Friday, July 31, 2009

My Friend . . . Julie Lessman

It was my first morning at the ACFW conference (after that first night where I met my now-best-friend), and I stood in line for breakfast. I'd left my room early so that I could be gone by the time my 23-month-old daughter woke up (hey, we avoid those "Don't leave, Mommy!" scenes whenever we can!), but already there was a line outside the banquet hall where we ate.

In front of me stood a lovely woman who turned around and struck up a conversation with another nearby attendee. In typical me-fashion, I more or less twiddled my thumbs and pretended I wasn't eavesdropping--like I could help it, lol. Then the woman drew out bookmarks for her upcoming release, handed one off to the woman she'd been chatting with, and passed one to me, too, along with a grin. "I'm Julie Lessman," she said.

I introduced myself and looked at the thick plastic bookmark in my hands. "Nice," I said in reference to the giveaway. "One my daughter won't be able to destroy in three seconds."

Julie laughed and confessed that the printer had messed up, and she'd been concerned about them. We started talking about the book featured on the mark, her debut novel A Passion Most Pure. As the breakfast-line started moving, she asked to pray for me and the other lady beside me. We told her what we were pitching, and she took our hands and prayed then and there for us and our projects.

As we moseyed in to breakfast, I offered to review her novel for her when it came out. I'd been praying that morning that the Lord show me a way to give back at conference, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity. Especially when Julie gave me a blank look. "I know reviews are important," she said, "but I'm not sure why."

Since I'd started the Christian Review of Books a few years before, I was well able to expound on that topic. She further endeared herself by saying, "Don't take this the wrong way, but you look really young to be so well versed in the industry." Is there any quicker way to make a woman your friend? LOL. We chatted all the way into breakfast, I gave her a card . . . and then conference went on. I didn't see Julie again.

But soon after I got home, I sent an email to her publicist asking for A Passion Most Pure when it was available. Not long after that, I received an email from Julie asking for my book, A Stray Drop of Blood. We emailed back and forth a few times, and when I confessed that I read both CBA and ABA romances, Julie got very excited for my opinion on her novel, since it was a little more risque than CBA usually published. Which made me all the more eager to read it. =)

Since then, Julie and I have formed a unique kind of friendship born of mutual respect and appreciation. As each of her books have come out, I've written reviews and raved to everyone I know (I can't help it--they're sooooooo good! My sister always threatens to fight me for them when she sees me with Julie's latest release). She was kind enough to write a review of Stray Drop for me too. We email now and then for updates on each other's projects, and she assures me she's praying that my manuscripts find favor with the publishers.

Remembering that lovely woman who prayed for two strangers during the first full day of conference, I don't doubt it. I have found in Julie an author of amazing talent, yes, but more importantly, a woman of deep faith and such a beautiful, giving spirit.

The third book in Julie's Daughters of Boston Series hit shelves this summer, and it's a fantastic "ending" to the saga. (The quotes are earned because her next series will pick up with the remaining O'Connor siblings--I can't wait!) Check out more information about her books at her website, and click on the pictures of them for my reviews.

1 comment:

  1. Julie Lessman is AWESOME. I can never decide if I like her books better or just her. It's a tie :)