Monday, January 24, 2011

Giveaway and Author Interview: Awakening

Welcome to Writing for Christ, it is great to have you here! Do you have an interesting fact about yourself the average reader probably doesn’t know?

My recently released book, Awakening, is loosely based on my love story with my husband, Jim. Like my core characters, Sam Lewis and Lexa Clarke (yes, Lewis and Clarke), Jim and I met and fell in love in Texas (even though he’s from Rhode Island and I’m from Indiana). A lot of the strength of character, unwavering faith and goodness in Sam is Jim, and a lot of the stubbornness in Lexa is based on yours truly. But I like to think I also share Lexa’s resilience and resourcefulness. My  website at (www.joanndurgin.com) also features lots of “Fun Facts to Know and Tell” about my life – I hope you’ll check it out!

What surprised you the most about being a published author?

Writers work so hard to get that first book contact, but publication is only the first step. Then comes . . . marketing (blogs, interviews, e-mails, phone calls, speaking engagements, book signings). But, I’m certainly not complaining! Unlike a lot of writers, I’m a born extrovert. My book is the third release from new, Canadian Christian romance publisher, Torn Veil Books. You won’t find Awakening in Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club or your local Christian bookstore, and I need to work more diligently to promote it and get the word out. I always said I missed my “calling” in my day job and that I should be in marketing, but the Lord knew the best marketing job for me – my own characters and books! He hasn’t steered me wrong yet, and has led me every step of the way. It’s been a fascinating journey, and I’m so thankful for it all.

Do you have a favorite genre to read/write?

God first loved us, and gave us the ability to love. It’s one of His greatest gifts and our greatest joys. I adore reading romance – any time period. Is anything sweeter than the first blush of love? I enjoy historical romances, but I simply don’t have the time required for the research in order to write one. I crave romances with subplots and more than the romance going on. That’s what I bring to readers with Awakening. It features a number of different elements, although the romance between Sam and Lexa is center stage. I don’t adhere to the “three kiss” rule or a formula romance where characters form a relationship, then eventually break up due to an external or internal conflict only to get together in the end with a kiss, vow undying love and then sail off into the sunset. I believe working through life’s challenges together is a greater test of love and faith and builds a more solid foundation to form a lasting bond. While I love drama – and, of course, my characters face roadblocks along the way – I also infuse humor into my stories. Christians can laugh, too, and there’s enough drama and angst in life. I love the adventure and mystery angles in Awakening. It’s a great book for those times when you want to curl up and simply escape for a few hours. And, since it’s the beginning of a series, the adventures of Lewis and Clarke have only just begun!

When you aren’t writing or interacting with fans, what do you enjoy doing?

I love spending time with Jim and our three kids, and I am so blessed to have their support in my writing career. I enjoy reading (especially with my new Kindle) and relaxing (even a cherished nap here and there!). The past year has been unique in that I have rarely cooked, seen a movie, cross-stitched or traveled – all things I love to do. It’s been all about the writing. My spare time is limited since I work full-time as a wealth administration paralegal and also work as a part-time floor manager at a performing arts center. The latter feeds my “bossy” gene since I run around with a headset and supervise others, but with 400 superlative volunteers, I have a supportive “audience” for my books, and it gives me great public speaking experience. Again, it’s a case where I believe the Lord has facilitated my writing pursuits by placing me in a position which lends experience for the skills needed to be a public speaker. It’s fun, and the “perks” are nice, too. I recently met Michael W. Smith when he was in concert and slipped him my card for Awakening. When the Lord gives you opportunities, you step up to the plate!

Do you have a nugget of writing advice that has completely changed how you view writing?

If you’re passionate about your characters and their stories, they’ll become real and jump off the page and into the hearts and minds of the reader. Infuse them with endearing character quirks, backgrounds, habits, and flaws that make them unique. The second part of that equation – don’t worry about following the so-called “rules,” and go with your heart. Write what you love to read, and most importantly, write the story the Lord gives you. Then be patient because publishing can be a slow business. Keep writing, keep working, keep praying . . .  In turn, He’ll honor your faithfulness by opening the necessary doors to get your book in the hands of those readers who most need to read it. What an awesome responsibility and privilege we have as Christian authors!

