Bio: JoAnn lives with her husband, Jim, and their three children in her native southern Indiana. She's an estate administration paralegal in a Louisville, Kentucky law firm and loves writing Christ-honoring fiction.
What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
Forgiveness and redemption are two themes I love to incorporate in my books. They’re universal and have touched all of us in one way or another. When we can forgive (hard though it may be at times), it’s pleasing to the Lord and a beautiful manifestation of the love of Christ flowing through us for others. Redemption stories, in particular, also seem to resonate with readers. When we can “see” the journey and progression of a character and the unique way in which they find their redemption, it brings a very soul-satisfying resolution to a story.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
My Christmas novella e-book, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, from Pelican Book Group/White Rose Publishers is currently available, and priced unbelievably low at only 99 cents through Christmas Eve. I also have a short story, Please, in I Choose You, a romance anthology from OakTara Publishers, releasing this week. This is a wonderful book with love stories from 38 different authors from around the globe. I’m very excited to get my own copy and read this book! A number of my good writer friends, including Jude Urbanski and Elaine Marie Cooper, also have stories in this book (word has it Elaine even has a hero with the last name of Durgin!).
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
This question is the last one I answered because it’s the most challenging. I’m sure the answer would change from month to month, but in this moment in time, the name that comes immediately to mind is Karen Kingsbury. A few reviewers have recently compared my writing to hers, and that was such a huge honor and blessing for my heart. My style is similar in some ways but very different in other ways. I’d love to sit down with Karen (she now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, so she’s not that far away) and talk books, books and more books. Sharing a discussion with another writer who shares my passion for writing Christian fiction thrills my heart, and I’m sure I could learn so much from her.
I met Karen at our very first American Christian Romance Conference. She was the speaker, and she was very down-to-earth and friendly. What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
Yes, there are many biblical persons I’d love to meet. Going in another direction here, I’d choose Mark Twain. As I’ve mentioned many times, I adore his ironic wit and sense of humor. No doubt, a conversation (better yet, a shared dinner) with him would be a hoot and nothing less than fascinating. Because his real name was Samuel, I wonder if—somewhere in my subconscious—I named core character in my Lewis Legacy Series in homage to him. I actually believe it was Mr. Twain who inspired me to write humor into my books. Abraham Lincoln and Louisa May Alcott are two other historical persons I’d also adore meeting. Great question!
How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Don’t give up! If you’re passionate about your characters and their story, keep plugging away. As an example, I was told by both a multi-published author and one of the most influential Christian agents out there to basically leave Sam and Lexa Lewis (my core characters in my book series) on the proverbial cutting room floor and move on. But they’d only seen early versions of the first three chapters of Awakening. I knew in my heart if someone could see the entire work, they’d see its inherent value. I kept plugging away and the first publisher who looked it (a small independent publisher), bought the manuscript.
Tell us about the featured book.
Nothing thrills me more than sharp, witty bantering between a heroine and hero. They challenge one another and in so doing, keep a reader on her toes trying to keep up. You get a lot of that fun bantering in Daydreams and that’s one reason it’s a personal favorite of mine. My heroine, Amy Jacobsen, is a passionate woman: for the Lord, her family and her friends and work with TeamWork Missions. While the book is full of fun, as in all my books, there are the underlying themes of forgiveness and redemption as well as the celebration of the blessing and sanctity of life as Amy counsels an unwed, pregnant teenager. It’s a very appropriate and timely message, especially at this time of the year when we celebrate the birth of that precious baby born in a manger in Bethlehem.
Here’s the blurb:
What the eyes conceal, the heart reveals.
It's early December 2002, and Amy Jacobsen is living the dream: a job she loves with a trendy
New York City
magazine, a Manhattan
walk-up inherited from her grandfather, and a busy social life without the
unwanted complication of a steady boyfriend. During dinner one evening with her
brother, Mitch, she spies Landon Warnick the next table over. He's influential,
successful and one of the youngest magazine publishers in the country—not to
mention one of New York's most eligible bachelors. After Mitch wrangles a
meeting between the two, Landon wastes little time in asking her to dinner. Amy
questions her sanity when they share a cozy carriage ride in Central Park and
she comes this close to kissing
him. Is it the joy and wonder of the Christmas season that's put stars in her
eyes or the enigmatic, intelligent, challenging and incredibly handsome man?
