A Passion Most Pure -- I really appreciate it! And I love the poster, too, because as mentioned above, my talented artist husband designed it for me! Good luck in the contest.

    KARIN ... I am SO glad you've heard "good things" about these books. Who knows ... maybe your name will be drawn, you'll read the book and then start spreading even more "good things"! (I can only hope!):) Thanks for stopping by and here's to a win.


  22. Hey Vince,

    You said, "In the 1920’s the ‘deviants’ were a small percentage of the ‘God-fearing’ population. We did not become a ‘flapper’ nation in the 1930s. However, in the 1960’s the ‘deviant’ population became a very large part of the then proportionally smaller ‘God-fearing’ population. We did, in fact, become the ‘baby boom’ generation."

    Ooooo ... excellent point, my friend, and sooo right! The 60's and 70's turned the tide on morality like no era ever had before. And, yes, I admit that it will certainly be more difficult to make an "passionate" kiss appear "edgy" in that time period versus a more innocent time, but still doable, I think, because keep in mind that my audience will mostly be the Christian market. I have a statistic I used in my query letter that stated that 9 out of 10 women in the U.S. profess some form of Christianity, which means God is a factor in most American women's even though His precepts may not be. So I feel that with God so very present in the story along with at least one very strong Christian character like Faith O'Connor or John Brady, then automatically I think the groudwork for "edgy" is laid ... playing out as good versus evil, promiscuity versus morality, temptation versus choosing God's precepts.

    And, WOW, another excellent point about the Amish. I've wondered the very same thing, and I'll lay good money on the table that you have just nailed one of the primary reasons why Amish fiction is so popular in the Christian market. You are without question, Vince, one of the deepest thinkers I've run across in many a blog, and I am so glad to have made your acquaintence!

    As far as your very kind comment that I have "only just begun," from your lips to God's ear, my friend! Thank you for your encouragement!

    Gosh, I am showing my ignorance here (not an uncommon thing, trust me!), but I did not know that the "Babe" played for the Boston Red Sox. Duh. Unfortunately, he didn't at the time of my current WIP (Sean and Emma's story, which is 1931), but I can certainly build some rivalry in among Patrick and the brothers-in-law as far as who thinks the Babe was a traitor to go to the Yankees and who remains loyal to him. :) All in honor of you, Vince, of course! :)


  23. It's been a fun and interesting day!

    It's been great to have all of you pop in and share your thoughts.

    Julie and Vince - The two of you have a great discussion going on here. :) I've also wondered why Amish stories have become the hot ticket for writers. Publishers seem to be hungry for those types of stories - which means readers are hungry for them.

    Time to sign off for tonight. I'll check back in tomorrow. :)

  24. DAWN, it's really fun to be here, so thanks for the invite. And honestly, you should have Vince on your new blog for writers, Seriously Write. He just did a blog for Prairie Chicks Write Romance that was absolutely WONDERFUL!! Here's the link if anybody wants to check it out (and trust me, you should, it's well worth it!!):



  25. Vince, I'm at the "day" job, but during a break took a few minutes to check out the article Julie directed us to - written by you.

    She was right! Well worth the time. Excellent article. I'll be directing my friends over there, too. :)

    Thanks, Julie!

  26. Hi Dawn:

    Thanks for the notice and positive comments. I find comments to my work very helpful in my research.


  27. I'd love A Passion Denied if I win and thanks.

    This series is new to me so I checked the first 2 books out on your website. I like series very much b/c you get to make new friends and can find out what they have been up to and make new friends.

  28. DAWN, sooo glad you checked out Vince's article. Very deep thinker!

    VINCE ... anxious to read your "research" in a book someday, my friend.

    Hey, ROBYNL, thanks for checking out my website, but I want to give you a word of warning on this series. This is one series that really needs to be read in order to get the most out of it. You see, it is not a typical romance where you know who the heroine ends up with, and also there are a number of HUGE surprises that would not have the impact, obviously, if you read the books out of order.

    So I strongly recommend that if you win Dawn's giveaway contest, you request A Passion Most Pure first rather than the third book in the series, A Passion Denied. You won't be sorry because it introduces you to all the family characters in great detail, setting you up for the other books to follow more naturally. Good luck in the contest.


  29. I'd love to win a copy of A PASSION DENIED. I've already read the first two. Thanks for the chance.


  30. COURTNEY ... thank you SO much for reading the first two books. Now let's see if we can't get you the third with a win in this contest, okay? Good luck!


  31. Lizzie-Lou8:40 AM

    Mrs. Lessman,
    I absolutely loved A Passion Denied since it is so much like my life. I can't wait for the other books!

    God Bless


  32. Grin ... LIZZIE-LOU!!!! Gosh, I just LOVE that name!!! :) Thanks for stopping in to leave such a nice comment, and good luck in the contest, sweetie.


  33. And the winner is . . . Cheri J.

    Cheri J will receive an autographed copy of her choice from The Daughters of Boston series by Julie Lessman.

    Thanks to everyone who not only popped in during Julie’s visit to my blog, but also left comments and contributed to the discussion.

    Thanks also to Julie for once again providing honest feedback to our questions – and for writing books we love to read!



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