Sunday, August 28, 2011
This week-- C.J. Chase and Julie Lessman!
September's Painting: Fisherman's House-Greenwood Lake ~ Jasper Cropsey
Each month, one of the beautiful paintings by an artist of the Hudson River School will be featured on the American Historical Christian Fiction blog.
American Historical Christian Fiction
Have we spent too much time in the reality of the here and now, and forgotten our Ideals, both personal and national? The early artists and writers of this nation once dwelt on forging this country's ideals; so with the help of God, let us do the same. Let us make every attempt to dwell on our ideals.
Welcome to American Historical Christian Fiction, where the Cross and Quill come together to create a sampler of faith, folklore, and our country's early history. Please be sure to check the links for more information about early American life and colonial history, too.
By Cross and Quill
The Am His blog hi-lights books by Christian authors who are led by the Lord to write about characters and stories set in America's past. They are exciting stories of romance, adventure and suspense, written to inspire and encourage.
If you're looking for a book for yourself, a loved one, or those who may need an uplifting message woven through an entertaining story, please consider new monthly releases in inspirational historical fiction found here--the kind that take you on a journey into our country's past (from early colonial times to WWII) and illuminates the trials, beauty and blessings of our great nation.
For September's Book of the Month, Am His presents C.J. Chase and her latest release, Redeeming the Rogue.
Title:Redeeming the Rogue
Author: C.J. Chase
Publisher: Love Inspired Historical
Her Ally…or Her Enemy?
With a chip on her shoulder and a pistol in her pocket, Mattie Fraser comes to London determined to find answers. What fate befell her brother after he was forced to join the British navy? Military official Kit DeChambelle knows something, she's sure. But can she trust him—or anyone— as a conspiracy of silence surrounds her?
Kit knows altogether too much—about the guilt that drives Mattie, and the peril she faces. The battle against Napoleon is over, but for Kit, peace is elusive. In helping this brave, stubborn woman, he may be endangering her further. Especially if she learns about the orders he's received, placing them on opposite sides…
Where you can get in touch with C.J....
....And for this week on Am His Books, it's a delight to hi-light Julie Lessman's latest book A Heart Revealed, from her Winds of Change series.
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 13 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as “Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction” at http://www.borders.com/online/store/ListView_best2009favefiction. Chosen as #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also awarded #1 Series of the Year in that same poll and #3 Author of the Year, #5 Novel of the Year and #4 Historical Fiction Author of the year. She resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son and daughter-in-law and is the author of “The Daughters of Boston” series, which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. Her “Winds of Change” series has recently released with A Hope Undaunted, which ranked #5 on Booklist’s Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010. You can contact Julie through her website at www.julielessman.com
Title:A Heart Revealed
Author: Julie Lessman
My interview with Julie....
~ When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? (early or late bloomer)
Ha! I’d say I qualify as both an “early” and a “late” bloomer! My romance-writing career “officially” started after reading Gone With the Wind at the age of 12, which is when I started writing my own novel, an 150-single-spaced manuscript that became the basis for my debut novel A Passion Most Pure some forty years later.
My original title for this early ms. was “When Tomorrow Comes” (now a Janette Oke title, how weird is that?). Back then, the story still entailed the love triangle between Faith and her sister (whose name was “Del,” short for Delatha … yeah, don’t ask me what I was thinking!) and the bad-boy hero, whose name was—I’m even ashamed to admit it—Bart (but I was in love with Bart Maverick from the TV show Maverick back then, so ‘nuff said.)! And just like A Passion Most Pure, the story began in Boston and traveled to Ireland during a war, with ONE major difference, as indicated in the first line of my original ms. penned at the age of twelve: Patrick O’Connor was dead. Obviously Patrick (the father in the story) is very much alive in the updated version, especially when he and his wife clash over Charity’s discipline!
~ How did you prepare? College courses? Workshops? Books on Craft?
Prepare? Uh, not much at the age of twelve, of course, but after the age of 50 when I finished writing A Passion Most Pure—a fair amount. Even though I held a part-time job as a commercial writer, the first thing I did was take a fiction-writing class at a local community college, then a writing seminar. Next, I joined ACFW, FHL and RWA and got into a great critique group. I started entering contests like crazy and never finaled, but the feedback from judges was invaluable. I went to writers’ conferences and invested in paid critiques with published authors I respected. Then I hooked up with several fabulous critique partners, and before I knew it, I started finaling in contests. As far as getting published, I would have to say that the best thing that happened was signing with my agent. Within six months, she not only sold my novel to Revell, but garnered a 3-book deal to boot, despite my personal track record of 45 rejections on my own (agents and publishers). That said, I think an agent is invaluable in the whole publishing process, and I regret wasting time trying to do it on my own.
