Saturday, April 20, 2013

Please Welcome Christian Author JoAnn Durgin

Thank you so much for joining us today JoAnn.  What a fun photo to set off your Romance novels! Who is your photographer? I should have asked this question earlier. Maybe you can answer in the comments? Unless you are keeping it a secret, like your photographer is your own secret weapon or something? Giggle.

Is there a story behind your featured book Daydreams?

Daydreams is a contemporary Christian romantic adventure and the fourth in my Lewis Legacy Series following Awakening, Second Time Around and Twin Hearts. Although it’s the fourth book, it can definitely be read as a standalone novel. I drop enough “sparks” of background tidbits here and there so the reader can pick right up and join in the fun. These books center on a group of volunteers in TeamWork, a Christian missions organization based in Houston, Texas. Each book focuses on one or more of the TeamWork volunteers as they navigate life and love with guidance from mentors Sam and Lexa Lewis, my core characters. While fun and lighthearted in many respects, as in all my books, Daydreams has underlying themes of redemption, grace and forgiveness. This installment of the series belongs to TeamWork member Amy Jacobsen. She’s been in the series since the beginning and it’s her turn to shine. She’s matured quite a bit in the five years since Awakening and grown into a lovely, strong, independent woman. A junior editor at a trendy magazine in New York, she meets her match in magazine publisher Landon Warnick. You’ll notice the Daydreams book cover features a magazine with its pages curled into the shape of a heart. With a journalism background, I particularly enjoyed writing about the NYC publishing world. In a way, Amy is living my dream. I put a bit of myself in every book, whether it’s in character traits, places or experiences.

What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?

The first short story I remember writing was in high school. I have it somewhere (just don’t know exactly where). Although I don’t remember much about it, it was titled, “Ollie Is My Special Little Man” and is a loving, older sister’s perspective on her brother, Ollie. I wrote it during study hall; it was an attempt to write literary. You must understand I was in my New Yorker phase and thought I was the height of sophistication while most of my classmates read the pop/teen star fan magazines (not that I didn’t read some of those, too!). I also have several stand alone novels and maybe one day I’ll dig them out and see if they’re worth resurrecting. If not, I’m sure they’ll bring a lot of smiles and fond memories.

What’s the last thing you wrote?

I recently completed a novella, Harmony Lane, about a girl raised on a Lexington, Kentucky, horse farm who goes on a personal mission to Edinburgh, Scotland, to honor the wishes of her late father. What she finds in Edinburgh is so much more than she could ever imagine. I’m currently working on a sequel to my 2012 Christmas novella with Pelican Group/White Rose Publishing, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, and this one’s called Starlight, Star Bright.

Do you have a favorite genre of writing?

Without question, contemporary Christian romantic adventures.  It’s my own term, but it’s an accurate description of my novels.

What is one genre you have never written, and probably never will?

Speculative fiction. I know I’ll never write it, and I don’t want to read it—with apologies to my writer friends who do. Interestingly enough, one of my best writer friends hates romance and I pretty much detest spec fiction. But we formed a close bond and can certainly appreciate one another.

Can you tell us something about the most fun character you ever created?

This is a very difficult question to answer, but one I find intriguing. Especially since the entire Lewis Legacy Series is written, I know of one character coming up that I adore. Actually, my readers have “met” him  but they nothing about his background—yet. But, oh, he’s a fun one. At this point, I’ll have to say Landon in Daydreams is one of my personal favorites. I adore witty bantering between a heroine and her hero, and Daydreams contains some of the snappiest dialogue I’ve written to-date. Landon has some classic lines in my estimation (as did Sam Lewis in Awakening). He’s got it all, but there’s also his private insecurities and heartaches gradually revealed throughout the book. Landon’s a multi-dimensional character, and he was an absolute joy to write. Together with Amy, they make quite the dynamic couple (I’m not biased, am I?). My personal favorite (and yes, fun!) character in the entire series has also been mentioned in each book, and that’s Commander Will Lewis, the two inches shorter, three years younger brother of my core character in the series, Sam Lewis. I had a blast (pun intended) with my shuttle commander (he’s in Book #8, titled Pursuit). A gorgeous by geeky scientist, former Air Force captain and astronaut, Will can’t talk to a woman to save his life, but he undergoes such a personal transformation and what a testimony to the world he becomes of God’s grace and power.

What about the most annoying character you ever created?

I’ll answer this one from the feedback I’ve received from readers: the overwhelmingly popular choice is Rebekah Grant in Book #3, Twin Hearts. She’s dating two men—one a shy, fellow TeamWork member and the other a British aristocrat) and knows she must make her choice. I find it interesting how female readers have criticized Rebekah for trying to make the godly choice, and the right choice for her heart, and yet readers love and admire and seem to identify more with the character who had a child out-of-wedlock. I think it’s because many women found the latter more sympathetic. I love both of these female characters, but oh, my poor, beautiful, misunderstood Rebekah! I’ll say this: with hindsight and age comes wisdom. I honestly believe some of the readers who fault characters like Rebekah forget what it’s like to be young (early 20s), dating and having to make difficult life decisions. We all make mistakes, and believe me, I made plenty of them at that age! Still do, but I have a different (and hopefully more mature) perspective now and try to do the best I can and give the rest to the Lord.

Of all the plots you have written, which is your favorite?

