Genesis 5020

My Story for His Glory

Write to the Point with JoAnn, Jennifer and Valerie February 26, 2014

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:39 am
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Today I have three authors to share with you. JoAnn Durgin, Jennifer Slattery and Valerie Comer (who has been here a couple of times already and will be here again). Take some time to get to know these lovely women and enter to win JoAnn’s book.

joannCatching Serenity is JoAnn Durgin’s fifth full-length novel. The author of The Lewis Legacy Series and Christmas novellas, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe and its sequel, Starlight, Star Bright, she’s an estate administration paralegal in a Louisville, Kentucky law firm and lives in southern Indiana. Visit her at or via her Author JoAnn Durgin page on Facebook.

Tell us about your latest book(s). What do want your readers to take away after the last page?

Blurb about Catching Serenity:

A woman torn apart by secrets.

A man held prisoner by the truth.

Can the greatest love of all

set them both free?

 Serenity McClaren had it all before her life crumbled around her like the sand castles on her beloved beach, causing her to flee Croisette Shores and the only home she’d ever known. Nearly five years later and living in Atlanta, she receives a mysterious, unsigned note: Come home, Serenity. Things aren’t as they seem. Time to find your answers. Returning to South Carolina, she prepares to face her demons and the ailing father she left behind, hoping to make peace with both.

Child psychologist Jackson Ross is a man with a surprising past. He’s ready for the quiet life and  eager to establish his practice in the quaint, coastal village. After he hires Serenity to decorate his new office, he’s drawn to the beautiful and enigmatic woman yet sees she’s haunted by a past she can’t escape. Wanting to help her, he begins to suspect one of his young patients may hold the key to unlocking Serenity’s secrets. Jackson follows his instincts and discovers the shocking truth, but how can he tell the woman he’s grown to love what he knows—and set her free—without compromising his professional ethics and losing her forever?

Catching Serenity, a poignant story of faith, hope and love, and discovering the everyday miracles from an all-powerful God

Life doesn’t come with guarantees, and the Lord never promised the journey would be easy. But He did promise to be with us. Serenity has faced many tragedies in her young life, but she’s a fighter, a survivor. As the story of Catching Serenity Front Cover Image (2)what happened in the past unfolds, the everyday miracles—grace, mercy and forgiveness—of an all-powerful God are revealed in an amazing way.

Can you share with us a Genesis 5020 in your life?

When you cross that door into the world of publication, you put your work “out there” for the world to accept or reject. My debut novel, Awakening (Book #1 in The Lewis Legacy Series) released in November of 2010. I was an unknown author with a new publisher, and the book took a while to catch on, but I’m blessed to say it has done extremely well. On Mother’s Day (of all days) of 2011, my rating on Barnes & Noble for Awakening dropped from a five-star average (where it had been for well over a year) to a one-star rating. To this day, I don’t know what happened. Although it’s probably best if I don’t know, I suspect it was a targeted attack either against me personally or Christian fiction and/or its authors in general. The good news is that as a result of this incident (combined with other author complaints), Barnes & Noble changed their policy regarding reviews. I’ve had something similar happen just recently on Goodreads.

I always have a strong spiritual thread in all my books (and try not to have that dreaded “preachiness”). I am also unapologetic about it, and I know some will not like it. When I work so hard on my books, I’ll admit to being extremely sensitive to critical reviews, especially if it’s a cowardly rating without a review. However, I have the passion to write Christian fiction and feel called of the Lord to do so. He who is in me is so much stronger than he who is in the world. So, I keep on writing the best stories I can with inspiration from God’s word. I prefer the “take” of a wise Christian friend who said early on, “You must really be an ambassador for the Lord in your books if the enemy is trying so hard to tear you down.”

 Do you have a life and/or a ministry verse?

