Friday, June 21, 2019

“We Are All Fools in Love” by JoAnn Durgin

Meme that says Finding Joy in the Journey

“We Are All Fools in Love”

Whether or not you’re a fan of that quote, it’s from Jane Austen’s beloved and much-revered novel, Pride and Prejudice. The subject of love is one of the most understood/ misunderstood, loved/hated, quoted and misquoted, subjects in the world. In its various forms and stages, love can be alternately enthralling, confusing, compelling, and even heartbreaking. One thing is certain: love of one type or another is the primary focus and driving force behind nearly every book ever written.

Courtney Walsh, New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist of the Sweethaven series as well as popular small-town romances including Paper Hearts and Just Let Go, had this to say about why we love a heart-satisfying romance: “I’m always drawn to the romance of any story. Even when I’m watching The Bourne Identity or a Marvel movie with my husband, I want to know where to find that happily ever after. In romance, there’s an expectation that your hero and heroine are going to end up together, and that is what I love. Now, I also love the depth of an emotional journey, but I want a story that makes me feel happy at the end so I write books I would want to read. The ones that make my heart swell, make me swoon and make me smile when I turn that last page.”

Who doesn’t love a great romance/love story? A happy ending makes us smile and fills our hearts with joy and hope. But hold on… What about Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet, widely considered as one of the greatest love stories ever told? As a tragedy, why is it so beloved? For that matter, a number of the most beloved fictional love stories do not end happily or have bittersweet endings. There are many online lists of the best/most remarkable/unforgettable love stories of all time, including the likes of The Thorn Birds (forbidden love between a headstrong, beautiful girl and a priest); Jane Eyre (a young governess falls for her complex, brooding employer with a dark past); The Notebook (tear-jerking, decades-spanning story); Anna Karenina (woman in a loveless marriage embarks on a dangerous affair); and Wuthering Heights (lost love turns a good man evil). Of course, there’s also Pride and Prejudice (a woman’s pride and a man’s prejudice create stumbling blocks to forming a love relationship).

Notice the novels named above are considered “love stories” rather than “romances.” What are the differences between romances and love stories? I researched this topic and discovered the following:

♥ Romances have characters with flaws that might actually be strengths in disguise. Love stories tend to have more deeply and authentically flawed characters, but characters in both are universally relatable to readers.

♥ In a romance, the relationship is the plot of the story. How will they get together? In a love story, something besides love is at stake. Other relationships may be equally important to the main character(s), and his/her personal growth and change is crucial.

♥ The end is where the primary differences lie. Romances almost always guarantee the happily ever after. The hero and heroine end up together with an implied future. In love stories, the two main characters are often together and committed early on but external (and sometimes internal) circumstances drive them apart to the point where they may or may not ultimately be a couple.

Does this mean that romances are somehow inferior to love stories? Not at all! Although most Christian books with romantic elements are categorized as “romances” as opposed to “love stories,” they can certainly incorporate elements of both. As Christian authors, we’re called by the Lord to write for His glory. As such, one of our main goals is to write a story which espouses the value and importance of human relationships while showing how a personal relationship with Christ fulfills us in a more deeply satisfying way while also enriching our other relationships.

According to USA Today Bestselling Author Leah Atwood, author of historical and contemporary romances including the Always Faithful Series and the Modern Conveniences Series, Being a Christian is my identity. To leave it out of my books would be to deny who gave me the gift of writing.”

Kimberly Rose Johnson, award-winning and bestselling author of The Reluctant Groom (The Brides of Seattle Series) and the Love in the Cascades Series, shared the following: “I was a reader long before I was a writer. I didn’t know how to take God out of the equation. I can’t imagine trying to face life’s trials without Him. It’s much easier to write Christian romance because He is a part of who I am, and who I am comes out in my books.

Laura Frantz, the Christy-Award winning author of The Ballantyne Legacy Series and the upcoming An Uncommon Woman said this: “As a writer of love stories I’m always mindful that God is the Author of romance and when passion unfolds according to His plan, nothing could be more romantic! I like to shine the light on God’s way of doing things when two imperfect people or fictional characters fall in love, such a refreshing difference from the world’s way! Writing clean is classy, too.”

Offering the spiritual element in our books is what should separate our work from the others. No matter what genre we write, we are called to uplift, encourage, and give hope to our readers. Be that shining light He’s calling you to be!

Until His Nets Are Full,
Matthew 5:16

What's the difference between a romance and a love story?
#seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @Gr8tReads

If You Believe
If You Believe

From the author of The Lewis Legacy Series, If You Believe brings readers the story of Brendan and Edlynne. Can a man struggling with a terrible tragedy and a woman wounded by betrayal find love together?

In charming Asheville, North Carolina, nestled in the shadows of the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains, firefighter/paramedic Brendan Williams barely has time for himself much less a social life. After his world was torn apart by a family tragedy, the only woman he sees on a regular basis is Mimi, his beloved grandmother. He throws himself into his work and also moonlights as a paper supply company driver to keep his mind busy and to earn the money to replace something of great value for Mimi. When he meets a beautiful cake baker/decorator on his delivery route, he wonders for the first time if she could be “the one.”

Edlynne (“Edie”) Harris begins her days in a bakery downtown before dashing off to her job as a ticket agent at Asheville Regional Airport. Besides her two jobs, she volunteers for a ministry benefitting displaced and abused women. Edie’s content in her busyness until a handsome new delivery driver at the bakery snags her attention. She’s been fooled before, and the last guy she dated a year ago stole more than her smile.

When Edie and Brendan independently enter a Valentine’s Day contest, they’re challenged to plan the “perfect date.” For personal and unselfish reasons, they’re both determined to win the cash prize, but if chosen as finalists, they’ll be pitted against one another. Will the competition sour their growing attraction for each other, or does God have another plan? When the Almighty’s involved, anything is possible!

JoAnn Durgin
USA Today Bestselling Author JoAnn Durgin is the author of The Lewis Legacy Series, including Prelude, the prequel to the series. Her other novels 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, The Treasured Vow Series, Portrait, The Starlight Christmas Series, and The Serendipity 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. She loves to hear from her readers! Please feel free to contact her.