God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I just want to keep writing and sharing my stories. To be able to see them in print is one of the sweetest blessings in my life. I’m open to the Lord’s leading and new opportunities, but I’m very content where I am right now.
Tell us a little about your family.
My family—husband, Jim, daughters Sarah and Chelsea (college students) and Matthew, 16—is the best! They make me a better person, a more intuitive (love that word) writer. Sure, they get that “glazed over” look in their eyes on occasion when I start “the talk” about my books or give my business card to anyone and everyone who asks about my writing. And yes, I’ve heard the resigned sighs and caught some serious eye-rolling. But any husband who promotes his wife’s books while sitting in a sauna at the YMCA is a very supportive guy. My kids understand when they shouldn’t interrupt (when Mom’s in “the zone”), and that keeps us all happy.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Except for when my children were little, I’ve always been a voracious fiction reader. Nothing’s better than relaxing with a good book at the end of the day, and I fall asleep most nights with a book (or Kindle) in my hands. Reading the work of others sharpens me as a writer and keeps me current with the newest, freshest authors. I used to read a variety of books, including mysteries and biographies, but now it’s pretty much Christian romance all the time, both historical and contemporary. There’s such a wealth of incredible talent in Christian fiction and some truly great books!
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on the final edits for my upcoming Christmas novella with White Rose Publishing, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, tentatively scheduled to release in October. It’s a heartwarming, fun story about a hunky but slightly wounded firefighter, Jake Marston, and what happens when he meets Julia Sinclair, his best buddy’s younger sister in tiny Starlight, Iowa. I could say Jake meets his match—corny, I know, but it works! I’m also deep in edits for Daydreams, the fourth installment of The Lewis Legacy Series, due in mid-November or early December.
What outside interests do you have?
I wish I could answer with something disgustingly healthy and physically challenging. But—being completely honest here—my primary outside interests these days revolve around church, family or school activities. Other than that, it’s all about the writing. One of my all-time favorite things to do is travel, so I’m excited to return to Dallas in September for the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference. My husband’s coming, too, since we met in “Big D” and it’s our 25th wedding anniversary earlier in the month (I married the man on his birthday; he doesn’t forget his anniversary), then we’re traveling to Austin, San Antonio and Houston.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
Sometimes I write about locales in which I’ve lived (from coast-to-coast) or visited, or else I dream up a fictional town. In my current series, each book focuses on one member of a Christian missions organization called TeamWork. Their stories take the reader from
(the home base for my core characters, Sam and Lexa Lewis) to Massachusetts,
and even the International Space Station! New York, New
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
I’ve always adored Mark Twain. Humor is a key element in all my books, and I appreciate his sharp (although sometimes caustic) wit. He’s an intelligent and insightful writer. Mr. Twain was a master of irony and a keen observer of human behavior (and misbehavior). The Innocents Abroad is hysterical, albeit irreverent, but it’s still a personal favorite. I’m sure he’d be a fascinating dinner companion. I’d hang on every word and learn a lot about writing—and life, too, I’m sure.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
This is the toughest question to answer this time around on your blog,
Lena. I could say things like: I
wish I’d known how much time it really
takes to edit a 100,000 word novel (when you work full-time). I wish I’d known
how much a negative review can hurt (even in a sea of positives). I wish I’d
known not to expect as much of others as I do of myself…oh, the list could go
on. But you know what? Even if I had
known any or all of these things, I wouldn’t change a thing about my writing
journey. It’s made me stronger and the writer I am today. The Lord always
knows, doesn’t He?
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
A wise, multi-published author told me something I’ve taken to heart: “Don’t compare your writing to anyone else’s.” Just as the Lord has given each one of us a unique writer’s voice, there are different readers for all of us. It’s not a competition. Especially as a Christian author, I’m writing first and foremost to give hope to readers—the kind of hope only found in a personal relationship with Christ. If I concentrate on writing the best possible story, He will bless and bring the readers.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Pray each time you sit down to write, committing your words to the Lord’s guidance and also praying for your readers.
Be an encourager and build a good network of writer friends and readers.
Keep writing, editing and reading and do at least one thing each day to further your writing career.
Tell us about the featured book.
Twin Hearts is the third installment of The Lewis Legacy Series and features the respective love stories of
Louisiana twins, Joshua and Rebekah Grant.
Josh was the “black sheep” in my first book of the series, and I wanted to
bring him back so he could find his redemption. He does, but in a sweet and surprising
way. Rebekah is torn between two men: one a British aristocrat offering her the
world and the other a shy, faithful fellow member of the TeamWork Missions
volunteer crew. Twin Hearts is a journey through tragedy and triumph as each
twin discovers the value and meaning of family, faith and a love to last a
Please give us the first page of the book.
Apologizing for past behavior wasn’t a problem for Josh Grant, but asking forgiveness from his former mentor humbled him like nothing else. This apology was way overdue. He passed through the revolving door of the downtown Houston high-rise and did a quick scan of the building directory. TeamWork Missions, U.S. Headquarters. Suite 412. Shoving his hands deep in the pockets of his suit pants to quell his nerves, Josh exchanged a nod and a “Good morning” with the security guard and headed toward the bank of elevators. He crossed his arms and stared at the elevator doors with tunnel vision, ignoring the blonde in a business suit eyeing him with undisguised interest. It might have been a good idea to bring his briefcase. Call it a crutch, but at least he’d have something to hold and give him some sense of normalcy. What he faced on the fourth floor wasn’t one of his routine merger or acquisition deals—this was far more intimidating. He was here for one purpose alone: to see Sam Lewis.
Impatience took over as he rocked on the heels of his Italian leather shoes and waited to see which of the eight elevators would win the race to the ground floor. Stretching his neck, he loosened his collar and new silk tie, which felt like a noose intent on suffocating him. Sam wouldn’t care if he wore tattered clothes, hadn’t bathed in a week and not a dime to his name. Heart attitude made the man, not the outward representations of worldly prosperity. Although his dad grilled it into him, and his mind possessed that knowledge, his heart hadn’t yet crawled out from beneath the heavy burden of guilt and remorse—its own unique brand of shame.
Instead of waiting, he pushed the door to the stairwell and bounded up the steps two at a time. His workouts must be paying off since he was barely out of breath when he reached the fourth floor landing. Opening the door to the hallway, he spied a sign for TeamWork pointing to the left. Each step on the tile floor sounded like a clanging cymbal announcing his arrival in the otherwise empty hallway. Like a prisoner going to his doom. Shake it off. Sam was a godly man, and he’d welcome him back with open arms.
Josh stared at the gold-plated sign for TeamWork mounted on the heavy oak door of Suite 412. His eyes focused. Samuel J. Lewis, Jr., Domestic Missions Director. He readjusted his collar and straightened the tie in the reflection of the sign, basking him in a surreal, golden glow. Ironic since they’d nicknamed him “Golden Boy” at his Baton Rouge law firm. Little did they know that gold was more tarnished than silver.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is www.joanndurgin.com and readers can send me a message there, or they can find me on Facebook. One of the biggest thrills for me is hearing from readers, and I love to get to know them!
Awakening (Book #1 in The Lewis Legacy Series and currently featured on your blog sidebar), is currently $2.99 on Kindle for a very limited time.
Thank you for having me here today,
It’s my great honor, as always. Matthew
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Twin Hearts: A Christian Romance Novel (The Lewis Legacy Series, Book Three) - paperback
Twin Hearts: A Christian Romance Novel (The Lewis Legacy Series, Book Three) - Kindle
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.
The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.
If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.