Matthew 5:16 is my theme verse for my life and in my writing. In my books, it’s my intent to shine the light of God’s hope, joy and love by adding a little “sunshine” in the form of humor, both in conversation and situations. Life is tough enough with its inevitable heartache and sorrow. A bit of levity helps bring the smile, and the light, to our hearts. In my estimation, humor in our lives is every bit as essential as water, oxygen and, of course, love.

Where can we find you on the web?

Readers can find out more about my books and me at or at Author JoAnn Durgin on Facebook. My books are available in paperback and eBook editions except for the novellas (I have author paperback copies if readers contact me). I don’t Twitter, however. I went to Disney recently, and agree with a sentiment on a Donald Duck T-shirt: “I don’t tweet, I quack.”

JenniferheadshotLet’s get write to the point with Jennifer.

Tell us about yourself, family, where are you from, how long have you been writing?

I married a railroader, so I’ve moved around quite a bit, but I was born and raised in the beautiful northwest about an hour north of Seattle. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, although I didn’t pursue it as a career and calling until sometime around 2006. Before that it was for fun, venting (i.e. highly depressive teenage poetry) or church ministry events.

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

I came to Christ through a neighborhood Good News Bible Club at a very young age, floundered in my teen years, then recommitted my life to Christ on a Good Friday about fifteen years ago

Tell us about your latest book(s). What do want your readers to take away after the last page?

I write missional romance, which are romance novels about couples who discover and embrace their calling together. My debut, Beyond I Do, releasing from New Hope Publishers this fall, is about a woman whose encounter with a mother, her son, and their abuser sparks a passion that threatens her wedding engagement. As God grows her passion, she worries: Will seeing beyond the present unite her and her fiancé or tear them apart. What I want my reader to take away from the novel is a passion to discover their unique calling and role in God’s kingdom and to follow after that with everything they have.

Can you share with us a Genesis 5020 in your life?

I’d have to say living with chronic illness. Prior to getting sick, I was very active and loved anything physical from hiking to competing in triathlons. (sprints) I was pretty prideful, and felt invincible. Then I got sick. This caused me to rethink who I was and what I was capable of. There are days, when I’m tired or hurting or just plain not feeling well, when I get discouraged or frustrated, and I can say some angry prayers. But then God reminds me of all He’s grown in me through this process, things like compassion, inner strength, surrender. Satan attempts to harm me by inviting me to throw a pity party, but then God gently draws me to Himself, reminding me of the wonderful gifts He’s given me through my struggles, the greatest of which is His unfaltering presence. My struggle has also drawn me closer to my husband, because, seeing me with my “brave face” off, he’s always quick to help, hug, encourage, and pray. Love that man!

Do you have a life and/or a ministry verse?

I have two that go together. The first is Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” The second is found in James 3:13-17 “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Combined, these verses remind me God loves me, has a plan and a purpose for me, and is committed to working out that plan. I don’t have to understand it all. All I need to do is draw near, listen, surrender, and obey.

Where can we find you on the web?

You can find all three of us at, along with nearly 30 other Inspirational romance authors, and you can find me at my home site,

Valerie-Comer-300x300Last but not least is Valerie. She will be visiting us again next Wednesday you will hear more about her book and I will be reviewing it as well.

Tell us about yourself, family, where are you from, how long have you been writing?

Hi! I’m Valerie Comer. I live on a small farm in southeastern BC, Canada, with my husband. I’m the proud grandmother of three adorable little girls, who keep me from spending too much time with nose in my laptop. I’ve been writing for about 12 years.

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

I’m so blessed to have been born and raised in a Christian home. I became a believer as a child, which has it’s own challenges at times.

Tell us about your latest book(s). What do want your readers to take away after the last page?

My second novel, Wild Mint Tea: A Farm Fresh Romance, releases March first. I hope readers will close the cover with a sentimental sigh, reluctant to part with Claire andWild Mint Tea 200x300 Noel and their friends. May their lingering thoughts be of God’s faithfulness to those He calls.