What do you enjoy most about being a published author?

I love that I’m leaving a written legacy of faith for my children, and their children-to-be. Even if the Lord chooses to take me home today, my family will have a lasting testament of the Lord’s great faithfulness in my life. Being a published author is new for me since Awakening was published in late November 2010. Holding the book in my hands for the first time was truly the culmination of a lifetime of dreams, hopes and prayers. Having my mother and aunt read and enjoy the book is a personal thrill, as well. In time, I’ll adore interacting with readers who hopefully will come to love Sam and Lexa and their TeamWork crew as much as I do. I received my first book review today on Amazon (five stars!) from someone I don’t know, and that was very gratifying. To God be the glory!

What do you like readers to take away from your books?

It’s my prayer that readers will find at least one character in my books to whom they can connect, and that they might discover a personal spiritual truth to carry with them. Sam and Lexa, and all my main characters, strive to live godly lives. But, being human, they often stumble and sometimes fall. It’s how they react to life’s stress and situations that sets them apart. The hope we have in Christ and the gift of His grace are major themes in my books. Ideally, I’d like for a reader to reach the end of Awakening (and all my books), sigh, and say, “Now, that was a good book!” And then recommend it to others. As I’ve mentioned before, the Lord knows who needs to read my books, and for what purpose. He’s my partner in this endeavor – in every way.

Places for readers to learn more about you?

Please visit me at www.joanndurgin.com and leave a comment, or send me a message on Facebook. I would love to hear from you! Starting this month, I’ll also be a regular blogger on Reflections in Hindsight.
Thank you for being with us today!
It’s been my great honor and privilege. Thank you, and may the Lord bless each of you in 2011!

Okay readers, here is your chance to enter to win JoAnn's book.
Please leave an email address. If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win!

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on February 4th.


You can purchase JoAnn's book on: http://www.amazon.com/ and http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ in both print and ebook format.


Contest Now Closed

71 comments:

  1. JoAnn, I completely agree on being passionate about your characters. Remember that plot I dumped? I had no passion for it, but I'm living the new plot. My characters are alive and well in my heart, and I know it'll come across in my writing. It makes all the difference!

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  2. This sounds like a book I would really enjoy! Please enter me.
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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  3. I am a follower.
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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  4. I would like to be entered, please.

    I am a follower.

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  5. pretty rose on cover. I love roses. this is new author to me. I love romances. I'd love to win this book thanks.

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  6. gfc follower

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  7. email subscriber

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  8. Thanks everyone, and April, I'm so happy for you. Keep those characters alive in your heart and they WILL come alive for your readers! Apple Blossom, the yellow rose symbolizes friendship and so much more in the book - Texas, it's "awakening" and not in full bloom, and yellow roses figure prominently into my movie-quality ending! Nice to "see" you here today, everyone. Blessings!

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  9. This book sounds really good. Would enjoy reading it. Thanks for the giveaway.
    plhouston(at)bellsouth(dot)net

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  10. A rose and a romance? Count me in :D

    I'm a follower, and a subscriber.

    pinkdaddysgirl[at]msn[dot]com

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  11. "Awakening" sounds like a very good book. The cover is lovely.
    I am a subscriber.
    Thanks for the interview; it is interesting to "meet" new authors and learn about their books.


    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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  12. Good luck on your new release JoAnn. I like hearing about new publishers too. Do they only publish Canadian authors?

    I'd love to win a copy of your book. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Joy GLee G @aol. com

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  13. Thanks again, everyone, and especially the lovely Casey for hosting my guest blog today. I appreciate the kind comments, and will promptly send out the book to the winner of Awakening when the time comes.

    Joy, I live in southern Indiana (stress the southern part). I am not Canadian by birth nor have I ever lived there (only visited). Awakening is the third book Torn Veil has published under that imprint. They like books that are different, and especially appreciated that Awakening doesn't always follow the more standard, "normal" plotline more of a formula romance. There are lots of twists and turns and enough adventure to hopefully keep you turning those pages. Blessings!

