Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): JoAnn Durgin & The Valentine Verse

January 11, 2018 Author Interview, Christian, contemporary, giveaway, JoAnn Durgin, romance 45

As part of the Celebrate Lit blog tour for The Valentine Verse, please join me in welcoming JoAnn Durgin to the blog today!

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, Thee Will I Cherish, The Christmas Challenge, and the popular Starlight Christmas Series.

A former estate administration paralegal, JoAnn now writes contemporary Christian romance full-time and lives with her family in her native southern Indiana. Writing Christian fiction is her passion, and she loves nothing more than sharing the hope to be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

You can connect with JoAnn on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Her book, The Valentine Verse, released May 5, 2017!

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for February 14th anymore! Love should be celebrated every day of the year. That’s Thornton Fielding’s philosophy. In spite of a few false starts in the arena of love, he holds out hope he’ll eventually find the woman of his dreams. The problem? He loves his job, and there’s no end in sight to his travels. But when Thornton returns to his tiny hometown of Cherish, Minnesota, he meets a beautiful and intriguing woman he believes might be God’s answer to ending his bachelor status—permanently.

Vara Alexandris is soured on love and scoffs at the notion of soul mates. But soon after meeting the handsome and unconventional Thornton, the speech and language pathologist suspects he might be the perfect ally to help jump-start her stroke patient’s recovery—if only Vara can keep Thornton grounded in Cherish long enough. This man who spouts romanticized and idealistic ideas about love seems all too eager to resume his world travels. Could it be Thornton actually prefers globetrotting in order to avoid a romantic relationship?

Is it time for Vara to call the dreamer’s bluff? And can Thornton convince Vara to put past heartache behind her and trust in God’s plan for her heart?

Join Thornton and Vara in USA Today bestselling author JoAnn Durgin’s latest release full of her trademark humor, romance, and lively, small-town characters in a story of God’s fierce passion and loving guidance for His children—if only they pay attention! The Valentine Verse is sure to warm your soul during any season of the year.

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Read this book for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

Hi JoAnn! Welcome to the blog!

apples or oranges

JoAnn: I love both, but I’d say…apples. Why? One of my favorite desserts is warm apple pie with a delicious topping made from brown sugar and butter (and vanilla ice cream, of course)!

Carrie: Pardon me while I wipe away some drool because my mouth is watering!! 😀

winter or summer

JoAnn: Definitely summer overall because I don’t like colder temperatures (although I like snow!). However, the past few winters, we’ve taken a cruise (this past December to Hawaii). Okay, I realize I’m spoiled, but a vacation somewhere warm with beautiful scenery, palm trees, and a beach always makes winter so much more tolerable.

Carrie: I’m the exact opposite – a vacation somewhere cold with snow makes summer so much more tolerable 😉

dogs or cats

JoAnn: Dogs. I love their loyal, playful, friendly personality. We currently have a cat. Felines are easier in that you don’t have to take them outside in the winter, but our cat definitely has a diva personality.

Carrie: There’s something to be said for not having to walk a dog when there’s snow and ice going on but their friendship makes it worth it!

coffee or tea

JoAnn: I’ve always enjoyed a cup of coffee. The taste is much more robust and–especially doctored with French vanilla creamer and sweetener—it satisfies my sweet teeth. I don’t dislike tea, but I mainly only drink tea when I’m under the weather.

Carrie: Hot chocolate for me please!

Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?

JoAnn: To write a perfectly edited book the first time around. Impossible, right? You did say super 🙂 Most of my mistakes come from over-editing. Especially when I’m tired, it’s so easy to miss something. No human being is perfect, but I work hard at making my work as error-free as possible.

Carrie: That would be an awesome superpower to have!

Q: Who is your favorite book character from childhood?

JoAnn: I started reading a lot of nonfiction biographies of famous people in history. But one fictional character I adored was that titian-haired super-sleuth Nancy Drew. I still have all 50 hardback books I bought every week with my allowance PLUS The Nancy Drew Cookbook. I’ll never part with them!

Carrie: Nancy Drew is really just the best 🙂

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever googled while researching a book?

JoAnn: I’ve Googled many unusual subjects, but one of the oddest was for my upcoming book, Roundabout—animal husbandry. I’ve written about a NASA astronaut who leads a shuttle crew to the ISS. That took a lot of research, as you might imagine, but learning about breeding cattle and ranching has been every bit as challenging.

Carrie: I bet! It seems so complicated…

Q: Describe your main characters, and tell me who you would cast in their roles if Hollywood wanted to produce The Valentine Verse as a movie! 

