Today’s guest is Nicole Reardon from JoAnn Durgin’s third Christmas Holiday Extravaganza novella set in Starlight, Iowa.
Nicole, thank you for talking with us. Readers first met you briefly in Jake Marston’s story, Meet Me under the Mistletoe. Now, we find that your hard work has taken you to Des Moines, Iowa and an enviable career. Would you please share a little about your life with us?
Thank you for inviting me to be your guest today. It’s great to be here and share with your readers. Since I was a teenager, I had dreamed of a career in broadcast television. However, I knew I needed to leave my small town in order to pursue my professional goals. I started working with a television affiliate in Des Moines four years ago, quickly moved up the ranks, and I was made a weekend anchor within a year. I was named as the co-host of a morning talk show, Wake Up, Des Moines!, a little over a year ago. My co-host on the show, Colin Young, is a constant source of amusement and he’s very protective of me. In many ways, Colin’s my best friend, and I simply adore him.
You are a very giving and caring person, and I’m happy that I could get to know you better in Sleigh Ride Together With You because in Meet Me under the Mistletoe, I think you’re a bit misunderstood. I’d like to know if anything happened in your life to change you in the four years since you’ve left Starlight.
To be perfectly honest, I’ve grown up. Living on my own has taught me, perhaps by necessity, some invaluable life lessons. For one thing, I’ve tried to bloom where God has planted me. I’ve found great joy and a sense of personal fulfillment in regularly helping at a downtown mission in Des Moines. Being able to help others less fortunate is a way for me to share the many blessings the Lord has bestowed upon me.
My mother is in a nursing center and suffers from Alzheimer’s. Every week I send her flowers and I try to visit as much as I can. It’s difficult because Mom doesn’t remember me. She continually asks for my Grandma Camille to come and visit her, but Grandma died a number of years ago. My father abandoned our family when I was thirteen, and that crushed my self-esteem and made me leery of trusting others, especially men. In some ways, I believe his leaving forced both my mom and me to become much more self-sufficient, independent and strong. But while I think it helped me in the long-term, it had the opposite effect on my mom. I realize I might sound like an emotional mess, but I’ve also learned that people are the same everywhere in the world. Being on a bigger show, living in a bigger city, doesn’t necessarily guarantee or equate with success or make me happier. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that my professional success doesn’t define me. Faith, family, home and love. Those are the things that matter most in my life.
When I met Alex Kingsfield and discovered he was from the network, I’ll admit to being wary and suspicious of his motives. As it turns out, Alex coming to the station has brought a fresh perspective and great romance into my life. He’s taught me to trust again and to seek out the good in others.
You’ve carried a heavy load for someone so young. How do you handle a high-stress job as a morning show co-host and the additional stress of caring for a loved one?
The show can be stressful, but it’s a good kind of stress. Perhaps because of some of the things I’ve gone through in my life, I approach the inevitable difficulties in a different manner from most people. What I consider to be a small blip in life might seem almost overwhelming to others. I pray a lot, and I talk to the Lord the same as I do with Colin (except without all the teasing). Being able to lay my troubles, insecurities, and fears at the foot of the Savior is an unbelievable comfort for me.
Alex Kingsfield is definitely the hero-type, but I’d like to know what you think it takes to be a romantic hero.
Thank you, and I think so, too! Colin and I had a fun discussion about that very thing when I interviewed a romance author on our show. She clammed up and I finally sparked her interest when I asked about her latest hero, Slade Stonehenge. The name makes me smile, and he’s the stereotypical romance hero: strong, masculine, romantic, physically impressive, perfect and there’s virtually nothing he can’t do. That’s not real life. A real life hero is someone who takes the time to listen, really listen, to everyone, no matter their age or station in life. He loves with a selfless, deep passion, and he’s willing to fight for love. When I tried to push Alex away because of my lingering trust issues, he made it clear he wasn’t going anywhere. To me, that was very heroic. Alex is also a very handsome and giving man, so I am blessed.
Is there a verse or scripture that has helped you to excel and to be the successful woman that you are today?
One verse that I’ve always loved, and that I often share with others, is this one from 2 Timothy 1:7: For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. (NASB)
The Lord doesn’t want us to be afraid to reach for our dreams. We need to do our part in getting the required education and experience, but we also need to be mindful of the One who is our greatest friend and can help us achieve those dreams. Sometimes, God answers our prayer or leads us in a completely different direction than we expect. In any case, the journey can be very exciting if we just allow Him to take the reins instead of trying to control everything on our own.
Thank you for allowing me to share with you! Blessings to all for a Merry Christmas!
More About Sleigh Ride Together With You:
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?
About Meet Me Under the Mistletoe:
Jacob Marston, Starlight, Iowa’s hometown hero made a long-ago promise to the Lord: he won’t kiss a woman until he knows she’s “the one.” Now at age twenty-eight, the rugged firefighter questions if it’ll ever happen. Then, he meets his best friend’s sister, and Jake believes he’s found the woman of his dreams. But what will she think when she discovers his vow?
When Julia makes an unexpected confession on Christmas Day, Jake shares his secret with her, and it looks as though happily-ever-after will make a holiday appearance.
But somehow, everyone in the tiny town of Starlight learns Jake’s secret, and he’s instantly transformed from town hero to laughingstock. Did Julia reveal his secret? Can Jake forget the humiliation and find his way under the mistletoe to share a forever kiss with Julia?
About Starlight, Star Bright:
Dante Moretti, Texas-born goalie of an Italian World Cup champion team, expects Starlight, Iowa will be only a blip on the radar of his life. Grabbing a quick meal at Barney’s Diner during the holidays, Dante meets two women who capture his heart in very different ways. Then his rental car won’t start and leaves him stranded. Does the Lord have a plan for bringing him—and keeping him—in Starlight?
Amanda Marston is excited to be home for her brother’s wedding. When she drops in for a cup of coffee at Barney’s, she’s charmed by the mysterious, Italian-spouting cowboy. Before she can blink, the handsome stranger is helping with projects all over town and working his way into her heart. Does God have a plan for Dante in her beloved little Starlight or will he take her heart with him when he returns to Italy?
About the Author:
JoAnn Durgin is the author of five novels (and counting) in the popular Lewis Legacy Series, as well as Catching Serenity, and Echoes of Edinburgh, and the Starlight Christmas Series: Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, Starlight, Star Bright, and Sleigh Ride Together with You. JoAnn lives with her husband and three children in southern Indiana and loves to hear from her readers at www.joanndurgin.com or www.facebook.com/authorjoanndurgin.