Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Meet JoAnn Durgin

It has been such a blessing having so many people guest on my blog! Today is no exception! Here's JoAnn Durgin.....


How did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I’m not sure there was ever a time when I made a conscious decision to be an author. Learning to read was one of the highlights of my life as a child in first grade, and I became a voracious reader. I loved writing essays and book reports, unlike the majority of my classmates. They’d groan about English assignments, but I absolutely thrived on them. I think reading Nancy Drew books cultivated my love of creating stories and planted that creative “seed” in my mind.


What steps did you take to follow this dream?
It wasn’t until I was a stay-at-home mom in Philly with three small children that I first dabbled in writing full-length romance novels. While they napped, I wrote. It was never a question in my mind that I would write Christian books. I garnered a bit of attention from my first attempts, but then we moved to the Boston area where my husband, Jim, was a pastor, and our lives were full. Then I put my writing—but not the desire for it—on the back burner for a decade to raise our children. The last manuscript I wrote was Awakening, a love story very loosely based on my love story in Texas with Jim. I finished it in less than two weeks before putting it aside. I feel the Lord honored that decision to wait on His timing for my writing career. Awakening became my debut novel and it subsequently sold to the first publisher who requested the full manuscript. I still don’t have an agent, but to-date I have four books in this same series, The Lewis Legacy Series from Torn Veil Books, a Christmas novella with Pelican Group/White Rose Publishers and a short story in an anthology published by Oak Tara, all within a little more than two years. The Lord has truly blessed, and I am so thankful.



What is the hardest thing about writing?
For me, the joy and most creative aspect is the actual writing. I can honestly say I’ve never suffered writer’s block. My books are longer than most (110,000+ words as opposed to the usual 85,000 to 100,000 words for books in my contemporary Christian romance genre). Part of the fun for me is seeing where my imagination and the Lord will take me with a story. “E-D-I-T” used to be a four-letter word for me, if you understand my meaning, but now I embrace it as crucial and integral to the entire process. I’ll be honest in that the hardest part for me is when the occasional negative review hits. Thankfully, my books have been very well-received, but it can be nerve wracking. The Lord’s working on me in this regard.


What is your newest release?
Daydreams, Book #4 in The Lewis Legacy Series. Each book can certainly be read alone, but I believe it enriches the reader’s experience by knowing the background of these characters which can be found in the previous books in the series. The books are available online in both eBook and paperback editions.


What are you currently working on now?
I’m working on two more novella proposals, one a story with Americans in Scotland and a second Christmas novella. I have a standalone, full-length novel, Catching Serenity, and I plan on editing it next. My series is a long one and I’ll also start edits on the next one, Moonbeams, soon. I work full-time as an estate administration paralegal or I’d be able to produce even more books quicker. In order to produce the best quality books I can, I don’t rush them. No book is perfect, but I want to be able to hold up my head and know I’ve done the best I can and the Lord will not be ashamed of anything I’ve written. It’s all about giving the reader hope and glorifying Him through my books. It’s my prayer my readers will gain some spiritual insight she can apply to her own life.


What is your favorite season of the year?
Spring, and I adore daffodils! My heroine in Daydreams, Amy Jacobsen, shares this love of daffodils. For Amy, as for me, that sturdy and bright yellow flower represents rebirth and the reawakening of the earth after the long, cold winter. They usually start poking up through the ground about the time of Easter and also represent to me the resurrection and the Lord’s promise to return one day.


If you could go anywhere, where would it be and why?
The answer to this question varies greatly depending on the season and my frame of mind. I love to travel and am blessed to have done quite a bit B.C. (before children). Europe (anywhere) is one of my favorite destinations. Last year, I was dying to return to Texas. Jim and I hadn’t been back to the Lone Star State since we met there. So, we combined the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Dallas with our 25th anniversary trip. We visited Dallas, San Antonio (where most of the events in Awakening are set), Austin (did some research there for a big section in Daydreams), Houston and Baton Rouge. However, today my answer would be a cruise. Jim’s never been on one and it’s a dream for him. I might have to start planning soon…


What is something quirky your readers would like to know about you that they don't already?
I’ve shared a number of quirky things with readers before. Here’s one I don’t think I’ve ever shared, and I’m running the risk here of sounding really strange. To this day, I still do something occasionally that my dad once told me I did as a baby in my crib. I call it nipping; it’s a self-soothing, comforting thing I do with the corner of a sheet or some type of fabric by running my thumb over it. It’s a tactile thing, for lack of knowing how to explain it. Okay, now you know how truly weird I am.


