I am thrilled to have as my special guest today, JoAnn Durgin. JoAnn and I met a number of years ago at a writers’ conference when we found ourselves standing next to each other in the conference choir. She is a delightful person, full of joy and the love of the Lord.
Thanks, Edwina. It’s good to be here!
Abide is the seventh book in your popular Lewis Legacy Series. Do you find it difficult to keep the momentum going in a long series?
Not at all, and I love writing each new book because they have all focused on a different couple (or couples in a few instances). Every story is unique and individual. One aspect I love about Abide is that it changes the direction a bit since it’s the story of the younger sister of Sam Lewis, the core character in the series. In that way, it keeps the series fresh and new readers won’t feel lost if they start with this particular book. I also wrote a prequel for the series, Prelude—the love story of the matriarch and patriarch of the Lewis family—and it can be read at any point in the series. So, Sarah and Sam Lewis, Sr. are now also featured in most of the remaining books. Readers love that sense of returning to a family they’ve grown to love—whether it’s Sam’s family or the TeamWork family of mission volunteers that he leads. Knowing they’ll return for a visit and get updates with old friends featured in previous books, as well as seeing the kids and various relationships growing and changing, also builds interest in the new books from the beginning. For the first time in Abide, readers also meet NASA shuttle commander, Will Lewis (his book, Pursuit, is up next in the series), as well as seminary student, Carson Lewis, the youngest member of the Lewis family (his story is the last in the series, Assurance).
I noted that you have a widower and single father as the hero in Abide. That was new for you, wasn’t it? Tell us a little about Caleb Reid.
Yes, and that was another way this book is different in the series. Caleb is a wealthy man who’s going through a very difficult time in his life due to kidnapping threats against his daughter, Lauren. Catherine “Caty” Lewis—as both Caleb’s trusted employee and love interest—demonstrates the kind of strong, unwavering faith he’s lost somewhere along the way. I absolutely loved writing the relationship between Caleb and his daughter. He feels as though he’s losing her, and I enjoyed their interactions very much, especially as Lauren and Caty grow to love one another, and as Caty and Caleb fall in love. During the course of the book, Caleb also deals with lingering issues after losing his young wife to breast cancer five years ago, and also long-ago issues with his absent father. He’s a man burdened by the past, and Caty’s love and strong faith help him regain his own faith in a loving heavenly Father.
Fun fact to know and tell: Caleb is an oil man, and I have one of those in my own family. Like Caleb, my uncle owns and operates many gas stations with convenience stores!
Tell us why you write the books you do and why readers unfamiliar with your books should give them a try.
One of my writing strengths is writing realistic but flawed characters, just as we all are. I write about main characters you’d like to call your friends. My books are easy to read but hold deep meaning below the surface. I love writing witty dialogue between my love interests and enjoy the word play leading up to a kiss and writing true romance into my books. Living in today’s world is hard enough, and I prefer to write books that hold humor and fun, but also contain poignant emotional situations where the use of Scripture can help my characters as well as the reader. I delve deep into my hero and heroine so that you feel they are real and that you truly know them and understand them. My books give hope to a hurting, weary world that can only be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and always—without fail—I give my readers a happy ending.
Can you share with us the “back cover copy” of Abide so we know what to expect?
Of course! Here it is:
Catherine “Caty” Lewis is thrilled to be home again with her family and friends. After working as a chief accountant for a multinational oil corporation in Dallas and then Lubbock the past five years, she’s been transferred to their new world headquarters in downtown Houston. Before she can even inhabit her new office, she schedules a private meeting with the reclusive founder and CEO. Someone in her division appears to be embezzling funds, and Caty prays she’s not the prime suspect.
After suffering a deeply personal loss, Caleb Reid is struggling to raise his precocious twelve-year-old daughter, Lauren, on his own. He moved to Houston for a fresh start and to escape the threats that have plagued him the past few years. Then quickly discovers he can’t outrun them.
When these two meet, romantic sparks fly. Caty stares down fear with the kind of strong faith Caleb has neglected along the way. Can he risk endangering Caty in his fight against an unseen threat? Have the walls he’s built around him and his daughter served to protect them or to keep others from getting too close to his heart?
Abide. An enduring love story between a man and a woman. A story of standing firmly on God’s promises, never giving into fear, and placing our trust in the One who is infinitely more capable.
In addition to Abide, JoAnn Durgin is the author of the six prior novels in 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 (included in the USA Today Bestselling anthology, Whispers of Love), Love So Amazing and Love So Divine (The Wondrous Love Series, Books 1 and 2), Echoes of Edinburgh, Perchance to Dream, 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.
JoAnn loves to hear from her readers! Please feel free to contact her:
Twitter: JoAnn Durgin@Gr8tReads