JoAnn Durgin – Fictional Romantic Interview – Part 1 of 1

Shannon here: JoAnn Durgin shares insight into her characters’ romance from Second Time Around. Every time you comment on this post, your name goes in the drawing for a copy. Deadline: April 7th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s JoAnn:

Interview with Marc Thompson, hero of Second Time Around, Book #2 of The Lewis Legacy Series

  •  What’s the most romantic thing your spouse has ever done for you?

I have this really weird thing I do with number patterns to help me remember things. Natalie likes to try and stump me by making up little games with clues. For my birthday, I had to solve problems in order to “win” clues and find my gift. I worked through five problems/clues, and she did a great job. She bought me a pair of gold, monogrammed cuff links for me to wear for important client meetings and on our dress-up date nights. Natalie’s only stumped me a few times, and she says she has fun doing it. She puts a lot of thought and effort into it, and I adore my wife all the more for trying, especially because she knows how much I love it.

  •  What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for your spouse?

I don’t consider it particularly romantic, but Natalie does. When she fell down the steps after we’d only been married a couple of months, she lost all memories of me. Hang on for the romantic part. I was pretty desperate to help her regain her memories. Basically, I had to court her all over again. We went through a tough few months, and then my pastor suggested calling Natalie’s friends, Sam and Lexa Lewis. I called Sam, and spur-of-the-moment (something contrary to my nature), I flew down to Houston to meet them. They lead TeamWork Missions work camps, and Natalie’s been one of their summer volunteers for several years. We traveled to Montana (in November, taking along our dog, Elwood), and met up with Sam, Lexa and their TeamWork friends for a two-week work camp at a ranch outside Helena. They are some of the best people you’ll ever meet this side of Heaven, and they all rallied around us. How exactly is that romantic? I own a sports advertising agency in the Prudential Tower in Boston. Natalie knows how important my business is to me, and how much of a personal sacrifice it was for me. I took off two full weeks, and didn’t have any communication whatsoever with my staff. It’s kind of funny, actually. I ended up burying my cell phone in the snow out in Montana, but that’s another story. I wanted to show her how committed I was to helping her regain all that we’d lost. When she fell down those steps, Natalie took part of me, too—my heart. But the Lord is so good, and we experienced His grace, and a true miracle in Montana.

  • Where is the most romantic place you and your spouse have ever been?

Our honeymoon was in a villa on the Italian Riviera. In a word, it was incredible. Unfortunately, Natalie doesn’t remember much about it. Shhh… I’m going to plan a return “honeymoon” for us at some point in the future. After all we’ve been through, I’ve learned that faith and family are the most important things in my life. Once they’re in place, everything else just falls naturally into place.

  • Do you and your spouse have a favorite romantic restaurant?

Natalie and I stumbled upon a great little place called Peppino’s after a Red Sox game while we were dating. It was pouring down rain, and we ducked inside to stay dry. Let me just say, Antonio Peppino makes the best pizza in the world. We go as often as we can; if it’s not after a game, we dress up to the nines and make it really special. We’re regulars and they put a candle in the middle of the table just for us, turn down the lights and put on soft Italian love songs. It’s great. Antonio and some of the staff came to our wedding, and they gave us a garlic press as a gift—we use it all the time when we cook together at home. Great people, fabulous food. Really, what more could you ask? 

  • Do you and your spouse have a favorite song?

It came out a couple of years after we married in 2001, but Steven Curtis Chapman’s incredible love song, We Will Dance, will always be our song. The lyrics are about “weathering” the different seasons of life – some sweet, some stormy, but how the Lord always sees us through it all. Even though I hate all the challenges and heartache we had to go through, believe it or not, our marriage is sweeter, stronger and even better the second time around. The foundation is stronger and built on solid trust and faith. On our anniversary each year, we play that song and hold each other close, remembering where we’ve been and how God has blessed us in ways we never could have guessed. He’s an amazing God.

  • Who said, “I love you” first, you or your spouse?