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  14. That was me (sheepish grin - JoAnn) in tha last comment, but somehow it published my comment without my name. Interesting. It's still early here (yawn). Let's try this again, if my fingers and the computer will cooperate! Blessings.

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  15. JoAnn you are one busy lady! I would love to meet Michael W Smith! How wonderful!! Awakening sounds great, and did you pick the cover? Love yellow roses!


    alekee02[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  16. I am an email subscriber.


    alekee02[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  17. I subscribe by GFC


    alekee02[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  18. Hi, Maureen. SIGH. I'm too busy right now, I fear. But somehow I keep going, and the Lord sustains. Thanks for your kind comments. Yes, I worked with a graphic designer on the cover, and he suggested clean lines and a "symbol" for the book. Torn Veil loved it. For Awakening, it was no question that was the yellow rose to represent friendship and love, the great Lone Star State of Texas, the rose is "awakening" as opposed to being in full bloom, and they figure prominently into my grand finale in a very sweet, special way, I believe. Plus, Sam experiences an emotional awakening and Lexa a spiritual awakening. I love these characters, and I pray most of you will be able to read my story and fall in love with them, too. The publisher is reviewing the second book in the series now, so I'd appreciate your prayers! Blessings for a great day.

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  19. Please enter me in the giveaway!
    Thank you!
    Lisa Nelson
    storyreader617 @ gmail.com

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  20. This sounds like a great book that I would like to read. Please enter me.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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  21. This sounds like a great book that I would like to read. Please enter me.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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  22. This book soundsvery interesting. Would love to win a copy!
    atouchofheaven2010[at]gmail[dot]com
    Mary B.

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  23. I'm a subscriber!
    atouchofheaven2010[at]gmail[dot]com
    Mary B.

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  24. I'm also a google folllower!
    atouchofheaven2010[at]gmail[dot]com
    Mary B.

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  25. Sounds like you've used every snag in a relationship there is! Sounds great.

    EXTRA:
    I'm an email subscriber.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

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  26. I am a follower and email subscriber. Please enter me in contest. Sound like a really good book I would love to read. Tore923@aol.com

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  27. I would love to win this book! It sounds wonderful!
    As one who is about to step out in faith and begin writing my first novel (for kids), this interview was very encouraging!

    Thanks you,
    Christina
    I am a subcriber and a follower.
    email: hohmann@netzero.net

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  28. I'm encouraged by all the wonderful comments. Thanks so much to all of you! I wish I could gift all of you with a copy of the book. If you have a Kindle or a Nook, keep in mind it's only $5.99 and at almost 111,000 words, that's a lot of story for a great price! Yes, I'm in my SMP (Shameless Marketing Phase) now, but I believe it's promoting God's stories He's laid on my heart. All your wonderful comments are good for my heart and keeps me warm on a cold winter's day.

    In reference to Ronie Kendig's wonderful new book (and Casey's comments about the hero being a hunk and quite a man), I have to say that Sam Lewis in Awakening is tall, with deep smile lines, thick wavy hair, piercing blue eyes and a deep, Texas drawl. But he's more than that - he's sensitive, kind, grumpy sometimes (I LOVE him grumpy), confident yet humble. He's a man after God's heart, but he learns a few lessons from Lexa Clarke. You gotta love him!

    Christina, I'm glad this was encouraging to you. I aim to encourage new writers. Step out in faith and write your book! Blessings to you all!

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  29. Thanks for the interview. I like her advice on writing.
    tressa dot sherman at hotmail dot com

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  30. GFC follower.
    tressa dot sherman at hotmail dot com

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  31. Email subscriber.
    tressa dot sherman at hotmail dot com

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  32. Gorgeous cover and I'm sure it will be a great book to read. I'd love to win!

    I'm a follower and
    I'm a subscriber.

    Doreen
    priviesandprims at yahoo dot com

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  33. This book sounds WONDERFUL! I love that the author based this book after her own love story. How fun!

    leanniegehrke(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  34. I am a follower.

    leanniegehrke(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  35. I am an e-mail subscriber.

    leanniegehrke(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  36. thanks for the chance to read this book...