Wow, you ask the tough questions! I’m going to choose Awakening primarily because it’s the book of my heart and loosely based on my own love story with my “Sam,” my husband, Jim. And yes, I’m pretty much Sam’s heroine, Lexa, in many respects. My own grandmother is Lexa’s Nana, and my dad is also the model for Lexa’s dad. It was my debut novel and has it all—humor, adventure, drama, romance—and even a suspense subplot. I always incorporate spiritual elements and there’s no doubt when a reader picks up one of my books, they’re going to get a Christian book in every sense of the word—without that dreaded “preachiness” or being “beat over the head.”

What’s the most unusual plot twist you ever wrote?

To-date, I’d say it has to be Daydreams. That’s all I’m saying. You must read it for yourself to find out!

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

Nothing is definite at this point, but rest assured, I’ll  have at least two or three new releases before the end of 2012. I’ll be honest in that I’m debating the merits and advantages/disadvantages with self-publishing a standalone novel I wrote last year called
Catching Serenity
. I might “test the waters” since I’m developing a faithful readership and have my cover designer working on a gorgeous design. It’s a story set in a South Carolina beach town featuring Serenity McClaren, a woman who’s lost two of the most important people in her life. Psychologist Jackson Ross is convinced there’s more to the mystery behind what happened. It’s a story of love, loss, redemption, forgiveness and rediscovery. Then I need to start on edits for Book #5 in the Lewis Legacy Series (it’s written but needs editing), titled Moonbeams.  I’m hoping to release it with Torn Veil Books before Christmas 2013.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to share with you today on this wonderful blog. Many  blessings to all of you.

Matthew 5:16
You can purchase Daydreams at:

Or ask your local library to order it in for you!

JoAnn Durgin is giving away a copy of her novel Daydreams. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Cheri Swalwell said...

Thank you for sharing more about the background to your books. I was intrigued and can't wait to read Awakening I truly can't wait to read Daydreams as well.

Thanks for the opportunity -

In Him,

Cheri :)

JoAnn Durgin said...

Sharon, first of all, thanks for hosting me on this wonderful blog. In answer to your question, I went to a local photography studio in Louisville for a series of photos and loved the dynamic of the yellow rose against the black and white. It was a miserably humid day and my hair didn't cooperate very well. But, my husband loves this photo, so... Smile.

Cheri, always nice to see you! Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving a comment. Hoping you can get to Sam and Lexa's story one day soon (and there's two more leading up to Daydreams, although it can be read by itself). Many blessings.

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win/read this book. It sounds terrific.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Barbara Shelton said...

What a beautiful interview!! I love JoAnn Durgin like a sister and have been an admirer of her stories since Awakening. JoAnn throws so much of the real person she is into her writing which exemplifies the wonderful Christian lady she is. I just wanted to comment, but please don't add me to the drawing. I have all of her books, and there is someone out there that needs Daydreams - there are real good messages for just the right person.

In Christian Joy,
Barb Shelton

Elaine Stock said...

What a great interview on you, JoAnn. I enjoyed learning more about one of the sweetest people I know.

Judy said...

I'm not entering this contest because I have all of JoAnn's books and have also read them all. Even though I loved Awakening the book that started it all, my favorite so far is Daydreams. I just simply loved that book. I can't wait until Moonbeams is published. I want to say that I usually don't keep many books that I have read. I pass them on to relatives or church family but JoAnn's books hold a soft spot in my heart and I plan to re-read every single one of her books over again. They are THAT good!

Judy B

KayM said...

Sharon and JoAnn, I really enjoyed the great interview. Thank you for sharing. I haven't read any of JoAnn's books, yet, but the Lewis Legacy Series is one that I've been thinking of reading. Thank you for offering a copy of Daydreams.
may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

JoAnn Durgin said...

Thank you for the kind comments, everyone (and also to Larik Burci who tried to enter a comment, Sharon, and couldn't get it to go through for some reason and would like to be entered, if possible). I am so blessed to have wonderful readers like you ladies. Kay, if you have a Kindle, the first three books in the Lewis Legacy series are only $9.99 in a boxed set deal. The books are also on Nook (but I believe the special price is only on Kindle). Many blessings to all.

Sharon A. Lavy said...

Larik Burci ~so sorry. I didn't find your post in moderation or in spam. Sorry it did not go through.

Boos Mum said...

I really enjoyed Awakenings. I am very curious about Daydreams and it's plot. You sound like a busy gal, and I am looking forward to your future works. Thanks for the chance to win your book.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Thank you Sharon for having JoAnn here today. I would love to have this chance to win her book. It sounds like a good one to start with since I don't have any of hers, tho I have heard of her. Thanks JoAnn for coming and telling us about your book. Sounds like I need to read your Awakening book.
Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Patricia Bradley said...

Great interview. Loved getting to know JoAnn better. Would love to win Daydreams! pat at ptbradley dot com

Anonymous said...

I have told all my book-loving friends about Mrs. JoAnn's books! She is a sweet lady and a gifted author! I loved the first 2 in this series and am looking forward to all the rest!

Jo said...

This is defintely a book that I want to read. Thank you for the opportunity!


Teela said...

JoAnn, your cover to Daydreams is so "cute" in a VERY GOOD Way and you look adorable with your yellow rose and I would just love to read this book!

JoAnn Durgin said...

Your comments have all made me smile. Thanks so much. So nice to meet Christian book readers and I hope I get to know many of you in the future! Thanks again for your support and encouragement of Christian authors and our books. It means the world to us. Many blessings!! Matthew 5:16

Merry said...

Lovely interview! Please add me for Daydreams, it sounds wonderful.
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

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