BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

GIVE AWAY - NORA INTERVIEWS JULIE LESSMAN


AUTHOR BIO:
JULIE LESSMAN


Julie Lessman is a new author who has garnered much writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. She is the author of The Daughters of Boston series, which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. You can contact Julie through her website at www.julielessman.com.

1. In A Passion Redeemed Charity learns many lessons in this story, what made you decide to write about what you did? I think that you did it very tactfully. What do you hope your readers will take away from this story? I really enjoyed it.

Thanks so much, Nora, but I’ll be honest with you—Charity is basically me before I came to Christ (without the extreme beauty, of course!), and I wanted to show just how powerful and faithful God is in transforming each of us into “new creatures in Christ,” no matter how long it may take or how much baggage we may be carrying.


However, the MOST important thing I pray readers take away from not only A Passion Redeemed, but all three of the books in The Daughters of Boston series, is the reality of how natural and fulfilling an intimate relationship with God can and SHOULD be. Like breathing. This book may be fiction, but this is NOT a fairy tale here. It is possible to have a living, breathing relationship with the God of the Universe. He’s crazy about us, and if most people really understood that, their lives would turn on a dime and blessings would overtake them. Believe me, I KNOW this firsthand—I used to be a hard, cynical, coarse human being (like Charity) before God pulled me up by the scruff of the neck and said, “Yo, Julie! Get a clue. You’re the apple of my eye!” :D He’s been the love of my life ever since.

2. In A Passion Denied you take on Elizabeth O'Connor, a younger sister of Charity. I really liked how you dealt with the topic of "True Love." Why was that so important to you? What do you hope readers will take away from this story? I have to say it really gripped my heart!!

For me, the concept of “true love” is critical because let’s face it—it’s what every human being is looking for. But I wanted to show that the only “true love” that will truly make us happy is the unconditional love of God, and once we accept His love AND give it back to others, then—and only then—will we find “true love” as God intended, not only in the romantic aspect, but in all of our relationships.



As far as what I hope readers will take away from this story, I pray that each one of us will realize the unconditional love of God in our lives. One of my favorite scenes in A Passion Denied is when Brady feels his past his unforgivable and Father Mac tells him that he knew a man who not only committed adultery, but murdered his lover’s husband. And yet, Father Mac says, this man is the only man God calls a man after his own heart. YES!! Three cheers for King David—a man of God who gives fallible people like me great hope. Because I have had more than my fair share of “real things” and dark failures in my life, and it thrills me to no end that God loves me and forgives me despite them all.

3. Where do you go from here Julie? You've done the first three books in the Daughters of Boston series with each book dealing with a different sister in the O'Connor family, now what? What are you writing about now?

I am thrilled to say that my publisher has contracted me for another 3-book series that will finish off the saga of the O’Connors in grand style. However, I must emphasize that this will be a BRAND-NEW series, NOT a part of The Daughters of Boston Series. My vision for this next series is simply to flesh out the O’Connor family and utilize their drama and … ahem, passion … to illustrate not only how relationships with God can vary within a family (or among people, in general), but also how vital a relationship with God is in the well-being of that family and its true happiness in life.



Book 1 (working title Refuge From the Storm) is the story of the youngest daughter, Katie, who is a pistol who comes of age in the Roaring Twenties, right before The Great Depression.



Book 2 (working title Far Above Rubies) will be about the eldest O’Connor brother, Sean whose love interest will be—guess who? Emma, Charity’s gentle and scarred friend from Dublin!



And then book 3 (working title Beside the Still Waters) details the story of the younger O’Connor son Steven, during the exciting era of speakeasies, dance marathons, gangsters, G-men and era criminals like Bonnie & Clyde and John Dillenger. Steven will be a tall, brooding G-man-type modeled after Elliot Ness, a la Robert Stack from the Untouchables. I’m 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 will blow my readers away!

(Wow, Julie you are going to take us amazing places I'm sure. This sounds amazing. I'll be praying that the Lord blessings you with gems to put in these stories that only He can give you. I didn't expect you to go to these places! I look forward to see how all this works out!!)

4. Was it easier for you to write the third book in this series or the first?


Oh, it was MUCH easier to write the first book (A Passion Most Pure) because I wasn’t sold yet so I could take my sweet time with no deadlines to meet. Hard as it may be to believe, it was incredibly easy to write both A Passion Most Pure and A Passion Redeemed—sheer pleasure, each of them, especially Charity’s story (almost 500 pages), which I literally pounded out in two months while working part-time.