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  37. i' a follower :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  38. email subscriber :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  39. Please enter me in the contest!

    dancealert at aol dot com

    Whoops - forgot, I'm a subscriber

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  40. I am one of the Torn Veil authors JoAnn mentioned, and am currently enjoying reading this novel. Sam and Lexa are both such appealing characters, and their budding relationship makes me want to read faster and experience their deepening love for each other. Thanks to JoAnn for giving me some great hours of enjoyment.

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  41. Thanks, Erin. I would encourage all of you to check out Erin's wonderful books, as well. She's a great storyteller with a heart for the Lord, and her well-drawn characters are guaranteed to stay with you forever.

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  42. Sounds like a good book. Thank you!
    lgm52@hotmail.com

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  43. I follow via gfc (lgm52)
    lgm52@hotmail.com

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  44. I'm an email subscriber
    lgm52@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  45. This sounds like a great read. Count me in!
    ruthaw_1974@yahoo.com

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  46. gfc follower
    ruthaw_1974@yahoo.com

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  47. Sounds really good...count me in!
    lgm52@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  48. I'm a follower via gfc (lgm52)
    lgm52@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  49. subscribe via email
    lgm52@hotmail.com

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  50. Please enter me!

    Carman sent me. :)

    photographer4ever832[at]gmail[dot]com

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  51. Thank you for your wonderful review.

    I would love to read this book.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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  52. JoAnn, I'm happy that you are so passionate about your characters, it usually makes a story much better! Good luck on promotion!

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

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  53. GFC follower

    Oh, Carman sent me!

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  54. Email subscriber.

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  55. Carman sent me

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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  56. Awakening sounds wonderful and I love the yellow rose on the cover. Okay, I just plain love yellow roses! :o) Would love to win a copy!

    Smiles,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  57. I am a GFC follower!

    Smiles,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  58. I am an email subscriber.

    Smiles,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  59. Looks like a great book!! Thanks for the giveaway!

    Loveangel132@yahoo.com

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  60. Thanks again, everyone, for the great comments and for entering the giveaway. You sure know how to brighten my day! I truly wish you could all win the book. Any more questions, feel free to ask as I check this blog frequently.

    Blessings for a great weekend!

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  61. This book sounds great. I'd love to win it!
    nancy@kennethssales.com

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  62. I'm new, please enter me in your book giveaway!

    Thanks,
    Glenda
    gka444 at gmail dot com

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  63. Sounds great. Count me in, please joleehamlin [at] comcast [dot] net

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  64. follow you on gfc joleehamlin [at] comcast [dot] net

    ReplyDelete
  65. I would love to read this book.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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  66. A great interview!
    Please enter me into the drawing.
    Thank you for the chance.
    wdesirees[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  67. I am a follower too.
    wdesirees[at]yahoo[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  68. I am also subscribed by email.
    wdesirees[at]yahoo[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  69. Sounds like a great read. Carmin sent me.

    true_sheila at yahoo dot com

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  70. Please enter me in the contest. I would love to read Awakening. Thanks for the chance to win.
    Debbie

    debbiemcla[at]msn[dot]com

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  71. THe cover is lovely. I am from Texas and the yellow rose is my favorite of all roses. I came over from "enjoyingthewritingcraft.blogspot.com. Would love reading the book and doing a review for you. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to enter your contest.

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Thank you so much for stopping by, I love to hear from those who traffic my blog! Have a wonderful day. :)

FTC Rules

According to new FTC rules I must let you, the reader know, that all views shared on this blog are strictly my own. Books to review are either provided for me by the author, publisher or ones I have purchased and I am under no obligation whatsoever to present anything, but my true opinion on any product. I receive no monetary compensation for anything written on this blog. Any giveaways on this blog are provided by the author/ publisher and I am not responsible for any views they express in their work or on this site. Giveaways are void were prohibited and chances of winnng are based on the number of applicants. A random winner is draw when a book is given away.

 
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