The following weekend, she travels to
Louisiana to be a bridesmaid in a wedding
and a reunion with her friends and fellow volunteers in TeamWork Missions.
Headed down the aisle in the wedding, Amy's steps falter. Standing at the front
is a groomsman who flew into town only an hour before. . . She does a double
take. What's Landon Warnick doing in her
world, with her friends?
Perhaps more important, why does he suddenly have a Texas drawl and a
crescent-shaped scar on his forehead? Sharing a romantic dance at the
reception, she casts aside her better judgment and kisses him. She's lost her
mind and her heart might not be far behind, it seems. Let the adventure begin!
Is the Lord showing her the “right” man for her heart or is Amy in way over her head?
Please give us the first page of the book.
Amy Jacobsen’s breathing slowed to a crawl. Swiveling on the counter stool at the upscale Manhattan eatery, she craned her neck to get a better view. Outside the large picture window of Café Eduardo, holiday shoppers crowded the sidewalk as the tall, dark-haired man made his way toward the entrance. Landon Warnick. Tuning out the clink of glassware, piped-in holiday jazz and animated conversation all around her, Amy observed with unabashed interest as he held open the front door and ushered two austere businessmen inside. She’d seen his photo on the masthead of his magazine and splashed across the society pages enough times to recognize the founder and editor in chief of New York Scene. The majority of men in her industry who’d reached Landon’s status were well past fifty with paunchy middles, deeply-grooved faces and more hair on their chins than their heads. Stereotypical or not, unfair or not, most smoked or drank like fiends. None of them looked like this. Ever the literary groupie, Amy catapulted the well-respected figure to the top position on her list of “Publishers I’d Like to Meet Someday.”
Today might be that day.
Closing the door against the onslaught of blustery, early December temperatures, Landon peeled off his gloves and greeted a man by the door with a hearty handshake and matching smile. No doubt, the publisher knew half of Manhattan, or the other way around. In person, he appeared younger and more personable than she’d imagined. All he needed was a baby to kiss and he’d be a worthy political candidate—towering over most men and seemingly in complete control of his world. The erratic rhythm of Amy’s pulse testified to his good looks. Hardly what she’d term a pretty boy—in spite of his impeccable clothing and slightly long but stylish haircut—he radiated a rugged masculinity in the way he moved, his posture and the set of those broad shoulders.
When Landon removed his black overcoat—revealing a dark suit, white dress shirt and pale blue tie—it was impossible to ignore the dozens of women turning their heads in his direction. A disgustingly thin, bubbly blonde hostess bounced forward and greeted the group with a cloakroom attendant in-tow. After gathering their coats, the attendant hurried off as the hostess marched them past the small crowd already waiting for tables. All that and clout to spare.
Lost in thought, Amy twisted back around to the front. She startled when the bartender placed a napkin beneath her half-Coke, half-Diet Coke and slid it across the bar. Resting his elbows on the highly-polished wood, he lifted velvety-brown eyes—fringed with insanely long lashes—to hers. New York City had enough cute, suave bartenders to fill Yankee Stadium, but she didn’t want or need one flirting with her. “Afraid he’s taken, sweetheart.”
Her father was the only man allowed to use that endearment, but she hadn’t heard it from him in over four years. A wave of nostalgia swept through her and tears stung her eyes. Swallowing a sharp retort, she raised her chin. “I don’t know what you mean.” Glancing at the clock on the wall, she willed Mitch to be on time for once. Too bad this was the only semi-warm place to wait for her brother or an available table, whichever came first. Next week, she’d choose the restaurant.
A low chuckle escaped as the bartender wiped a dry cloth over the bar, buffing it to a high shine. “Landon Warnick. He’s always a hit with the ladies. Gets ‘em all stirred up, but that guy’s married to his work.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Please visit my website at www.joanndurgin.com or I’m on Facebook and have a new Author JoAnn Durgin Facebook page, as well. I love nothing more than to interact with readers, so please stop by and drop me a note.
And thank you, JoAnn, for sharing your new book with us. I'm sure my readers will really enjoy it.
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