Now the third book in the series, A Passion Denied? Uh, absolutely murder to write, primarily because at the time I was reading a book by an author that I absolutely LOVE and felt so inadequate next to her. I’d read a chapter in her book, then go sit at my keyboard and feel like puking on what I’d written. So I literally “fasted” that author for six months and prayed my heart out for God to help me write the book He wanted me to write. And He did! I’m happy to say that my editors and most of my family and friends like A Passion Denied the best of all three books in the series, so that is a HUGE relief!

5. Did you have any say in the covers for the three books that you have written? Please explain. Where the working titles for these books?

Trust me, years of prayer with my prayer partners went into the covers (and the titles) for all three books in The Daughters of Boston series, so I honestly feel they are anointed. As far as my input, I have been blessed to have a lot of input into my covers (now, my publisher, Revell? Uh, not so blessed!). For A Passion Most Pure, the Faith’s hair was originally down, which looked more like a prairie romance, so I explained that it needed to be up since this was 1916 Boston, and my artist graciously complied. I also asked her to make Faith’s hair more red and her eyes more green, which she also did.

But the most important change was with Collin’s picture. The cover art originally had this namby-pamby picture of Collin and I almost started crying. I asked my artist if she had any other shots, and she said only one, but that everybody at Revell thought he looked too angry in that shot. I asked her to send it to me anyway, and WOW, it was exactly the look I was going for. Collin IS angry because he wants the heroine, but he can’t have her, so the smoldering look conveyed the romantic tension in the book.



On book 2, the hero’s hair was slicked down and a bit too long, making him look like a pompous English dandy, so I begged my artist husband (God bless him, he lives with a high-maintenance maniac) to lengthen the model’s chin, trim his sideburns and give him unruly blond hair. We even spent 30 minutes scanning the Internet for the perfect hairstyle (a celebrity who shall remain nameless), which Keith slapped onto the hero’s head. Ahhh … MUCH BETTER!! So I sent my husband’s version to Revell, and they agreed to duplicate it. Oh, and since Charity is supposed to be well endowed, I actually had the nerve to ask Revell to “endow” her a bit more, which they did! :D

And working titles for these books? Well, initially the series was the Wind of God Series and A Passion Most Pure was A Chasing After the Wind from Ecclesiastes 2:26, A Passion Redeemed was Chaff before the Wind from Psalm 83:13-16, and A Passion Denied was On the Wings of the Wind, Psalm 104:1-4. Because each of these Scriptures were intricately woven into the fabric of its particular story, each appears at the beginning of its specific book.

(Hey Julie, I really liked the title names for your books. Thanks for sharing. It really gives a deep insight into you and your first books!)

QUESTIONS YOU WERE AFRAID TO ASK JULIE SO I DID!! :D

1. Your find yourself in a life threatening situation and you need someone to save you, who would you pick? You can use anyone from a movie star to a fictional character in a book or anything in between).






Mmm … well, if we’re talking romantic fiction, I would say Jamie Fraser, the hero from one of my favorite author’s books, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series, because he is an incredibly strong character who saved himself and his wife from some pretty hairy situations in 1600s Scotland. But if you’re talking about reality, no contest—Jesus Christ, hands-down! :)

2. If you had all the time in the world and just as much money what would you do and why?



Grin. Exactly what I am doing now—writing books for God … uh, except I’d be doing it in a much cleaner house and a much more private office! And I’d definitely would NOT allow myself to be under the gun with deadline so that I could take more time for things I love to do like biking with my husband, watching movies with my daughter, gardening and traveling to warm, secluded beaches.

3. What are your favorite books of all time?






1. Gone With the Wind, 2.) To Kill a Mockingbird, 3.) Liz Curtis Higgs Scottish trilogy, Thorn in My Heart, Fair is the Rose and Whence Comes a Prince, 4.) Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion trilogy.

4. If you had 24 hours to hang out with anyone dead or alive in the history of the world who would you pick and why? What would you do?


Are you kidding??? Jesus Christ. Because I SO want to get to know Him better and better! I would love to sit at his feet like Mary (of Mary and Martha fame) did and soak in His love, wisdom and peace.

5. What is your favorite restaurant to have breakfast at? What would you order? What is your favorite place to have dinner? What would you order?( Ok, money is not a factor here -Lets dream!!)


Favorite restaurant for breakfast is I-Hop because I love, love, LOVE their really light pancakes (the lighter the better!).