Do you have a life and/or a ministry verse?

I Thessalonians 4:11: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life. You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you.”

Where can we find you on the web?

Thanks so much ladies for taking the time to share with my readers. I pray God will bless all of your journey’s.

Readers, JoAnn is giving away a copy of her book, Catching Serenity, to one commentator. Leave a comment by March 4th at 5:00 pm to be entered.


14 Responses to “Write to the Point with JoAnn, Jennifer and Valerie”

  1. Valerie Comer Says:

    Thanks for inviting us, Melissa! A key thing about JoAnn, Jennifer, and I is that all three of us are very involved in a brand new blog by Christian romance authors: We’re joined there by (I think) 27 other authors, sharing daily about romances both fictional and real-life. We’d love to invite you and your readers to discover our new site!

  2. Please have a terrific, God – blessed day

    • You, too, Chris! And Melissa, I concur with Valerie, thanks so much for having us! Like Valerie said, we’re hyere to let folks know about our new group blog. it’s a way fun to hang out, talk about books, heroes, chocolate, and all things romance. 🙂

  3. JoAnn Durgin Says:

    I learned some new things about you, Jen! Waving to Val, too. Thanks, Melissa for hosting us on your wonderful blog. I’m trying to drum up comments since I’m giving away a signed paperback copy of Catching Serenity, but maybe I’m marketed out? I don’t know, but the Lord sure does. Hopefully there’s someone out there who’d like to read a contemporary Christian romance? Someone? Anyone? LOL… And, of course, I LOVE InspyRomance. The posts are so much fun and I love the interaction with readers. Blessings, ladies!

  4. ibakecakes4you Says:

    Ladies thank you for opening up a bit of your lives and hearts to us. I enjoyed your interviews. JoAnn you know I’d be delighted to win a copy of Catching Serenity!

  5. Ladies, thanks again for doing the interview. It’s always fun to get to know new authors. I subscribe to the Inspy Romance blog and I have really enjoyed the posts and the great giveaways. I highly recommend the blog to anyone who enjoys a good romance.

    • JoAnn Durgin Says:

      Keep recommending the blog, Melissa! Thank you! I love being part of a blog written by contemporary Christian romance authors geared specifically for our readers. The posts and the interactions have been so wonderful and we look forward to many more years together! We appreciate you more than you know. Blessings!

  6. Dawn Steadham Says:

    I’m so glad my friend loaned me her copy of Awakening on my vacation two summers ago! She brought on my awakening to Christian fiction and I’m looking forward to finishing all of JoAnn’s books and reading the works of these ladies as well.

    • JoAnn Durgin Says:

      Dawn, thanks so much for stopping by. Your words thrill my heart, and I’m so happy your friend loaned Awakening to you! Blessings, and have a great weekend. 🙂

    • Valerie Comer Says:

      Dawn, that’s an awesome story! I’ve read and loved several of JoAnn’s books, too. Catching Serenity is on my Kindle (im)patiently waiting its turn. If you pick up Wild Mint Tea, I hope you love it!

  7. Alyce Says:

    Thank you ladies for sharing with us. I love hearing about new authors. I would love the chance to read JoAnn’s book. Thanks for the opportunity.

  8. JoAnn, Wow, congrats on your fifth book! I remember when your first one came out. And congrats to Jennifer on her debut novel, exciting news : ) Valerie, loved your book trailer for your latest novel.
    cllyrics (at) gmail (dot) com

    • Valerie Comer Says:

      Aw, thanks, Cynthia! I absolutely love my trailer! It can be found here:

      • JoAnn Durgin Says:

        Thanks, Cynthia, and so great to see you hear. Thanks for coming by, and yes, I’ve been busy in the last few years with my books. And I agree re: Valerie’s trailer. Cynthia, I’m sure you know her talented daughter created it. I smiled all the way through it…absolutely adorable! 🙂 Blessings.

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