Please tell us about Echoes of Edinburgh. I love the cover!
Let me share the blurb with you:
To honor her dying father’s wish, Chicago stockbroker Shelby Harmon promises to hand deliver an envelope addressed to “Robert Nichols, Personal & Confidential.” Her quest to find Robert leads her to a most unlikely place—the Castlehill Gardens outside Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle. Who is this fiercely private man and what is his connection to Harmony Lane, her family’s horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky? Harrison Reed cautions Shelby against dredging up hurtful memories for his close friend, Robert. As they explore the city together, Shelby and Harrison find themselves increasingly drawn to one another. When the contents of the mysterious envelope are revealed, the answer gives her hope for the future of Harmony Lane. Is the time spent in Edinburgh with Harrison destined to be nothing more than a beautiful memory? Did Shelby lose her heart in Edinburgh…or find her way home again?
Will you share a short excerpt?
Here’s a fun snippet from not long after Shelby meets Harrison (“Harry” as she starts to call him, which he doesn’t like—at first). There are several such fun, lively scenes, as I know my readers have come to expect in one of my books. I must have humor, as both a reader and an author, to lighten the burdens of life!
Harrison rushed forward. Moving one hand around Shelby’s waist, he pulled her against him. Almost hip-to-hip close. Goodness, he was solid muscle. She couldn’t help but breathe in his masculine soap-and-water clean scent. At least he didn’t wear expensive cloying cologne. Those only made her sneeze and her throat itch. His gallant heroics kept her upright, never mind her pride was now splattered all over the walkway. Putting one hand over her chest, embarrassed, Shelby took a couple of deep, calming breaths. “Well, that was fun.”
“Are you all right?” Steadying her, Harrison’s brows knit together. “If I let go, you’re not going to fall, are you?”
Her laugh came out an unladylike grunt. “Yes, thanks. I mean, I’m fine and it’s safe to let go. I think. Why don’t we try it and see what happens?” Averting her gaze as he released her, a flush warmed her cheeks. “I should buy you a cape and call you Captain Hand…” She cleared her throat. “That’s, um, Captain Harrison.”
Good thing she wasn’t in a room full of potential clients, or she’d be a discredit to her profession. Never in her life had she been so inarticulate. Or clumsy. Old Edna Pinson would be shocked by her appalling lack of social graces. After all, any young lady of fine breeding in Lexington who’d attended Edna’s House of Charm should know the proper manner to recover from a near-fall with grace or the dignified, if not subtle, method of falling—or was it swooning?—into the arms of a handsome man.
Harrison leaned forward and captured her eye contact. “Shelby? Still with me?”
She lowered her gaze and smoothed one hand down the front of her khaki skirt. For once in her life, she wished she wasn’t wearing something so absolutely utilitarian. Even her simple, white sleeveless blouse was as plain and boring as they come. “I might be suffering from a little jet lag. Or the change in altitude, atmospheric conditions…I don’t know.” She shrugged. “Something like that.” Suffering the effects of Harrison Reed was more like it. Maybe she’d been cooped up too long in her office and needed the break more than she’d realized. This was also why she never flirted. When it came to engaging gorgeous men in conversation, she was much more competent in a business setting.
“Who’s Edna Pinson?”
“Excuse me?” She’d voiced that thought aloud? Harrison’s hearing must be uncommonly sharp. Chewing the inside of her cheek, Shelby pushed aside a long strand of hair whipping across her face in the warm, mid-July breeze.
“You said Edna Pinson. Right before you mumbled something about charm.” The corners of his mouth twitched. “Something like that.”
“Oh,” she said, tucking the wayward hair behind one ear. “I was giving thanks for not”—she searched her mind for something resembling coherency—“having a…head full of pins.” With that comment, he probably questioned her intelligence, and she couldn’t blame him. Next he’d tell her he’d need to cancel for lunch tomorrow.
“Do you normally have a head full of pins? If that’s the case, I trust you’re talking about in your hair and not actually inside…” His grin widened as he pointed to his head.
Laughter bubbled up inside her. What an insipid conversation. “No pins involved. Promise. Edna Pinson ran a charm school I attended once upon a time. Goes without saying I’m a classic dropout.”