And for dinner? Citizen Kane’s steakhouse in St. Louis, which is where I make my husband take me on my birthday every year.



Same order every time—shrimp cocktail for appetizer, then filet mignon with bĂ©arnaise sauce (yum!!), baked potato with sour cream and butter and salad with Mayfair dressing (the best I’ve ever had). Gee, Nora, thanks—now I’m hungry … :D

Boy Julie, now I'm hungry too. I'll have to check out that Steak House if ever I'm your way. Sound yummy!! Thanks Julie for hanging out with me today and letting my readers get to know you a little better. You are a blessing to me friend. I look forward to meeting you in person June 22nd at the Life Way Mall of GA store. We are going to have so much fun at book club. :D

Traveling mercies on your journey to Atlanta. See you June 22nd at Book Club - Hey, I like the sound of that.

Blessings on your writing adventure!!

Nora :D


LEAVE A COMMENT ABOUT THIS INTERVIEW HERE - FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN ANY COPY OF YOUR CHOICE FROM THE DAUGHTERS OF BOSTON SERIES BOOKS!! CONTEST ENDS JUNE 25th - Please leave a way to contact you if you win. THANKS :D

.****DISCLAIMER: Entering the give away is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.Void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents, odds of winning depend on number of entrants****

***CONGRADULATIONS TO MICHELLE V - ON WINNING A COPY OF YOUR CHOICE - JULIE LESSMAN WILL BE CONTACTING YOU

36 comments:

  1. Gosh, it's probably a good thing I just ate supper! Else that interview would've had me craving things.... LOL Such a neat interview. Thank you both!

    ashley.vanburen[at]gmail[dot]com

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  2. Great Interview, congrats.

    Please enter me in the comp...

    mystylee[at]bigpond[dot]com

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  3. I'm dying to read these books. I've been reading so much about her lately and haven't had a chance to read any of these yet. And, I didn't realize that she lives in Missouri, which is where I'm originally from. Great interview!

    Blessings
    Michelle
    m.vasquez@grandecom.net

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  4. Great interview! I have heard so much about these books. I can't wait to read them. -Debra

    debracollins(at)tds(dot)net

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  5. Good interview (as always), Nora!

    I am 3/4 thru 'A Passion Most Pure' and I just love it - which surprises me. I'm not really a romance type of reader, but, Julie, you have reeled me in on this one. Everytime I think I can tell what's going to happen next, another curve ball is sent my way. I can't wait to finish it and to be able to talk with you about it at our meeting this month.

    Travel safely...

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  6. It's interesting to hear about the cover art. When you're writing you kind of get stuck on what your characters look like. It's nice that you were able to have so much input on the cover art.
    Please enter me in the drawing. cynthiakchow at earthlink dot net

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  7. Loved the interview. I have to agree Gone with the Wind is one of my top favorite books, and IHOP can't be beat. I'd love to win the first book in the series. Please enter me in the book drawing.
    Thanks
    Katherine

    peachykath79[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  8. I've also heard wonderful things about this series and would love to read at least the first book. (I'm sure I'll be searching for the second as soon as I've finished the first). Please enter me.

    rsgrandinetti@yahoo.com

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  9. This book sounds so wonderful.I look forward to reading it please enter me into the giveaway thanks
    Kellie

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  10. Hey Julie! (and Nora)

    I love reading your interviews ~ I feel like I'm getting to know you more and more! :)

    You know I'm still trying to win "A Passion Denied". LOL I'm finally going to get to start on "A Passion Most Pure" sometime today (I hope!).

    Thank you for another wonderful interview! 8 days and counting... :)

    Lori S.

    sugarandgrits[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  11. I loved reading about the changes in cover art. I'd always heard that an author basically had no say at all in the cover, so it's nice to know that authors do have some say. The change in titles was also interesting to read about, although I must say, I like the actual titles better. :)


    Holly
    oceandreamerfla(at)aol(dot)com

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  12. I loved the insight that Julie shed on the original titles. I liked hers better :D I loved that she had a lot of say on the covers too, I know not all authors have that ability. I like having the authors mental picture of the characters, they become more "real" to me. Great interview Nora!! Thanks Julie!!

    cmrobin at bellsouth net

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  13. I've heard so many great things about Julie's books and would love to win the 3rd one!