Natalie has never remembered this, but it was me—much to my surprise. I always felt trapped, caged, and ran away when a woman got too close. Not pretty, I know, but it’s the truth. It was different with Natalie. I couldn’t get enough of her, but she pushed me away. She didn’t like me at first, wouldn’t go out with me, thinking I was too high-strung, a Type-A workaholic and an overly-ambitious advertising executive. Raising my hand to all of those. One Saturday, she saw me helping a kid learn to read at a downtown youth center, and she discovered the beating heart beneath my sometimes tough exterior. Natalie’s love has changed me in all the best ways, and I’m a much better man for it. I thank the Lord every day for bringing her into my life, and for the love we share.

About JoAnn: JoAnn Durgin is the author of the popular contemporary romantic adventures, Awakening, and its follow-up, Second Time Around, published by Torn Veil Books. Her third book in the series, Twin Hearts, releases in March 2012. JoAnn, her husband, Jim, and their three children live in her native southern Indiana after living in TX, CA, PA and MA. She likes to say she’s “been around in the nicest sense of the word.” She’s a full-time wealth administration paralegal in a Louisville, Kentucky, law firm, and is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Her books are available at every major online book retailer such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, both in paperback and electronic versions. Please visit her at or on Facebook.  JoAnn will be back here at the Inkslinger blog in April with her latest release, Twin Hearts.

About the book: Marc Thompson is on top of the world—a newlywed with a beautiful wife, the owner of a thriving Boston sports advertising agency, and a century-old home they’re renovating in the suburbs. Then the unthinkable happens. Two months after the wedding, Marc sits in a hospital emergency waiting room after Natalie suffers a horrible fall. One shock follows another. Not only does his wife remember nothing of their life together, but now he has a personal timeline to reconnect with her—seven months. Marc’s gold wedding band mocks him, a glaring reminder of a promise broken by a rotting basement stair and his own negligence. His renowned psychologist advises him to court his wife again—a daunting task the first time around. Then Marc’s pastor suggests he call Sam and Lexa Lewis of TeamWork Missions, a ministry dear to Natalie’s heart. Determined to help her reclaim her life, the young groom makes great strides until a ghost from the past surfaces, opening fresh wounds and threatening to destroy it all. With Natalie’s trust shattered and Marc’s faith wavering, they head to Milestone Ranch outside Helena, Montana, with TeamWork for a two-week work camp. But instead of romancing his wife in the freezing November temperatures with warm fires and shared sweet moments, he’s out in the cold and back at square one. Even if Natalie recovers her lost memories, will she forgive him? If not, can Marc come to terms with his deepest fear—the failure of his marriage? You’ll root for Marc and Natalie as they fight against the odds and discover that surrendering all at the throne of grace doesn’t mean failure. It’s simply called faith. And it might be the only way to finding their way back to one another . . . the second time around.

Come back March 28 for Cara C. Putman.

6 Responses to “JoAnn Durgin – Fictional Romantic Interview – Part 1 of 1”

  • Kim F says:

    Sounds like a great story – I will look forward to reading it!

  • shelia hall says:

    Sounds like a great book that I would really enjoy! Love to win it

  • Second Time Around sounds like a fabulous book! I would love to win and read it. Thank you for the opportunity.

  • JoAnn Durgin says:

    Thanks for your comments, ladies! Second Time Around has been out since last September, but because of the popularity of the movie, The Vow, (based on the same couple as Second Time Around), I wanted to highlight this book. The real-life couple are both Christians and said it was their faith that kept them together after the wife’s memory loss, but Hollywood removed all traces of the spiritual component, not surprisingly. Second Time Around is faith-based and Marc takes quite a journey of faith. I love his epiphany when he realizes he can’t do it on his own and needs to surrender all to the One Who can handle it for him. And it’s in the middle of the woods in freezing Montana in November, of all things!

    The third book in my series, Twin Hearts, is releasing within the next week or two, FYI. I wish all of you could win, but thank you for reading Christian fiction! Many blessings to you.

  • Illene Stewart says:

    Love 2 win!

  • stvannatter says:

    I have a winner. Illene Stewart son the copy of Second Time Around. Congrats! I appreciate JoAnn for being here and everyone who stopped by.

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