“I thought charm schools went out of vogue a century ago, but you’re doing a fine job of it.”
She couldn’t resist. “It?”
“The charm factor.”
If you could be a character in your book, who would you like to be and why?
Shelby Harmon, my heroine in Echoes of Edinburgh, grew up on a horse farm, Harmony Lane, in Lexington, Kentucky. The rolling hills in Kentucky, and the horses and farms, are absolutely gorgeous and it’s called “God’s country” for good reason. Shelby grew up privileged and yet she is basic and down-to-earth although she has a high-powered stockbroker job in Chicago. But, as the book begins, Shelby is all business. She’s come to Edinburgh to fulfill a promise to her dying father and to deliver something to Robert Nichols, originally from Lexington and who’d once known her parents and worked at Harmony Lane. Shelby finds Robert in a most unlikely place: the Castlehill Gardens outside Edinburgh Castle, thereby lending a hint of mystery to the story.
What I love about Shelby is the gradual progression of her character—how she changes, evolves and grows. As she gets to know the hero, Harrison Reed, and as they explore the fascinating city of Edinburgh together, she starts to enjoy herself and her natural sense of humor and spirit of adventure begins to shine. After the deaths of both of her parents, Shelby is unsure as to the direction of Harmony Lane, and when she decides to stay in Edinburgh longer than planned, she learns a lot of important life lessons. The end of the book finds her back home in Lexington as she ponders her true home—home in her heart.
What is your favorite part of writing a book?
That ah-ha! moment that generally comes at some point during the course of writing a novel. Meaning an epiphany of sorts when one of the main characters is hit with sudden inspiration, a revelation, or a truth from God’s word and how it applies to their lives. Those moments of creativity are what make the writing process so sweet and gratifying. For instance, in one of my novels, that moment comes when the hero is all alone in the woods of Montana, it’s freezing cold and he’s in the pits of despair. He cries out to God, ready to listen, and God answers his prayer. In the still quiet, the hero finally understands that in order to keep the love of his life, he needs to be willing to let go and surrender her to the Lord’s will. That becomes the turning point of the entire novel.
I agree, JoAnn those are great moments!
What is your favorite genre to read?
Christian romance, both historical and contemporary, although the latter is my favorite. I like the variety and life application of contemporary novels. I can better identify with the working woman and mother of today but I also enjoy the history, clothing, styles, customs and manners of past eras in history, especially in the U.S. I only read Christian fiction at this point because the secular romance novels generally have a smattering of elements I prefer not to read. I like a bit of spice in my books, as my readers must realize, but always within God-honoring limits.
What is next for you?
Sleigh Ride Together with You, the third and final installment of the Starlight Christmas Saga (after Meet Me Under the Mistletoe and Starlight, Star Bright) releases in early to mid-November this year. I’m currently working on a prequel to my Lewis Legacy Series, and it’s the love story of Sam and Sarah Lewis, parents of the core character in the series. The setting is small town Texas in 1962-1963, and I’m having a ball with it even though (gasp) it’s considered historical (something I thought I’d never write). However, it’s also called “modern” historical, and during a period of time in which many of my readers lived. I’m also resurrecting a standalone novel from my archives, Heart’s Design (set in the picturesque foothills of western Maine), and then it’s on to Enchantment, Book #6 in the series, which is written but needs editing.
Thanks for sharing with us, JoAnn and for offering to give away an eCopy of your book! Leave a comment for JoAnn to be entered for a chance to win. 🙂
Rules: Drawing ends 10/5/14. Winner will be contacted on 10/6/14 and have until 10/12/14 to reply or forfeit the eCopy. Void where prohibited by law.
JoAnn is the author of The Lewis Legacy Series and Catching Serenity. Her novellas from Pelican Book Group/White Rose Publishing include Echoes of Edinburgh and three Christmas novellas: Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, Starlight, Star Bright and Sleigh Ride Together with You. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Louisville Christian Writers, JoAnn lives her husband and three children in her native southern Indiana. She loves to hear from her readers via her website at www.joanndurgin.com or on her author page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorjoanndurgin.