JoAnn Durgin is a USA Today bestselling author of more than 30 novels, including the bestselling Lewis Legacy Series. She was voted as one of the “35 Essential Christian Romance Authors” by readers of Family Fiction magazine in 2018. A former estate administration paralegal, JoAnn lives with her family in southern Indiana.
When do you find time to write?
JoAnn: I was able to transition from my paralegal position into writing full-time in August 2014. I trusted the Lord to provide for my needs, and I haven’t looked back since. You might find me in my pajamas at three in the afternoon on certain days. My days and nights can get mixed up at times, but my schedule is my own—and I love that! When a book is due, I’ve been known to stay up for 36 hours straight. As I write this in mid-September, I’m sitting on a deck near Myrtle Beach, S.C. (I can see Myrtle Beach farther down the shore). I’m finishing my next book and wondering if we’ll be forced to evacuate since Hurricane Florence is strengthening and headed in our direction. However, God always knows. No matter what happens, God is on His throne, and He will sustain!
How do you connect with your characters?
JoAnn: If I don’t understand my characters, then my readers most likely won’t connect with them. Among other aspects, I know their personal and professional background, relationship history, likes, dislikes, and personal quirks. I know what they look like inside and out. I know their heart condition and where they stand with the Lord. That helps me write them more realistically. To a certain degree, I call myself an armchair psychologist, which means I like to examine their underlying motivation for their decisions and actions. That helps me to develop a more well-rounded character and one the reader will hopefully want to get to know.
What is one of your favorite ways to connect with readers?
JoAnn: I am a very accessible author. I love my readers and understand they’re a huge part of my success. They invest the time and money in my books, and I consider that an honor. If they write to me, I write back. I mentioned I’m at a beach house right now…at the invitation of one of my dearest readers. In fact, I’ll be meeting a number of my readers before I return home. It’s such a thrill to finally meet these wonderful people face-to-face!
How do you ensure your books are accurate?
JoAnn: I do a ton of research in order to get my facts straight. There’s always the margin for error, but I do the best I can. If it’s a true life setting, I usually include a combination of real and fictional restaurants, parks, places, etc. I wrote a book about a NASA shuttle commander, Pursuit, the eighth book in my long-running signature Lewis Legacy Series. That book was in progress for several years and included trips to Johnson Space Center and Kennedy Space Center. I asked lots of questions, then I spent days researching the history of NASA and the former shuttle missions, including the two doomed missions. I found out the fun and interesting things as well as the more factual aspects of being a shuttle commander who leads a crew to the ISS. I thrive on the research and find it incredibly energizing (and try to present it in an interesting way with humor!).
Current book: Thee Will I Honor, Treasured Vow Series, Book 2
Wounded Army veteran Matthew Martin seeks a renewed purpose. Lesley Ann Randall is on a personal mission. Will they find more than they ever imagined?