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Today’s featured author is a super sweet lady who I met in my early reader reviewer days through the wonderfully fun Inspy Romance authors’ group blog
Great place to get to know new-to-you authors, reader friends! I’m just saying!
About the Author
In addition to The Christmas Challenge and A Serendipity Christmas, JoAnn Durgin is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the beloved Lewis Legacy Series as well as Prelude, the prequel to the series. Her other works include the Amazon bestselling Catching Serenity, Heart’s Design and its sequel, Gentle Like the Rain, The Wondrous Love Series, Echoes of Edinburgh, Perchance to Dream, Whisper to My Heart, The Valentine Verse, Thee Will I Cherish, and the popular Starlight Christmas Series.
A former estate administration paralegal, JoAnn now writes contemporary Christian romance full-time. After living in Texas, California, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, JoAnn now lives with her family in her native southern Indiana. Writing Christian fiction is her passion, and JoAnn loves nothing more than sharing the hope to be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Favorite childhood book
JoAnn: Nancy Drew, hands down! I was literally one of those little girls nestled under the sheets with a flashlight to finish “just one more chapter.” I used my weekly allowance to buy three new hardback Nancy Drew mysteries.
I’ve paid homage to the titian-haired sleuth in a few of my books, and as a matter of fact, Nancy’s longstanding boyfriend, Ned Nickerson, gets a mention in A Serendipity Christmas!
As does Louisa May Alcott (I loved Little Women, as well). When we lived in Massachusetts, I worked in Concord and drove past Louisa’s childhood home on my way to the law office every morning. That was such a treat!
Beth: I never really got into the mysteries with the exception of a few Boxcar Children stories but I definitely love Little Women!
JoAnn: Here’s an example from A Serendipity Christmas. Henry is the American-born son of native English parents. He grew up speaking with a proper English accent, the “Queen’s English” (similar to Hugh Grant and Colin Firth). Henry uses words/expressions like daresay, as such, perhaps, and he also uses an abundance of adverbs, typical of many Brits (or so I’ve found).
The book is current day, and Henry mentions that Prince Harry was recently betrothed. To which Victoria (Tori), the heroine, makes the observation that betrothed is such an elegant word as compared to engaged. It really is, isn’t it?
Beth: I could listen to a posh British accent all day long! They talk fancy and I like it 😉
Favorite time to read and write
JoAnn: When I’m my most creative seems to be in the middle of the night/early morning hours. Inspiration just seems to flow when the house is quiet without the distractions of the daily hustle and bustle. However, I’m learning that’s not the best time to edit.
Another downside of those overnight sessions is that my schedule is thrown into a tizzy, and my body and sleeping patterns are thrown totally out of whack. In finishing up A Serendipity Christmas, for instance, I pulled three all-nighters and then a 36-hour straight marathon! That’s not uncommon, and it seems to be “the way I roll.”
It seems to work, oddly enough. And I don’t care what time I hit the bed, even after said 36-hour stretch, I still crawled into bed with my Kindle! I have to read something, even if it’s only a paragraph or two, before I fall asleep. God definitely knew what He was doing when my husband, Jim, started working overnight hours after we moved back to my native Indiana (after being a pastor for many years in other states).
Beth: Oh, I hear ya! I have yet to pull a genuine all nighter but I did make it to 4:00 a.m. to turn around and get up at 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. on a couple of occasions. I don’t know if I’m alone in this but not getting enough sleep makes my face hot until I’m able to get fully rested. 😊
Favorite book quote
JoAnn: I’ll use a quote from Charles Dickens that I used in A Serendipity Christmas. Dickens said,
“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.”
Good advice, no? That’s from his work entitled Hard Times. In a way, Dickens more or less played a minor “role” in this book. I recently saw the movie, The Man Who Invented Christmas, about the writing of A Christmas Carol from the author’s perspective, and it was absolutely wonderful (and relatable)!
Beth: Great quote! Hello, Mr. Dan Stevens!
Favorite holiday tradition
JoAnn: If you’ll indulge me, and since we are featuring my latest Christmas book for this blog post—A Serendipity Christmas is the follow-up book to 2016’s The Christmas Challenge.
Whereas the first book focused heavily on events in a community-wide charity event, this book focuses on other things but does feature The Snowflake Plunge (jumping in the freezing Schuylkill River in Philadelphia) as well as a momentous snowmobile race.
The funds raised from The Christmas Challenge in this second book of the series are all to be donated to the continuing hurricane relief efforts following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. So, this particular book is very up-to-date in terms of current events.
Beth: Those sound like some creative fundraisers, JoAnn!
Tell us about your latest release
JoAnn: A Serendipity Christmas has humorous moments, but it’s also a full-length novel that digs deep into the main characters’ individual stories in addition to exploring their developing relationship with one another.
We all have issues stemming from our past, and Henry stumbles over the issue of forgiveness toward a close family member for something hurtful in his childhood. However, in the course of the book’s events, Henry gains new insights and eventually comes to a personal epiphany. I have to admit, even as the author, I can very much appreciate what happens as a result!
Beth: Good for Henry! I’m intrigued!
The holiday season has rolled around once again, and the townspeople of quaint Serendipity, Pennsylvania, are preparing for their annual Christmas Challenge. This year, the funds raised from the various events and activities will benefit the continuing relief efforts in the aftermath of a brutal hurricane season.
Victoria (Tori) Harper agrees to participate in the more physically demanding sporting events of The Christmas Challenge alongside her brother and new father, Donovan, on behalf of his HarperMorgan Advertising Agency. But why has Donovan allowed the insufferable and irritatingly appealing Henry Adams to join their team? The man seems determined to drive her to distraction, but Tori’s not about to fall under the charms of another handsome man with a smooth line, even delivered with Henry’s smooth-as-silk British accent.
As the youngest attorney in town, Henry has grown to love little Serendipity, and especially his verbal sparring sessions with Victoria Harper in The Coffee Nook and elsewhere around town. She might call him a Snooty Scrooge, but he’s determined to win her heart. If he can’t win that personal challenge by the end of the holiday season, he might as well move on and accept a tempting job offer from a New York law firm.
Join Henry as he seeks to win Tori’s love, and as they are both reminded of how God is always faithful in His promises. A Serendipity Christmas is a novel celebrating the very best of the holiday season—love, faith, family, small-town charm, and the true miracles of the Christmas season.
note: A Serendipity Christmas isn’t yet available at Book Depository or Christianbook, however, some of JoAnn’s other titles are available
Beth: Persistent fella! I like it!
Tell us about your next release
JoAnn: I’m currently working hard on Roundabout, Lewis Legacy Series 9, due to be released on January 23, 2018. The Lewis Legacy Series is my “signature” series, and it’s certainly my longest-running series.
My husband and I are taking a 30th anniversary trip to Hawaii this month, and even though I won’t be chained to my laptop, I will be working on the story while I’m there. I can’t go a day without writing or editing, it seems, but I love it.
Beth: I love long series, what an accomplishment! Congratulations on your anniversary (my hubby and I are halfway there) and enjoy Hawaii!!! Thank you so much for sharing your favorites and bookish news, JoAnn!
JoAnn has generously offered to provide MULTIPLE Faithfully Bookish readers with an ebook copy of A Serendipity Christmas! Tell your friends!
Say hi to JoAnn and let’s chat about our favorites and her books!