Friday, October 18, 2019

Getting to Know You by JoAnn Durgin

Photo of a girl with a violin.

Getting to Know You

As a little girl, the velvety smooth crooning of Johnny Mathis often lulled me to sleep. Let me explain. My mother relaxed in the evenings by playing her favorite record albums in the living room, and the music drifted into my nearby bedroom. Considering I was serenaded into dreamland by beautiful love ballads (many from musicals of the fifties and sixties), is it any wonder I grew up to write Christian romance?

One of the songs I remember most vividly was Johnny’s version of “Getting to Know You” from The King and I, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s legendary musical. One of my favorite aspects of the writing process is conducting research. While writing this blog post, I discovered the melody for “Getting to Know You” was originally written for another musical, South Pacific, but it was replaced by another song, “I’m in Love With A Wonderful Guy.” Eventually, lyricist Oscar Hammerstein wrote entirely new lyrics for “Getting to Know You,” and the sweet, upbeat tune found a forever home with Anna and the King of Siam.

Music has played an important role in my life as a way to praise, worship, and fellowship with the Lord. When I’m writing, my headphones or earbuds are never far away. The genre of music I listen to ranges anywhere from classical to contemporary Christian and depends on the scene and level of concentration needed. Drafting? Anything goes. When editing or finalizing a book, however, I prefer silence or quiet background music. Michael W. Smith’s instrumental albums, Freedom and Glory are personal favorites.

Perhaps it was inevitable that music has a strong influence in the lives of many of my fictional characters. Whisper to My Heart features a concert pianist heroine and her guitar-playing, songwriting construction worker hero. Pursuit is the story of a NASA shuttle commander who falls in love with the girl next door, an up-and-coming Christian singer and songwriter. In both of those books, I tried my hand at penning lyrics. Although a different creative stretch, I enjoyed it immensely! In Prelude, the tragic circumstances which inspired Horatio Spafford to pen “It Is Well With My Soul” are recounted. Likewise, in Let Your Light Shine, the children of the main characters act out the dramatic story of John Newton, who wrote “Amazing Grace.”

As you read this, my husband and I will be spending the day in Asheville, North Carolina, the setting of my most recent novel, If You Believe. We will be visiting locations noted in the book and following the downtown Urban Trail with markers depicting famous people and events in Asheville’s history. Kind of a “walking where my characters walked” exercise. As an author, it’s one of my absolute favorite things to do! The song I highlighted in If You Believe is “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?” A precious and tender song, the tune and lyrics speak to my heart and make me sigh.

Whether a soul-uplifting and convicting hymn, or a beloved classic love song, music fills my heart with joy. It soothes and encourages me, especially as I’ve grown older and face new challenges. Do you listen to music as you write? Have you incorporated music as part of your books? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Please feel free to share!

Until His Nets Are Full,

How music can inspire our souls and inspire our novels!
#seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @Gr8tReads

Do YOU listen to music when you write?
#seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @Gr8tReads

Whisper to My Heart
Whisper to My Heart

The unlikely romance between a concert pianist and a construction worker.
After a decade of touring the globe, Manhattan-based classical concert pianist Annalise Redmond needs a break. What’s a Juilliard-trained musician to do when she wants to live a “normal” life for six weeks?

Weston Galloway, a former firefighter and member of an Atlanta-based construction crew, is as much into soul-winning as building the new bank in little Darling, Georgia.

Anna’s barely been kissed. Weston’s not looking for love. When these two souls collide in small-town Americana, is their time together destined only to be a precious memory or will they listen to the whispers in their hearts and dare to dream of a future together?

Throw in Anna’s quirky sister and brother-in-law, Weston’s challenging coworker, spirited employees at The Darling Diner, and a cast of lively townsfolk, and you won’t want to miss this journey to Darling!

JoAnn Durgin
JoAnn Durgin is a USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty contemporary Christian romance novels, including her signature Lewis Legacy Series. A native of southern Indiana, JoAnn likes to say she’s “been around in the nicest sense of the word” after living in four states across the country before returning to her hometown with her husband and three children. When she’s not writing, JoAnn loves to travel and spend time with their first grandchild, Amelia Grace. Feel free to connect with her at or via her website at