    I also loved Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion trilogy :)

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  14. Fun interview! Thanks so much for the chance to win...I would love to win 'A Passion Denied'.
    Julie, all those covers look wonderful, exactly the way I pictured the characters to be!
    carolynnwald[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  15. ASHLEY ... grin, your comment reminds me of what my friends always say about my books. Apparently I put a lot of food scenes in with descriptions that make them hungry, which is something I NEVER realized I do! I'm not sure if that's a good thing, though, 'cause it might induce the reader to STOP reading your book and start eating instead ... :)

    Hey, LEE, thanks for dropping by to leave a comment -- good luck in the contest.

    MICHELLE ... Hey, a fellow (albeit former) Missourian!! Where abouts? And, gosh, I'm glad you've been hearing about me lately ... YIKES ... hope it's been good and not bad!!

    DEBRA ...It always makes me happy when someone says they've been hearing about my books ... that is, if the hearing is good, so hopefully it is or you wouldn't be leaving a comment??? :)

    Oh, CHRISTINE, honey -- you are JUST the type of reader I'm looking for, girl!! I absolutely LOVE it when I can reel in a non-romance reader because it helps to confirm to me what my agent says -- these books are not just romance -- they are a family saga with LOTS of romance ... :) And I can't wait to meet you at the bookclub meeting in Atlanta, either!! See you then.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  16. CYNTHIA!!! So good to see you here, my friend! And I apologize that your signed copy of A Passion Most Pure is just being mailed today -- I took it to the post office on Saturday, but they were already closed. Sigh. Anyway, can't wait to see what you think, and good luck in winning book 2 on Nora's blog!

    Hey, KATHERINE, thanks for dropping in! You want book 1, A Passion Most Pure? Uh-oh ... I know you won book 2, A Passion Redeemed a while back, so please tell me that you aren't reading these books out of order, girl!!! This is SO a series that needs to be read in order to get the most out of it (do I sound like a broken record???) :)

    RENEE ... and trust me, I would like you to at least read the first book too!! Increase your chances to win by checking out my website calendar at www.julielessman.com for even more blog giveaways. Thanks for dropping by.

    Thanks, KELLIE, for your interest in this series, and I wish you luck in the contest.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  17. LORI!!!!!!! Grin, trust me, I feel like I'm getting to know you, too, so we're even! We should be old friends by the time we finally meet at the book signing in Atlanta, eh? Can't wait!!

    Bless you, HOLLY, for saying you liked my original titles better too! I was actually heartsick that Revell wanted to change the titles, but did you know that publishers change titles about 80% of the time, so it's not good to get too attached to an original title. WHICH I was!!! You see, because of my love for Gone With the Wind, I wanted the word "wind" in all of my titles PLUS I vowed that every title I ever came up with would be from a Scripture. Well, as you can plainly see, Revell didn't buy my argument, but oh well ... at least they bought the book! :)

    READINGROBIN, thanks for liking my titles too!! That makes three of us with Holly's comment above! :) And, yeah, I am really blessed to have so much input on the covers because I don't think most authors do ... at least not many debut authors like I was. But I attribute it all to God's favor since my prayer partners and I prayed long and hard about both covers and titles. :)

    STAMPEDWITHGRACE ... Thanks for coming by and you are bound to win a book soon, my friend, with as hard as you're working on these blog giveaways -- thank you!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  18. Great interview! I love Julie's books!!

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  19. Ooh, please enter me in your giveaway...I have "A Passion Most Pure" and loved it and would love to win any of the others. Really great interview...I enjoyed it very much. I added a couple titles of your favorite books to my TBR stack...they sound really good too.
    Thank you!

    Blessings,
    Sandy

    Muzzley56[at]aol[dot]com

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  20. Nora and Julie - great interview.
    I feel like I know Julie a little more now and can't wait to meet her in person.. See ya both on Monday.

    Sheryl

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  21. Nora & Julie
    Nora, Thanks once again for a great interview and Julie, thanks for sharing your heart with us. I am excited to meet you at the book club meeting at the Mall of Ga Lifeway in June! I really like your titles better for the books! I am enjoying A Passion Most Pure.

    Nora, please enter me in the drawing!
    Ann Kinamon

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  22. Nora & Julie
    Nora, Thanks once again for a great interview and Julie, thanks for sharing your heart with us. I am excited to meet you at the book club meeting at the Mall of Ga Lifeway in June! I really like your titles better for the books! I am enjoying A Passion Most Pure.

