This week we welcome back JoAnn Durgin. Thanks for joining us once again, JoAnn. Please tell us about Sleigh Ride Together with You. Sure! First of all, this book represented a fun “first” for me as an author in that the story was written in direct response to request from readers. The heroine in Sleigh Ride is the ex-girlfriend of the firefighter hero, Jake Marston, in the first book of the series, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe. Enough readers felt compassion for Nicole that she wasn’t the woman for Jake and asked me to write her happily-ever after romance. So, that’s how the idea for this book began.
Perhaps the best way is to give readers the “back cover” blurb to give you the basic idea of the story and the characters. Here it is:
As the popular television co-host of Wake Up, Des Moines! Nicole Reardon has achieved her dream. So why has the network sent “image maker” Alex Kingsfield to the station? The irritatingly handsome man is also the first man she’s been attracted to since Jake Marston dumped her three years ago in Starlight, Iowa. When an unexpected assignment sends Nicole and Alex to Starlight, can she rise above the past and make this interview the defining moment of her career?
Alex Kingsfield knows Nicole is poised on the cusp of network stardom. But beneath the professional exterior is a small-town girl at heart, genuine and God-honoring. Alex holds the power to boost Nicole’s career to unknown heights. Or crush her dreams. From any angle, he’s caught in a “no win” situation when he finds himself falling for the beautiful Nicole. What’s a man to do when love comes calling at Christmas?
Do you have a favorite scene you’d like to share with us? Here’s one of my favorites between Nicole and Alex (Nicole is speaking first and we’re in Alex’s point of view):
“Maybe you shouldn’t go to Starlight with me. I can get one of the camera guys. That’s what I’m saying.”
Frustration rose to the surface. “Now you’re talking crazy, Nicole. Why not?”
“Well, for one thing—and trust me, I feel silly enough even saying this—people have a tendency to fall in love in Starlight. Maybe it’s in the water or something. Or maybe in the proverbial stars. No, I know better. It’s God. He’s everywhere in Starlight—in a special way—and you can’t help but feel His love.” She raised her hands in frustration. “It’s like this warm, cozy blanket of love that covers everyone and everything in that town.”
Alex stepped closer. “And that’s such a bad thing?”
Thanks for sharing that with us, JoAnn! Is this book a standalone book or part of a series?
Sleigh Ride Together with You is the third installment of my Starlight Christmas Series, following Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (2012) and Starlight, Star Bright (2013).
Readers, I’ve read two of the books in the series and even though they are part of a series, I had no problem getting into the stories and I feel like these books can easily stand alone. That being said, JoAnn’s books can best be appreciated when you read them in order since the characters are not exclusive to one book in all cases. 🙂 FYI, I am really enjoying Sleigh Ride Together With You so far.
Did you do any special research for this book? I researched a bit about the hierarchy of a television network and a morning news program’s personnel and procedures. The television show in the book is called Wake Up, Des Moines!, and I did a bit of research about Des Moines, Iowa. A famous theme restaurant in Des Moines is called Zombie Burger, and I checked out the history and the menu online. Don’t worry, no zombies or undead characters are in this book! But I love writing fun dialogue between my characters, and with menu items called Dawn of the Dead and They’re Coming to Get You, Barbara, I couldn’t resist featuring it in Sleigh Ride Together with You! Christian romance author Melissa Tagg lives in Des Moines and was able to provide some more specific information about Zombie Burger. Other than that, a portion of the book takes place in my fictional town of Starlight, Iowa. I did go back to the previous two books in the series in order to double check myself on certain events and characters. For one thing, I’d never given Nicole a last name in the first book, but I had to make sure!
Do any of your characters resemble you in any way? My heroine always shares one or more character traits with her author. In the case of Nicole in Sleigh Ride Together with You, she’s independent, she’s smart, and she’s pursuing her dream of working in broadcast journalism. While I never had the desire to pursue working in television, I knew from the time I was in high school that I wanted to be a writer—in one way or another. Even then, however, I had no idea I’d one day become a novelist! It’s been a thrill ride all its own, and the Lord has blessed my efforts over and above what I could ever have imagined!
What is next for you? I’m currently preparing the prequel to my Lewis Legacy Series, called Prelude. It’s the love story of Sam Lewis and Sarah Jordan, the parents of the core character in the series, Sam Lewis, Jr. I’m having an absolute blast with this one! This book is different in that it’s the first time my hero and heroine have known each other for years. In this case, they were neighbors, and Sam is six years older than Sarah. In the beginning of the book, Sam is an Air Force Captain returning from his tour of duty in the Vietnam War and discovers his little neighbor girl has grown up into a fascinating woman. Let the romance begin! The fun research for Prelude included listening to the favorite songs of the early 1960s, and also revisited the hairstyles, fashions, words and expressions, etc. In many ways, the novel “reads” modern, but it’s also reflects certain aspects of that era. I just can’t believe this book is considered historical! I like to call it “modern historical.”
Prelude is available to pre-order on Amazon Kindle now, and releases on December 19, 2014.
Thanks so much for sharing with us, JoAnn and for offering to do a giveaway! Readers, if you would like to be entered into the drawing for Sleigh Ride Together With You please let JoAnn know if you’ve ever been on a sleigh ride and what it was like.
My one and only sleigh ride took place in a near blizzard. We all had to wear ski goggles just to keep the snow out of our eyes. We were bundled to the point no part of our skin was exposed to the elements. I’m sure we were a sight. lol You may wonder why we even went. It was at a resort in Central Oregon and we booked the sleigh ride in advance. Unfortunately it was one of those places where you don’t get your money back, unless they cancel, which they didn’t. 🙂 It’s an experience I will never forget.
Drawing Rules: Open to USA addresses only. For the drawing to take place there must be at least ten qualifying comments, my comments and JoAnn’s don’t count, sorry. Void where prohibited by law. Drawing ends 12/28/1014. The winner will be notified by email on 12/29/2014 and have until 1/4/2015 to reply or forfeit Sleigh Ride Together With You. No new winner will be drawn.
JoAnn Durgin is the author of five novels (and counting) in the popular Lewis Legacy Series as well as a standalone novel, Catching Serenity. Her novellas include Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, Starlight, Star Bright, Sleigh Ride Together with You, and Echoes of Edinburgh. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Louisville Christian Writers, JoAnn lives with her husband and three children in southern Indiana. She’s recently *retired* from her paralegal position to write full-time. She loves to hear from her readers at www.joanndurgin.com or www.facebook.com/authorjoanndurgin.