Hello, reader friends! In honor of new release A Wing and a Prayer, we are chatting and celebrating this WWII romance with author Julie Lessman!
about the author
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. A lover of all things Irish, she enjoys writing close-knit Irish family sagas that evolve into 3-D love stories: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together.
Author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, Heart of San Francisco, Isle of Hope, and Silver Lining Ranch series, Julie was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered over 18 Romance Writers of America and other awards. Voted #1 Romance Author in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie’s novels also made Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2015, Best of 2014, and “Essential Christian Romance Authors” 2017, as well as Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and Borders Best Fiction. Her independent novel A Light in the Window was an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers’ Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner.
Julie has also written a self-help workbook for writers entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets. Contact Julie through her website and read excerpts from each of her books at www.julielessman.com or connect with her on facebook, twitter, or instagram!
Do you have any writing quirks?
J: Uh, is the sky blue??? I’m quirky and crazy and just a wee bit off-center, so I have a number of rituals with my writing such as the essentials—a constant cup of hazelnut decaf with Half ‘n Half, lots of lip gloss, Kleenex (for the soggy scenes I write), and a mirror handy for those facial expressions I’m trying to capture on paper.
My biggest ritual, however, is the ambiance. My family jokes that I am an “Ambiance Queen” because dim lighting with candles during dinner is a must. During the summer months (basically May through October), I sit outside on my deck that runs the length of the house, overlooking a lake with my feet up on this cushy lawn furniture and a fan (heater, depending upon the season) gently blowing while I sit with my laptop on my … where else? Lap!!
In the winter when I’m not in the family room with a crackling fire, I write upstairs in my bedroom, which has two huge corner windows that let in gobs of light and lots of fun distractions like chipmunks, squirrels, and birds in the trees or the occasional eagle or blue heron. Of course, I have everything right there that I need including lip gloss, hazelnut coffee, a mirror, and my favorite picture of my husband and me before we were married. How’s that for romantic inspiration? 🙂 It sure works for me!
B: Your writing spots sound wonderful! I’d love to have a water view but I love my waves of prairie grass too!
Briefly describe yourself.
J: Irish temper. Ambiance Queen. Prayer Warrior. Encourager.
B: Sounds like an honest assessment!
What are some of the challenges you faced while writing A Wing and a Prayer?
J: The first and biggest hurdle I faced was the research because … ahem … I’m not overly fond of research. So, what does this lame-brain do? Duh! I write a WWII story where the heroine is both a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) and a foreign war correspondent, and then the hero is an aeromedical evac pilot, making the story a real bear to write. I literally had to research on almost every page of this book, and sometimes every paragraph, no joke!
I’m not only talkin’ medical terms, military terms, WASP terms, 1940s, pilot/airplane/Jeep terms and parts, terminology/hairstyles/fashion/etc., BUT I also had to have my history down cold. As a result, I am happy to say that I now know more about WWII than I ever dreamed possible. Which, I have to admit, was pretty cool given the fact that we are celebrating the 75th Anniversary of V-Day and VE-Day this year!
The second hurdle was coming up with my traditional “O’Connor twist,” which I always like to include at the end of an O’Connor book, which I simply did not have for Gabe’s story. So I did what I usually do when I have a plot problem, I “God-stormed,” which is simply brainstorming with God. Seriously, I prayed and prayed and prayed throughout the entire writing of this book, but by the last line, I had nothing. Nada. Zilch. So, I just figured since it is basically God’s story instead of mine anyway, He obviously didn’t need the twist. Yes, I was a teensy bit disappointed but figured with its rich WWII and WASP history, A Wing and a Prayer was still an exciting book. Or so I hoped. ?
And then, there I am on the treadmill at the very end of the final-edit stage, praising God to worship music when BOOM! A bolt from the blue has me bolting downstairs to my computer to put the finishing touches on a book that now puts a big smile on my face. ? And yours, too, I hope, if you win my giveaway below, so good luck!
B: He provides! I can’t wait to read Gabe’s story!
What did you learn or discover about yourself while writing A Wing and a Prayer?
J: That I absolutely LOVE writing about the O’Connor family because it’s like going home again. 🙂
B: I feel the same way about reading their stories!
What is your next release and/or what are you working on now?
J: Well, in addition to A Wing and a Prayer releasing on April 1st, I also have book 2 of my Silver Lining Ranch series, Love’s Silver Bullet, releasing May 31st, so I am busy finishing that up right now, with only about 14 scenes left. Prayers appreciated for speed, productivity, and anointing!!
Then, this summer, in addition to writing another O’Connor Christmas novella (I put one out every year and plan to compile them into a paperback anthology when I’ve covered all the siblings in a novella, along with a final Marcy/Patrick novella as well), I am shooting for releasing a sweet secular version of A Wing and a Prayer called In Love We Trust. It will be the same story as the Christian version, but with no mention of God or prayer or any strong spiritual lessons, just a subtle thread of morality. It will have a different cover and author name (my maiden name) and be listed separately on a divided website. It will also be a steamier version than the CBA version, but really not much steamier than my typical indie novels and definitely according to God’s precepts.
B: Yay!!! I’m so excited for more O’Connor stories and I hope you’re able to reach new readers with your secular version as well! Thank you for chatting with us, Julie!
about the book
A Wing and a Prayer by Julie Lessman (The Cousins O’Connor book 1)
She’s dead-set on giving everything to the war overseas …
Even if it means losing everything in a war of the heart.
A street orphan abused and abandoned by an alcoholic father at age five, Gabriella (Gabe) O’Connor has never let a man stand in her way yet. So when a handsome flight officer thwarts her plans to become a Women Airforce Service Pilot, she’s determined to join the war effort anyway she can. Her chance comes when she “borrows” foreign correspondent credentials from the Boston Herald—where her father is the editor—to stow away on a medical ship to the front.
Lieutenant Reece Kincaid pegs Gabe O’Connor as trouble the moment she steps foot on Avenger Field as a WASP cadet. As the eldest brother of a boy whose jaw Gabe broke in grade school, Reece is familiar with her reputation as both a charismatic ringleader and a headstrong hooligan who’s challenged every male and nun from grade school to college. As her WASP flight instructor, Reece eventually expels Gabe when she pulls a dangerous stunt. But when he is an evacuation pilot in France eight months later, their lives intertwine once again, exposing them to a danger as perilous as the German tanks roaming the Reichswald Forest: a love that neither expects.
(3) winners will receive their choice of (3) indie titles by Julie Lessman. Her indie series are Isle of Hope, Silver Lining Ranch, and The Cousins O’Connor, including A Wing and a Prayer and Love’s Silver Bullet!
Julie’s generosity will be feeding the ereaders of three fortunate Faithfully Bookish readers! Thank you, Julie!
Void where prohibited by law or logistics | ends 4/1 | complete giveaway rules
Join our chat by sharing your thoughts in the comments!
I always look forward to reading O’Connor stories and A Wing and a Prayer by Julie Lessman is no exception!
Are you adding this title to your tbr, reader friends? Y’all need some “passion with purpose” in your lives!!