    Nora, please enter me in the drawing!
    Ann Kinamon

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  23. These were some of the best interview questions I've read lately! Interesting to hear about the cover art. BTW--I love the way Collin looks on the cover of A PASSION MOST PURE.

    clp1777(at)aol(dot)com

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  24. Great interview! I LOVED these stories and I am literally getting off the computer to start book number 2 in this series- I can't wait!

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  25. It was fun to read about the original titles for the books!
    Sharensa1@earthlink.net

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  26. LAKES17 ... Thank you SO much for "loving" my books and for taking the time to read them, the interview and leave a comment -- MUCH appreciated!

    SANDEE61 ... Soooo glad you enjoyed "Pure" and wish you luck in this contest so you can win Redeemed or Denied. And as far as other authors, you really can't go wrong with any of the books I mentioned -- winners all!!

    ANN!!! Gosh, I am SO looking forward to meeting you (AND NORA!!) too. I'll try to calm down before them because I already am a bit on the wired side ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  27. COURTNEY ... Thanks SO much for your kind comment about the interview -- the credit goes to Nora, who is a genius at interviews, in my opinion. And, grin, I LOVE the way Collin looks on the cover too ... sigh.

    ASHLEY ... Oh-oh ... I always get a wee bit nervous when somebody tells me they're off to read my book. Let me warn you, though -- Charity is a REAL character in this one, but she was SO much fun to redeem! Happy reading!!

    SHAREN ... Thanks for your comment, and I wish you luck in the contest. But if you don't win here, you might want to check out my website calendar for more giveaway opportunities, okay?

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  28. This interview was so neat!! I love finding out "behind the scenes" stuff like this (like how the characters on the cover were changed!) This series is SO GOOD!!! I would love to win A Passion Most Pure to top off my collection!!

    -Alli
    papatya213[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  29. Please enter me in this contest as well. I just want to say I have so enjoyed this series! Cannot wait to read the last one and look forward to your future books as well. Thanks for taking the time for this interview and a chance to know you a little.
    And I have to say...I love IHOP too! They have the best pancakes hands down!
    TammyA
    Tatertam1@aol.com

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  30. ALLI ... You're just popping up everywhere, girl! That's the way to win a book, as you well know ... :)

    TAMMY, thank you SO much -- really glad you have enjoyed the series so far. Hopefully you will think Denied is a good finale and whets your appetite for the new series ahead (which begins with Katie's story).

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  31. Loved the interview Nora & Julie. Loved learning more about Julie!

    Gail

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  32. GAIL ... thanks SO much for stopping by! Glad you enjoyed the interview and hope you get to enjoy a book as a result!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  33. Im not wanting to be entered in the contest, I just wanted to say great interview, it's always good to get to know one of your favourite authors [i am really pumped to know that we also have the same tastes in books Julie! I LOVE The two christian novels you picked out! I've yet to read gone w/the wind though!].

    Whoever wins a choice - wow, WHAT A CHOICE! all three books are fantastic and I wouldn't know which one to choose. If you haven't got any, start with the first one LOL. but Passion Redeemed I must say is my favourite, followed very closely by a Passion Denied which sums up the series SO well [not to say Most Pure isn't great too. lol i love them all]. see: could never choose just one!

    again great interview, good luck to everyone!!

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  34. LIVVIE!!!! Thank you SO much for dropping by to encourage ... you are such a doll!

    And I STILL cannot believe you haven't read Gone With the Wind yet ... you're lucky I like you so much or I just might not forgive you for that! And I'm pretty pumped because TOMORROW I go to Atlanta for a book club (Mon. night) and book signing (Tuesday) at the LifeWay Store at the Mall of GA, so guess who is gonna get to squeeze in the Gone With the Wind Museum????? I am SOOOOOO excited!!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  35. oh yay! a chance to win one of julie's books! please, please sign me up! i'm loving the first book in her series so much....i need #2!!

    charactertherapist (at) hotmail (dot) come

    thanks!

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  36. THANKS TO EVERYONE for reading this interview and encouraging Julie the way you have. I appreicate you taking the time to do that.

    CONGRADULATIONS to MIHELLE V. you are the winner of one of Julie's books. The book of your choice.

    BLESSINGS to everyone. Thanks for reaching out.

    Sincerely,

    Nora :D

    P.S. JULIE you are AMAZING!! Thanks for stopping by as often as you did to keep seeing and commenting to everyone that left a message. YOU ARE THE BEST!! I was WONDERFUL to FINALLY MEET you at book club. THANK YOU!!

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