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We are in for a treat today! Julianna Desmond may be a new name to you, but JoAnn Durgin may be a bit more familiar… JoAnn recently released Only a Heartbeat Away under the pen name of Julianna Desmond. She has not only agreed to visit today, but she’s also offering to give away FIVE copies of the story! Before we visit, let’s take a quick peek at the story.
Georgia Adler might be from a small town near Atlanta, but don’t call her a peach! Before the release of her debut novel, a top literary critic reviews her book as a “contemporary masterpiece of epic proportions.” As a result, Georgia is named one of America’s most promising new authors. When her agent sends out a press kit with her photo—which Georgia expressly instructed her not to include—magazine editors and talk show promoters across the country clamor for her attention.
Against her better judgment, Georgia reluctantly grants a few interviews, and a whirlwind publicity tour begins. After the first few press stops, the frustrated young novelist regrets the lack of privacy and not writing under a pen name. Instead of happily writing at home in her jeans and a T-shirt, she’s all dolled-up and being promoted as something she’s not. Why did things have to get so complicated?
Grayson Chambers walks into a tempest when he visits his best friend Nick’s editorial office in Manhattan. He’d only planned on lunch, but a new female novelist who’s taking the literary world by storm is being interviewed, and the magazine’s photographer is in desperate need of an immediate replacement for the ailing male model. Swallowing his misgivings, Gray steps in after Nick begs him to model professionally one last time. He’ll be paid extremely well for a short period of time in front of the cameras, so what could be the harm? He can tolerate working with a demanding, beautiful diva for a few hours if it’ll give him the opportunity to publicize his new foundation to thousands of people. It’s a win-win situation.
When Georgia meets the devastatingly handsome Grayson, she begins to question the very crux of her novel. And Grayson has to wonder if the basis for his foundation is a huge mistake. Is this a “chance” meeting between them or a way for God to reveal His own plans for their lives individually or perhaps even…together?
Welcome, JoAnn! Let’s start with five fast favorites. What is your:
Favorite color? Blue, because I love every single shade. There’s not an ugly one in the bunch.
Agreed! Favorite season? Spring. Not too hot, not too cold. The first sighting of a daffodil thrills my heart, and the season embodies the concepts of renewal, rebirth, and the resurrection. Fall runs a close second.
Favorite writing snack? Fresh fruit, usually red or green seedless grapes. Popcorn is a favorite, too, but I’ll confess to loving the movie theater butter variety (i.e., not healthy).
Favorite movie? The Sound of Music is my all-time favorite. Romance, history, music, a plucky heroine, a handsome military hero, gorgeous European scenery, children, laughter, dancing. Really, what more could you ever possibly need?
Favorite ice cream flavor? I have always adored raspberry sherbet, but lately I’ve gravitated to strawberry ice cream. The good stuff with real strawberries. So rich, delicious, and satisfying!
Tell us a little about Only a Heartbeat Away. What inspired you to write this series or this story in particular?
After 25 novels (both traditionally and independently published), I decided to try something new and exciting. Let me preface my remarks by saying this: On my Facebook author page, I post a daily meme with a verse of Scripture or a quote. While searching for photos to use in the memes, I discovered lots of photos of pretty girls in absolutely gorgeous gowns. Many of the photos grabbed my attention and seemed to tell a story. Only A Heartbeat Away was inspired by such a photo. I chose a fun pen name using my same initials and then designed the cover (another first for me). I incorporated many details from the cover photo into the story—the gown, the setting, the pose, and even her makeup and accessories. I announced this series to my faithful readers, so they’re aware, and I even inserted a “clue” in the book linking it to my longest-running series, The Lewis Legacy Series. As currently planned, this will be a series of non-related short novels (approximately 150-200 pages each) with a common theme of Only A _____ Away. A whisper away, a breath, a kiss… The possibilities are endless! NOTE: The book is 99 cents right now, but the price will be going up this coming week.
What a fun idea! Do you have a favorite character from this story? Why is this character your favorite?
In this particular book, if I had to, I’d say the heroine, Georgia Adler, is my favorite (but with the hero, Grayson Chambers, right beside her). Georgia is feisty, fun, creative, intelligent, and she speaks her mind. She’s also a beginning novelist with understandable insecurities and vulnerabilities. Grayson is the perfect calming influence Georgia needs (even though she doesn’t realize it at first, of course). A gentleman and a man redeemed, he’s also protective and respectful of Georgia. What more could you want in a hero? I adore this man! These two challenge one another and share a strong chemistry as they try to figure out how to make a long-distance relationship work.
We’d love to know a little more about you, too. Do you have a favorite or “life” verse? Why is that one important to you?
Matthew 5:16: Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (NASB) I have many favorite Scripture verses, but this is my theme verse in my personal life as well as for my writing ministry. I sign my emails with this verse and also add it below the signature line in my books. Especially in this increasingly dark world, we are called to be a shining light—prayerful, loving, supportive, encouraging, hopeful, and willing to share our faith in a way that brings glory to the Lord while not being judgmental or condemning of others. As I’m typing this, I’m listening to Danny Gokey’s inspiring song, “Shine”—“Breaking the dark, piercing the night…You were made to rise! Bringing the world a radiant light.” Amen!
I love that reminder. Everything we do ought to be to bring Him glory! What is your favorite part of the writing/editing/publishing process?
I’m extremely passionate about the process of writing. Actually, it’s more the creativity involved. Let me explain. I’m considered a seat of the pants writer. Meaning I don’t follow a strict plot outline. I might have scenes and events in my mind, but there’s nothing more challenging and exciting than sitting in front of the computer and discovering where the Lord and my imagination will lead.
I pray every time I sit in my chair to write. I ask the Lord to guide my thoughts, words, characters, and their stories. I pray that He will clearly convey the message He wants me to impart. I especially love publishing independently now because I can write my books the way He leads—realistic but flawed characters trying to live godly lives in spite of their human imperfections. He hasn’t steered me wrong yet!
His ways are always best, aren’t they? Thanks for taking the time to visit with us today, JoAnn!
Thank you for hosting me on your fabulous blog today, Sarah! Blessings.
Your turn! Let’s talk about book covers today. What catches your eye on a book cover, or specifically this cover? Or do you not judge a book by its cover? (I must confess, I do…)
More about JoAnn:
USA Today Bestselling Author JoAnn Durgin is the 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, The Christmas Challenge, and the popular Starlight Christmas Series. A former estate administration paralegal, JoAnn lives in southern Indiana.
You can connect with JoAnn online:
JoAnn Durgin website: https://joanndurgin.com/
Author JoAnn Durgin on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjoanndurgin/
As Author Julianna Desmond on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJuliannaDesmond/
Also by JoAnn:
Only a Heartbeat Away Giveaway:
JoAnn has generously offered to give away FIVE copies of Only a Heartbeat Away! Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.