JoAnn: Thornton is intelligent, funny, compassionate, but his globe-trotting work assignments also suit his somewhat solitary lifestyle. I could see Hollywood casting an actor like Chris Pine or Ryan Reynolds as Thornton (wearing really cool eyeglasses on occasion). Vara comes from a large, crazy, in-your-business family with lots of brothers and sisters who are helping her recover from a previous failed romance. I could see an exotic beauty with long dark hair playing Vara (she has Greek heritage). Mila Kunis immediately comes to mind. I put together a video for The Valentine Verse where you can see the two individuals I’ve actually chosen to “play” these two roles. It can be viewed on my website on the Books page for the book. 🙂

Carrie: I’m still drooling over Ryan Reynolds… just a sec…

Q: What surprised you about The Valentine Verse or your characters as you wrote their story? 

JoAnn: How these two similarly “together” professionals have quirks and insecurities the same as all of us. They do well enough on their own, but together, they’re a great couple who help one another see the best in themselves (and each other) with mutual encouragement, respect, and love.

Q: What do you most want readers to take away from The Valentine Verse?

JoAnn: Two themes in The Valentine Verse would be these:

FORGIVENESS. Based on several verses of Scripture, among them the following:

Matthew 6:14-15: For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Ephesians 4:32: Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

LOVE (in its many forms—family, romantic love, among believers, love for the lost and a desire to see them come to know the Savior). Again, based on several Scriptures, among them 1 John 4:7: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

Carrie: I love this … yes!

Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.

JoAnn: Thank you so much for hosting me on your wonderful blog! As mentioned above, Roundabout releases on January 23rd. It’s available for pre-order now on Amazon. This is the ninth installment of my long-running “signature” Lewis Legacy Series (tenth if you add the full-length prequel, actually written between the fifth and sixth books of the series). Considering the series is set primarily in Texas (although it moves around the world—and even the ISS!—as previously mentioned), I figured it was high time to write a book set partially in West Texas. The last few books have been about the siblings of the series core character, Sam Lewis. To keep the series fresh, this book brings a fairly new heroine to the forefront along with the handsome, rugged cowboy from her past who’s trying to win her back. {Insert sigh}. 🙂

Carrie: You had me at cowboy! 😉

To celebrate her tour, JoAnn is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Click here to view this promotion.
This giveaway is hosted by Celebrate Lit, not RimSP.
Follow along with the tour for more chances to win!

What about you? What interests you about this author or her book?


45 Responses to “Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): JoAnn Durgin & The Valentine Verse”

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Thanks, Karen! I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. Carrie always asks fun questions. 🙂 I appreciate the comment, and I hope you’ll have the opportunity to read The Valentine Verse or another one of my books soon. Blessings!

  1. Anne L. Rightler

    JoAnn had me at the winter vacation somewhere warm with beautiful scenery, palm trees, and a beach always makes winter so much more tolerable. Sorry, Carrie. I don’t like being cold! The Valentine Verse sounds like it should be on my TBR pile. Thank you for sharing about JoAnn and her books. May the Snow be with you! (And not me!)

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Hi Anne, and thanks! Yes, you and I certainly agree on preferring the warm weather, but Carrie, notice I DID say I like snow. 🙂 Thanks for the comment, and I hope you have the opportunity to read The Valentine Verse (or another of my books) soon! Blessings.

  2. Kay Garrett

    Thanks for the information on “The Valentine Verse” and the interview with JoAnn Durgin. Her reply to what she want readers to take away from The Valentine Verse has me hooked if nothing else.

    Love the storyline and would very much love to read the book.

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Hi Kay, and thanks for the comment. I appreciate your stopping by the blog! 🙂 I have a list of Scripture verses in the beginning of my books for readers to refer to if they’d like, and I weave Biblical concepts throughout all my stories. I hope you’ll have the opportunity to read Vara and Thornton’s story (or another of my books) one day soon. Blessings!

  3. James Robert

    I really like the eye catching cover and the interview as well. Thanks also for the great giveaway.

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Thank you so much, Rita! I hope you’ll have the opportunity to read The Valentine Verse or another of my books soon. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by the blog today. Blessings!

  4. MomIsReading

    I love the cover! With the hearts and the ribbons, it looks like a celebration of love.

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Hi MomIsReading! I’ve always loved this festive cover. I don’t always like to show “people” on the cover. Thanks for the comment, and The Valentine Verse IS a celebration of love! 🙂 I hope you’ll have the opportunity to read the book. Blessings!

  5. Dianne Casey

    I really enjoyed the interview and description of the book. Sounds like a great read.

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Hi Dianne, and thanks for the comment. I hope you’ll be able to read Thornton and Vara’s story in The Valentine Verse, or another one of my books, soon! Blessings.

  6. Penny Mooney

    Sounds like a good book. I can’t wait to read it. Thank you for the chance.

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Hi Penny, and thank you for visiting the blog! I appreciate the comment and hope you can read The Valentine Verse (or another one of my books) one day soon! Blessings.

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Thanks, Marilyn (a special name since it’s my mother’s name)! 🙂 I hope you’ll have the opportunity to read Vara and Thornton’s story. Blessings!

  7. Winnie Thomas

    Lovely interview by two lovely ladies! I’ve read some of JoAnn’s books and loved them, but I’m way behind on her latest ones. I really need to get crackin’ (as in reading as fast as Carrie can 😀 as if that will ever happen!) I love the red cover of The Valentine Verse and it sounds like a wonderful story.

