Friday, July 15, 2011

My Journey to Publication by JoAnn Durgin

Fortifying Fridays at Seriously Write are devoted to giving authors opportunities to share their paths to publication and at the same time, encourage other writers in their own journeys. God loves and has a special plan for each of us. No story is identical, but we can relate to things that other writers experience. Our guest today is author JoAnn Durgin. She shares how God opened doors for her to publish her debut novel when the time was just right.

My Journey to Publication
by JoAnn Durgin

I’m probably one of the few authors published with only an e-mail query followed by the manuscript. No detailed synopsis, no sample chapters, not even an outline. Unbelievable, right? That was back in January 2009, and on May 1, 2010, I received my first contract. However, please know my journey to publication did take more than a decade. After my early attempts at writing novels garnered a bit of attention from a publisher and several literary agents, I set aside my manuscripts. But I never lost the passion. Why? I knew it wasn’t my time. It was time to raise our three children.

In November 2008, I dug out my old manuscripts from under the bed and blew off the dust bunnies. The last stand-alone novel I wrote, Awakening, was a contemporary romantic adventure set in San Antonio featuring a man named Sam Lewis and a woman named Lexa Clarke. I could only find the second half of it. I read it with fresh eyes and told my husband, Jim (the inspiration for the character of Sam), “This is the one, the story I feel the Lord wants me to try and publish.” I envisioned a series based on the characters and my fictional TeamWork Missions organization. Loosely-based on my love story with Jim, Awakening is the book of my heart. A lot of the strength of character, unwavering faith and goodness in Sam is based on Jim. Some of the feistiness and stubbornness in Lexa Clarke is based on yours truly, but also her resourcefulness and resilience. We finally went to our knees and asked the Lord – if it was in His will – to give my story back to me. Not only did He give it back to me in a dramatic way, but He confirmed it was “the one.” If you’d like to read more, please visit my website at Wave to the armadillo!

My best advice to aspiring authors is to first pray and commit your words, and your story, to the Lord. He’s your partner and co-author. And then, simply write your passion. If you love your characters, your story will shine, and those characters will jump from the pages of your book into the hearts of your readers. If you’re persistent, and keep your focus on sharing the stories the Lord has given you to share, He’ll open the doors of His choosing, in His timing. You have a story to share, and He wants you to share it! It’s such a blessing to witness the marvelous ways He’s working to get Awakening in the hands of His choosing. It might not be the most literary, well-written or well-edited book on the market, but it has heart and shows the love of Christ through my all-too-human characters. Readers are responding, and it’s a true honor and blessing to be able to answer this unique calling.

Thank you for inviting me to share with you today! Blessings, my friends. Matthew 5:16

A full-time estate administration paralegal, JoAnn Durgin lives in southern Indiana (near Louisville, Kentucky) with her husband, Jim, and their three children. She is a member of the ACFW, the Indiana ACFW, and the Romance Writers of America. Her debut novel, Awakening, released in November 2010 and has reached the Top-Rated lists in several categories on Amazon. The second installment in her series, Second Time Around, releases on or before September 1, 2011. She was a finalist in the long contemporary romance category of the 2010 RWA/FHL Touched by Love contest, and is a regular blog contributor with Reflections in Hindsight and Hoosier Ink.

To find out more about JoAnn, please visit:
Her author site at 

Reflections in Hindsight (every other Wednesday)

Hoosier Ink (third Monday of every month)


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me today on your wonderful blog, Dawn. Blessings, and happy Friday!

  2. Our pleasure, JoAnn! I loved hearing your story and appreciated the encouragement offered. It's so important to remember that we need to let God take the lead in our writing. After all, he's the one who we should be writing for! :-D

    I downloaded Awakening to my Kindle, and am looking forward to reading it! :-D

  3. Oh, thanks, Dawn! I like to think it's fun for a summer read. I appreciate that so much! Blessings to you.

  4. "Awakening" is the very best novel, Christian or otherwise, I have read. I read a lot and this was really hard to put down when other things needed my time or attention. I flew thru it and grieved when I no longer had it to read. JoAnn Durgin is a bright and very talented star on the horizon. I believe God is tapping the keys right along with her, and His teachings as well as her wonderful story-telling are both keeping us wanting for more. I cannot wait for "Second Time Around" to be in my hands.


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