Blog Archive

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Wedding Wishes: Author Interview with Joanne Durgin

How did you come up with the idea of your Christmas themed book?
Perchance to Dream is the culmination of my desire to write a bridal novella combined with a Christmas theme. A pivotal event in the book is something that has affected many of us. I wanted to give the Christian perspective and show what can happen when God’s people pray.

Starlight in Her Eyes is the fourth and final in my Starlight Christmas Series, published by Pelican Book Group/White Rose Publishing. The character of Colin Young, a cheeky Brit, was quite popular in last year’s installment of the series, Sleigh Ride Together with You, and readers wrote and asked for his story. I also love Colin so much that I knew I couldn’t finish the series without writing his story!

Could you give me a short synopsis on the story for my readers?
Perchance to Dream is the story of two kids, Ellie Franklin and Ryan Sullivan. They grew up together in a small Ohio town and this is their story. Five days before their long-anticipated wedding, an unforeseen event disrupts everything. Can Ellie trust in God’s promises and a true Christmas miracle?

Starlight in Her Eyes is the story of Colin Young, the new morning co-host of Wake Up, Philadelphia! Only one problem—the beautiful assistant assigned to help make his transition smoother doesn’t seem to like him much. Serena Monroe begins to see the cheeky Brit with a stellar personal reputation but lengthy history with women isn’t what she’s assumed. A Christmas trip to Starlight, Iowa,    

What made you decide to do a Christmas themed book?
I adore the inherent joy, hope, and love to be found in a Christmas book. Combined with the spiritual element…even better! Christmas books are good sellers, and who doesn’t love a happily-ever-after ending! Grab a blanket, snuggle in your chair, and sip a cup of something hot while reading a sweet story. What could be more inviting?

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?
Decorating the Christmas tree and the house, wrapping gifts, making cookies and pies… All those things we do within our own family to make special memories are so much fun. Christmas caroling and finding gifts for the Angel Tree are also favorites holiday activities.

What’s next? (future books, novellas, special appearances you want to mention)
Next up is Book 2 in The Wondrous Love Series, Love So Divine (Love So Amazing is the first). I’m aiming for a Valentine’s Day release for that book. Then it’s on to Book #7, Abide, in my long-running Lewis Legacy Series (the series that put me “on the map,” so to speak).

Any special awards or achievements you’d like to mention?
I entered a few contests early on but then decided my energies were better expended by writing my books. Most readers don’t realize that contests require a significant investment of time, effort, and money (entry fees and paperback books sent to judges). I finaled in a contemporary Christian romance contest for unpublished authors in the Faith, Hope & Love chapter of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) in 2010. By that time, I already had my first book contract. I love to encourage other authors and often volunteer to judge various contests.

Each new book I’ve “birthed” is uniquely special. I’ve reached #1 on Amazon any number of times, and that has been a thrill. I just don’t like to jump up and down and shout about my accomplishments. I prefer to celebrate quietly, keep writing, and give the glory to the Lord. He’s the source of my creative inspiration and the reason I write. My responsibility is to write the best book I can and then trust that the Lord will guide that book into the hands of those who need to read it. 

What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been given that you’d like to share?
One of the best tips I learned early on was this: always write a scene from the POV (point of view) of the character who has the most to lose. That makes the writing much more personal and intense. As a result, the scene will impact the reader and hold their interest.

What do you know now about writing and publishing you wish you had learned sooner?
Writing a book is only the first step. Effective marketing and advertising can be one of the most useful “tools” in an author’s career. You sometimes have to spend money in order to make money. My former publisher never ran specials on my books or advertised. Once he turned over the rights to my Lewis Legacy Series to me, I began to advertise and run specials (including free giveaways of thousands of the first book in the series—my debut novel, Awakening, as well as other books on occasion). By that time, I had five books in the series, and my sales too off to the point where I “transitioned” from my full-time paralegal job to that of a full-time author! The Lord has blessed me above and beyond what I could ever have expected.

Any last words or tips?
My best advice for authors is to always write. Like most things, the more you practice, the more proficient you will become. You’ll grow and evolve as a writer. I couldn’t do what I do without the Lord’s guiding hand on me, and my loyal, faithful readers make all the difference. Messages from readers telling me that one of my characters or books has affected them in a profound way are so encouraging and motivating! That l
ets me know I’m on the right path and following the Lord’s call for my life.

JoAnn would love to hear from her readers. Please feel free to contact her: