Friday, November 20, 2020

Finding Inspiration by JoAnn Durgin

Mark Twain Riverboat

Finding Inspiration 

Some of the world’s most notable authors have found inspiration for their literary success in interesting (and sometimes peculiar) ways. Here are a few examples. 

  • Charles Dickens loved his writing desk so much, he had it shipped (complete with its full contents) to his vacation home. 
  • Agatha Christie instructed the architect for the renovation of her mansion to include “a large tub with a ledge where I can eat apples.” And that’s how her large Victorian bathtub became the place where she ate apples while creating some of her plots! 
  • Beatrix Potter found inspiration for many of her characters in her writing haven known as Hilltop Home with its lush greenery and vines crawling up the sides of the home’s exterior. 
  • Henry David Thoreau personally built a hut in the middle of the woods in Walden Pond, Massachusetts (near Concord, where I once worked and drove by Louisa May Alcott’s girlhood home five days a week—sigh). Henry wrote his book, Walden, while living in the hut for two years.
  • Stephen King and his wife once stayed in an old spooky hotel in Colorado. They were the only guests, and as he wandered through the halls, Stephen began to envision the lonely corridors as the setting for a future ghost story. Later that night, he had a dream where his young son ran through the halls, screaming. The next morning, as he sat in a chair with a view of the Rocky Mountains, Stephen pondered the dream, and it inspired him to write The Shining.

As a reader, I adore humor and sarcasm (tempered with wit). In my opinion, not many authors have incorporated those elements as successfully as Samuel Langhorne Clemens aka Mark Twain (1835-1910). In 1867, Twain embarked on an extensive journey throughout Europe. The trip inspired him to write The Innocents Abroad (1869), an often wickedly satirical yet fascinating record of his travels. More than 150 years after its release, this brilliant travel book has outlasted all others in popularity!

The above-mentioned trip also took Twain to Turkey. If you’re not familiar with his writing style, this sample from The Innocents Abroad will give you an idea:

“Of all the unchristian beverages that ever passed my lips, Turkish coffee is the worst. The cup is small, it is smeared with grounds; the coffee is black, thick, unsavory of smell, and execrable in taste. The bottom of the cup has a muddy sediment in it half an inch deep. This goes down your throat, and portions of it lodge by the way, and produce a tickling aggravation that keeps you barking and coughing for an hour.”

Mark Twain also found constant inspiration in his beloved hometown of Hannibal, Missouri. My husband, Jim, scheduled a memorable trip a few summers ago where we traveled to Hannibal and, among other things, rode the Mark Twain Riverboat on the Mississippi River. Life on the Mississippi (1883) is a memoir primarily from Twain’s days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi before the Civil War. 

Mark Twain Home and Museum

Jim’s planning also led us to visit Monroeville, Alabama, home of Harper Lee, author of my favorite novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. I don’t know about you, but I find it fascinating to visit the places that have inspired authors!

One thing all the above-mentioned authors have in common? Their works have remained in our hearts decades and even generations later. Successful writers master the talent of penning relatable protagonists who appeal to the “everyman” in all of us. The character faces some type of challenge, internal or external—or both. Whether or not he “wins” isn’t as important as how he sets about doing it. The author grabs our attention from the beginning and doesn’t let go until we reach the satisfying end of the everyman’s journey. In so doing, they create a lasting legacy with a well-crafted story and character(s) so memorable they’ll forever remain in the minds—and hearts—of readers. And isn’t that our goal?

Where do you find inspiration for your characters and stories?

Until His Nets Are Full, 
Matthew 5:16


Successful writers master the talent of penning relatable protagonists who appeal to the "everyman" in all of us. #seriouslywrite #inspirationforwriters via @Gr8tReads

Some of the world's most notable authors have found inspiration for their literary success in interesting (and sometimes peculiar) ways. Here are a few examples. #seriouslywrite #inspirationforwriters via @Gr8tReads

Where do you find inspiration for your characters and stories? #seriouslywrite #inspirationforwriters via @Gr8tReads

Love on a Mission in Millcreek

(Available only in the 
Melodies Christmas Love set)

Angelia Ford wonders if she’ll ever live down her unfortunate outburst at the end of the Millcreek Elementary Christmas program. Sixteen years later, she’s home to care for her grandfather and prays the town’s citizens have finally forgiven her youthful indiscretion.

Millcreek’s newest resident, Nicholas Sanders, recognizes the beautiful blonde server at the local diner, but it’s clear Angel doesn’t remember him. What better time than the festive holiday season for Nick to reintroduce himself to the girl he’s never forgotten? 

7 NEW romances by 
7 authors.

Each story, inspired by a different Christmas carol, 
is sure to put you in the holiday spirit. 

JoAnn Durgin
is a USA Today bestselling author named in 2018 as one of the “35 Essential Christian Romance Authors” by Family Fiction Magazine. She is the author of the beloved Lewis Legacy Series of contemporary Christian romantic adventures as well as several other series and stand-alone novels.

JoAnn’s most recent release is Underground, Lewis Legacy 11. Love on a Mission in Millcreek is the second installment of her new Millcreek Christmas Series. She also writes contemporary Christian romances under the pen name of Julianna Desmond.

A former estate administration paralegal, JoAnn loves nothing more than sharing the hope, grace, and mercy to be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. After living in various states across the country, she lives with her family in her native southern Indiana.

Feel free to connect with her at or via her website at