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?
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!
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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