Who is your biggest support and why?
My family, without a doubt. They listen, they hug, they encourage, they support, and they put up with me. They are my heroes, and I couldn’t do it without them.


Where can fans find you on the web?
Please visit my website at www.joanndurgin.com, and I have an Author JoAnn Durgin page on Facebook. I love meeting new readers and sharing with them, so feel free to send me a message!



Thank you for taking the time to share with us, JoAnn!
Thank you, Joi! I’ve really enjoyed being here. I’d love it if your readers could leave a comment for the opportunity to win a signed copy of one of my books, either Daydreams or any one of the others in the series. Winner’s choice.

35 comments:

  1. Hi JoAnn...me again! I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring to try to win a copy of "Daydreams." I love reading your interviews whenever you are featured. I learn something new each time.

    I'm hoping others will read my comment and pick up your other books that you have written and told a little about in your interview above. I have enjoyed everyone of them. My favorite characters to this very day are Sam and Lexie. Love, love, love them. So readers start with "Awakening." You will love it!

    (I can't wait to read Amy's story in Daydreams!)

    Thanks for this great interview and giveaway!

    Blessings!
    Judy

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    1. Judy, I need to send you some official TeamWork pom pons. You are my best cheerleader ever! Thanks, as always, for your support. Sam and Lexa thank you, too. I can't wait for you to read Daydreams, either. Blessings.

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    2. I have no clue to why I called her Lexie! I guess she reminds me of a Lexie!! Of course I knew her name is Lexa! I have all your books to prove it! Anyway, I am looking forward to reading Daydreams!

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    3. Oh, it's quite understandable, Judy. No need to try and explain. I've had people call her Alexi, Lexi, Lexie, Alexa...you name it! Her name is actually Alexis, so "Lexi" would probably be more natural, but I wanted to make it a little different, you see. Sometimes these characters just kind of pick their own names, too. SMILE.

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  2. This was an interesting interview. Your personality always come through in your FB comments and the same goes for this interview. You seem like a nice person with a good outlook on life. :)

    Would love to win a book. cathy underscore shouse at yahoo dot com

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    1. Thanks, Cathy. I try to be a nice person and have a bright, hopeful outlook as much as possible. Most of the time I think I succeed. SMILE. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Many blessings to you!

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  3. I had to laugh at some of this author's comments. I too like the tactile thing of running my fingers of thumb across a nice piece of material. But I believe that enjoyment of sensual things---as God created nice things---is an element of a great writer.

    I've read several of JoAnn Durgin's books and love them. Can't wait to read her latest.

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    1. Yet another thing we have in common, Christine. And to think I was hesitant to even write that! I like your "take" on it that it's an element of a great writer. Works for me. Thanks for dropping by, and always great to "see" you! Many blessings.

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  4. Loved the books I've read by this author. Can't wait to read her latest. I had to laugh over her penchant for feeling the softness of certain fabrics. I think this is a sign of a good writer, the ability to enjoy the sensuous aspects of God's kingdom.

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  5. Reading of your books reinforce the Jo Ann I knew many years ago before writing books were part of your life of stories to all.

    You are so Blessed to be able to share with the readers and put them right there with you. Its like the "one on one" storytime with a friend. Thanks for sharing as you do to all of us !

    Brenda

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    1. Brenda, so wonderful to "see" you here! Thanks for stopping by. I still think of you when I see that cross-stitch I made for my aunt hanging on the wall in her house (the one with the family tree that I made while I worked at UCR) and when I make microwave popcorn. It always makes me smile. Miss you and would love to come out to CA and hug you in person! Maybe one of these days... Thanks for your kind words, my sweet friend. Many blessings.

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  6. This is the Jo Ann I had the pleasure of knowing many years ago. A very sincere, loving person and Christian woman.

    You have such a knack for story telling. You put us right there with you as you proceed with all the facts and feelings. Makes me really ' get the picture' !

    Thanks for Blessing me with your books. Its great to be back in touch and spend time with you through your writings.

    Brenda

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  7. Love you books JoAnn. Joi you did a wonderful job with this interview today. Blessings and prayers for both of your inspiration, Susan Fryman susanngarrylee@yahoo.com

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    1. Susan, you are a "dream" encourager and a true gift from the Lord. I'm so happy you like my books!! Thanks so much for all you do on behalf of myself and other Christian authors. You are a treasure. Many blessings!