As far as books on craft, I would strongly recommend Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King (my Bible in the beginning!), plus any other self-edit books you can pick up. Also, Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maas was invaluable to me in deepening both plot and characters for A Passion Most Pure. Another writing tool that has become my writer’s Bible is The Synonym Finder by J.A. Rodale.
~ What part of writing is the most difficult for you? Developing the characters? Dialogue? Pacing? (etc.)
Oh, good question, and one I’ve never really been asked before, which is saying something since I have answered over 1,000 questions in over 170 interviews!). I would say research because when a story is inside of me, my fingers almost itch to get it out, and research slows the process. In the beginning, I usually spend several days researching clothing, terminology, technology of the day, era background, whatever to get myself in the mood. But I gotta tell ya—it’s like pulling teeth!
UNLESS … I stumble upon something really cool that fits in with my story, such as finding out that the U.S. officially entered WWI on Good Friday, which tied in nicely with one of my scenes from A Passion Most Pure. Or evangelist Billy Sunday preaching against alcohol in the waning days of Prohibition, which allowed me to include a very realistic tent-revival scene in book 3 of the “Winds of Change” series, A Trust Restored (Steven’s story). And, of course, it was fun finding out that sunglasses were invented by Foster Grant in the late 20s because naturally I included them as a sale item in Dennehy’s Department Store in A Hope Undaunted.
As far as pacing and dialogue and passion?? Literally SO easy for me, I could do it in my sleep …
~ When you made out your first proposal, who did you liken your writing style to?
Well, how about I just give you a peek at my original query letter for A Passion Most Pure, which back then was called A Chasing After the Wind? Keep in mind that I reference Francine Rivers NOT because I dare to compare my style of writing to hers, but because of the edgy quality of that incredible book. Here’s the first paragraph of my original query letter:
Nine out of ten women nationwide (90%) consider themselves to be Christian.* Yet, it is rare to find a novel that merges romantic passion and spirituality with an intensity that will appeal to the ever-broadening ranks of the Christian community. Newsweek magazine stated in its July 16, 2001 cover article that “Christian entertainment has emerged from its sheltered infancy and has begun to straddle two worlds: the religious one that created it and the secular one it was designed to avoid.” There is a vast market of women who believe in God, but possess romantic ideals that are sophisticated and 21st century. This is the market for which A Chasing after the Wind was written, a market similar to that of Francine River’s Redeeming Love.
~ How long, start to finish, does it take you to write a book?
It’s different on every book, but generally about nine months—six to write it and about two to edit/revise. A Passion Redeemed was the only exception, because I literally pounded it out in two months while working part-time, which boils done to one month straight to write an almost 500-page book.
But … I hope my readers will be happy to know that for my new series, “The Cousins McClare,” I have negotiated a release date of every nine months instead of every twelve, which means I plan to not only crank on each of these three books, BUT write an O’Connor prequel for Marcy and Patrick in between as well.
~ Maybe a quick sentence or two (tag line) about your next book to whet our appetites? :)
Sure … here’s my own personal jacket blurb:
The ring on her hand belongs to one man … but her heart belongs to another.
As a battered woman, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston ten years ago, seeking shelter for a heart badly bruised by both her husband and guilt. But when she falls in love with Sean O’Connor, a man who wrestles with demons of his own, fear and shame almost destroy her … until she is finally set free by a heart revealed.
Thank you, Pat, for allowing me to connect with your readers. I LOVE to hear from reader friends, so they can feel free to contact me through my Web site at www.julielessman.com, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter at http://www.julielessman.com/sign-up-for-newsletter/. My newsletter is chock-full of fun info on my books and there’s always a contest featuring signed book giveaways including one right now to have a character named after you or a loved one in my next book. Also, I have a cool feature on my website called “Journal Jots” (http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots1/), which is a very laid-back, Friday journal to my reader friends that would give your readers an idea as to my relaxed style of writing. Then finally, I can be found daily at The Seekers blog (http://seekerville.blogspot.com/), a group blog devoted to encouraging and helping aspiring writers on the road to publication.
Thank you, Julie, for this very rich and informative interview! Here are the titles from Julie's first series, Daughters of Boston....
Daughters of Boston Series
If you leave a comment this week to win Julie Lessman's book A Heart Revealed, your name will also be included in a drawing at the end of the month for Redeeming the Rogue by C.J. Chase, plus a chance to win a lovely blue silk fan pictured above. When you leave your comments, make sure you include your e-mail address. Thank you for stopping in, and....
"May the Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: may the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." Num.6:25-26 (KJV)