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Hi Winnie! I love seeing your name for several reasons (my “Winnie” in my Lewis Series is in this upcoming book quite a bit). 🙂 I’m thankful you’ve enjoyed my books and thanks for the comment! Keep reading and hopefully you’ll get to read another one of mine soon. Blessings.

  8. Ann Ellison

    Wonderful interview with one of my favorite authors. I loved the book.

  9. Jocelyn

    Thanks for the interview. JoAnn is a new to me author, but it looks like she has a great book to offer.

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Hi Jocelyn, and thanks for the comment! I hope you have the opportunity to read The Valentine Verse or another of my books. Blessings!

  10. Connie Scruggs

    I agree with of JoAnn’s answers to the fast five, except I am a dog and cat mama. Vacationing somewhere warm sounds like a great way to spend the cold winter months. I always say that snow is winter’s only redeeming quality, because I love snow.

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Hi Connie, and I’m glad to read that we think alike in many respects. 🙂 Thanks for visiting the blog today and leaving a comment! I hope you are able to check out Vara and Thornton’s story or another of my books soon. Blessings!

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Hi Kara, and thanks so much for your comment! I appreciate your stopping by the blog, and I hope you’ll have the opportunity to read The Valentine Verse or another of my books soon! Blessings.

  11. Tammy Perez

    Loved the interview and the book, I’m actually reading it for the second time! I can so see Ryan Reynolds playing Thornton.

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Hi Tammy! I’m glad you agree with me about Ryan. He would have just the right amount of humor and a twinkle in his eye. And also romantic… Sigh. 🙂 Thanks for the comment and for reading the book a “second time around.” Blessings!!

  12. Amy

    “A vacation somewhere warm with beautiful scenery, palm trees, and a beach always makes winter so much more tolerable.” Preach, Sista, PREACH!! On this cold sleety day, my mind is drifting to somewhere warm and sunny. Really enjoyed the video for your book on your website. The characters you picked make me want to read this book NOW! 🙂

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Haha! Thanks so much for the comment, Amy! My husband and I have been going on a cruise in January or early February the past few years (and that actually figures into The Valentine Verse, but I’ve already said too much). 🙂 Thanks re: the video. I had a lot of fun putting it together, and I’m glad you enjoyed it! We’re getting that sleet with the potential of ice today, as well, so it’s a great day to download a book and wrap yourself in warmth. Blessings!

  13. Janice Moore

    I am so excited to learn about this book!!!I love reading about books with characters in my profession as a Speech-Language Pathologist! Thank you both very much!

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Hi Janice, and thanks for the comment! As a speech and language pathologist, I hope you will be able to read the book. Vara’s profession is the reason she comes to Cherish and meets Thornton, and it’s almost a “character” in itself in The Valentine Verse. I enjoyed researching the field (especially where it concerns a stroke patient), and I have all the respect in the world for those in your admirable profession. Blessings!

  14. Janice Moore

    Yes, I cannot wait to read your book! I feel like being a speech-language pathologist is a ministry, a way to help those who cannot speak for themselves (part of Proverbs 31:8-9),as well as to make a difference for our most vulnerable, from the youngest to the oldest. I appreciate that you took the time to do research and come up with such an engaging story!

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Very, very true, Janice, in that it is indeed a ministry! I believe you’d also appreciate the Bible verses in the beginning of the book (I always add them; more than one in most cases) as well as the scripturally-based themes woven into the “tapestry” of The Valentine Verse (a friend of mine termed it that way, and I loved it). There’s humor, romance, but also some drama, of course…lots of reasons to keep reading! Blessings, and thank you! 🙂 Come join me on FB on my personal page or my Author JoAnn Durgin page if you’d like!!

  15. Nicole

    It was fun getting to know you a bit more JoAnn. We visited NASA in Houston a few months ago which made me think of you. It also caused me to read Pursuit for the third time. I can’t wait to read Roundabout. As a new transplant to Texas, it will be even more fun. 😊

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Wow, Nicole! Pursuit for the third time! What an honor. Thank you for your readership of my books, and I appreciate your kind words. As I’m sure you know, I adore all things NASA, and writing that book, in particular, was a real labor of love. So much history! So much to learn! 🙂 If you haven’t read The Valentine Verse yet, and if you’re not aware, you’ll have glimpses (well, more than that of one of them) of Lewis men near the end of the novel. 🙂 Stay tuned for Roundabout, and please say hi to Texas for me. Blessings!

    • JoAnn Durgin

      Thanks, D.B.! I appreciate the comment (and I always help design my covers, so thank you for that, too). 🙂 I hope you’ll have the opportunity to read Vara and Thornton’s story in The Valentine Verse. Blessings!

  16. Natalya Lakhno

    Carrie, thank you for the interview!
    JoAnn is a very talented author!

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