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  8. Enjoyed making the pins for JoAnn and in sure I'll enjoy her books as soon as I get a chance.

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  9. I enjoyed working on JoAnn's pins and as soon as I get a chance I'm sure I'll enjoy her books.

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  10. I didn't realize this was a giveaway. I would live to win, it seems like JoAnn is a dear friend of mine, working on her pins wad a pleasure and I'm excited that thus is a giveaway. I thought I missed a chatting session. what do I know. I'm so new at fb Ifeel like I don't know what's going on

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    1. Hi Maggie! You didn't miss a chatting session and you're doing great! I can't wait to receive those beautiful pins. You are the best!! Blessings for a great day!

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    2. Maggie, I thought I left a message before but it didn't show up, so you're not the only one who has troubles sometimes with technology. Let's try this again. You're doing great, though! I appreciate you so much and can't wait to see these beautiful pins you've made for me. What a special, sweet ministry you have for authors! Thanks so much. Many blessings to you and prayers for your good health!

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  11. Looking forward to reading daydreams. Thanks for a chance to win one.
    Blessings
    joeym11@frontier.com

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    1. Thanks, Diana! I appreciate your stopping by and leaving a comment. Many blessings to you.

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    2. Thanks I am so happy I won JoAnn,Looking forward to reading this. God Bless!

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  12. I loved this review.I am looking forward to reading your book.You have a great way with words.Thanks....jackie_tessnair@yahoo.com

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    1. Thanks, Jackie! Now, this might sound strange, but do you live in North Carolina? If so, please send me a FB message or a message via my website. I have a question for you that involves another blog. Blessings!

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  13. Thank you for a wonderful interview with JoAnn! She is one of my new favorite authors, and I consider her a dear "friend!" She is gifted and inspired by God in her writing, and I look forward to reading many more of her books!
    Nancee
    quiltcat26[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Nancee! You are such an encouragement to me and I thank the Lord for you. Looking forward to a long and lovely friendship with you! Many blessings.

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  14. JoAn, I enjoyed this interview of you with Joi. Very interesting. Shame for you waiting so long to come back to TEXAS. I love Texas. You were close to me when you were in Houston. I am next door in Pasadena. Wish I could have met you. Your books seem to be good listening to these comments, I like the title of your new book, but, like the idea of the first being based on you and your husband. I would love to win a book by you. I love having an author's debut novel. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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    1. Hi Maxie! Yes, I have a great fondness in my heart for all things Texas and loved planting my feet on Lone Star soil again this past September. I'd love to come back and meet you one day! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment and I hope you can read one of my books soon! Many blessings.

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  15. Good morning !!! I am so glad I found this, as I have enjoyed reading the wonderful things written JoAnn !!! and you cross stitch.....it was my favorite hobby !!! still is ~ just seems not enough time anymore... I cannot wait to pick up a JoAnn Durgin story, thanks for the chance to win Daydreams !!!! I love a good series and your reviews are excellent !!! you have many wonderful fans and I am glad to say I am one now !!!! thanks again..

    Rosemary Foley rfoley@salemstate.edu

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    1. Ah, Rosemary, you do my heart good. Thanks so much for your wonderful comments and for stopping by and leaving a comment. I don't have time to cross stich anymore, but I adore it. I have several pieces framed and hanging in our home. Maybe one day I'll get back to it. So thankful to count you as a fan! Many blessings to you.

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  16. Come back Friday, ladies, to see who the winner is! :)

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  17. Put me in the drawing, JoAnn! Such a sweet interview—your personality always bubbles through with joy! Congrats again on this latest release in Lewis Legacy. You are an amazingly prolific writer with all that is on your plate! Blessings and hugs— elainemariecooper (at) yahoo (dot) com

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    1. Elaine, my friend! So glad you dropped in and left a comment. I'm not nearly as prolific as I used to be, and that's why I'm glad I did so much of the actual writing when I HAD the energy. I still can't believe that I wrote Awakening in less than two weeks! And most of the other books in only a month or so each. But you know how it goes...you write a book in a week (theoretically) and then spend months editing! One of these days maybe I'll be able to devote more time to my passion of writing more full-time. Many blessings, my friend. You still have Jake and Julia... Sorry, I couldn't resist!!

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  18. Would love to be entered into the drawing for this contest. The book sounds wonderful.

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    1. Thanks so much, Juanita! I hope you get to read one of my books very soon and I'll be seeing you on Facebook of course. Many blessings to you.

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