Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Her book For Love of Liberty is a prequel to her upcoming Silver Lining Ranch series. In this interview, she tells what to expect from the series, who inspired her characters, and several ways that readers can support their favorite authors…
What inspired you to write a romance set in this particular time and place?
A friend happened to mention the TV show Ponderosa, which aired in the 1960s and 1970s, and instantly I was taken back to one of my favorite TV shows as a kid. In the blink of an eye, I suddenly saw a series set in Virginia City, Nevada, where Bonanza took place, set on a similar Ponderosa-style ranch. Thus was born my Western trilogy Silver Lining Ranch series, which is set during the era of the Comstock Lode silver strike and the transcontinental railroad in late 1800 Nevada.
What can you tell us about the series?
The Silver Lining Ranch series is a fun and light-hearted family-saga story about two suffragists from New York in the late 1800s—a godmother and her goddaughter—who fall in love with confirmed bachelor ranchers and their family in Virginia City, Nevada. This is the “Wild West,” so think “Bonanza meets McClintock” with lots of fireworks going on between two couples during the fascinating era of the transcontinental railroad and the Comstock Lode silver mine upon which Virginia City was built.
Here’s the blurb for book one, Love’s Silver Lining:
A Match Made in Heaven? Or Someplace a Whole Lot Warmer?
She’s stubborn, educated, and looking to give women the vote.
He’s bullheaded, successful, and looking to give her a piece of his mind.
But when things heat up, they just may give each other a piece of their hearts.
What is it about Liberty O’Shea and Griffin McShane that inspired you to write a book about them?
Two names: John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. When those two actors butted heads (and hearts) in the light-hearted Western movie McLintock, I fell in love! John Wayne played this calm and no-nonsense rancher married to a feisty redhead with New England airs, and the fireworks that sparked on the screen made me both laugh and sigh. So, I decided to try my own hand at a romance where two polar opposites battle their way to a love that–after a lot of lessons learned—lasts a lifetime.
What do you hope readers come away with after reading For Love of Liberty?
The same lesson I actually learned after I wrote this novel, which is also the spiritual theme of the book: True liberty is doing the right thing.
You see, I had just finished the manuscript when my husband and I encountered an unfortunate situation where we suspected a neighbor of vandalizing our property. I wanted my husband to tell the police all the details of what we suspected, which clearly pointed to this neighbor, but he didn’t want to because he said it wasn’t conclusive.
Well, that triggered one of the biggest arguments my husband and I have ever had and as a result, we both went to bed upset. I remember lying there fuming, so angry at the suspected neighbor and the large amount of money we lost that I was getting physically sick. All at once, like an autumn leaf drifting down, the theme of my book floated into my brain: True liberty is doing the right thing.
I silently groaned because I knew the “right thing” was forgiving this neighbor and praying for him, but trust me—I sure didn’t want to! God reminded me that my anger and unforgiveness was a prison that stole my freedom to be happy, not only ruining the joy of my home, but the joy of my marriage.
From that point on, every time I thought about that neighbor, I prayed for God to bless him and even took cupcakes to him and his wife. The moment I did that, it was like all the anger siphoned away and all I saw were two people who needed God’s love.
We now have a fledgling relationship with these same neighbors. I can’t help but think, isn’t it just like God to teach you a lesson with your own book?
What can readers do to support their favorite authors?
Oh my goodness–THANK YOU for asking one of the most important questions you can ask an author! I get emails from readers all the time, telling me how my book affected them or how much they liked it, which truly blesses me. But the best way to bless and thank those authors we love is to put those same words in a brief review—it can be as short as one or two lines, stating you liked the book—and post it on Amazon and Goodreads.
All authors need good reviews, but especially on indie books such as my Isle of Hope or Silver Lining Ranch series because I don’t have my publisher promoting these books like I do on the books they published for me. The more good reviews, the more sales, which means that author you love has a better of chance of writing more books that you love.
Other ways to support your favorite authors are:
• Contacting libraries to ask them to carry an author’s book
• Choosing that author’s book for your current book club
• Starting a book club just for that author’s book
• Sharing and retweeting an author’s promotions
• Voting for that author in Family Fiction magazine’s readers’ polls
• Recommending an author to family, friends, Facebook friends/followers, prayer groups, Bible groups, etc. because word of mouth is key
Visit Julie Lessman’s author page here: https://www.familyfiction.com/authors/julie-lessman
For Love of Liberty
Silver Lining Ranch