Interview with Dana Pratola, author of “The Covering”

Blurb :
What do a Christian woman and a heathen biker have in common? The devil, of course.
Tessa is called by God to stand in the gap for a man she’s never met. When she does meet Gunnar, she learns he’s arrogant, unsaved and hostile. But he’s also HOT, lol.  She can’t understand why God would toss her together with a man like him, knowing she would be attracted, so she wonders if it’s a trick of the enemy to make her stumble in her faith. Meanwhile, Gunnar is tormented by demonic visitations and looking for any way out. Killing himself might be the only way to end his miserable existence. But God has other plans.

Tell us something about yourself.
My husband Robert and I recently celebrated our 25th anniversary, though we’ve been together for 30 yrs. I was 16 when we met. If you’re going to do the math, please be kind and don’t round up =-). We live in New Jersey with our 3 fantastic children. I came into a relationship with the Lord at 17 and am endeavoring to spread the message that God isn’t mad at anyone. He loves us.

“The Covering” is your first book. How did you come to write it?
I always loved romance, but frankly, many of the books I’ve read seem to be little more than a framework for sex scenes. That’s not my thing. I believe two people can have a mature, passionate relationship without jumping in bed every chance they get and wanted to show that in a way that comes off as believable, even preferable. As for the premise of the book, intercessory prayer, I don’t think there are many novels that deal with the issue and I wanted to show its function and relevance to today.

Putting Satan himself into a faith-based book is a gutsy thing to do. Did you get any flack about this when seeking a publisher?
No, White Rose Publishing is an Inspirational publisher, and when I contacted Nicola Martinez, she just went for it. I believe spiritual warfare is a fact of life and even if people don’t recognize it as such, they can still relate to the age old struggle of good vs. evil. Of course we’re all responsible for our own actions, but it helps to be aware that sometimes there are outside forces pulling us in a certain direction and that prayer is a powerful weapon in the fight.

How long have you been writing?
As long as I can remember.

What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? Who are some of your favorite authors?

Romance, but that can mean any “dialect”: romantic suspense, paranormal romance, historical romance, etc. I love Jane Austin and Nora Roberts. I recently discovered Deanne Gist and Elosia James. Terrific writers.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Read or watch TV – Psych, Monk or the Big Bang Theory – or old movies on AMC.

Do you have a writing routine, and if so, what is it like?

I WISH I had a routine! My husband is a drum instructor and my two sons are drummers who also play other instruments. If it’s not the noise (sorry guys) around here, it’s Rob’s sporadic teaching schedule. When he’s off and it’s nice out we try to get out of the house and walk in the park or hike through the woods. One day I’ll have a schedule! Yeah, right.

What are you working on now?
I have about 6 books in various stages but I’m focusing on the story of Sophia, a woman suddenly gifted with a spectacular singing voice. It’s about the choices she makes because of the gift, the consequences, and God’s plan through it all.

What do you want readers to take away from your book?
That God is reachable and cares about what happens in our lives. He has a plan for each one of us and we have a choice to follow or not. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT) LOL, too bad I didn’t think of this verse when I was still editing The Covering – I would’ve slipped it in. Maybe the next one 😉

I’m Jewish by upbringing, but I find inspirational fiction can be a great read. Do you think that “non-Christian” readers are reluctant to pick up faith-based books, and if so, what do you think can be done to overcome that?
Speaking for myself, I was often reluctant to pick up a faith-based book because they tended to be sugary sweet, and populated with people who were “so heavenly minded they’re no earthly good.” ( LOL. I don’t know if you’ve heard that expression.) But I believe readers want characters they can identify with, and that means characters who experience temptation and struggle and don’t always make the right choice even when they know they should. People have pasts and characters should too. Fortunately, the genre has come a long way in becoming more “real.” That’s not to say publishers will let anything slide. I had to take quite a few things out before it went to print =-)
I think more needs to be done in the way of showing the similarities between people groups. For example, compassion, forgiveness and the power of prayer are universal, and those are basically the driving forces of The Covering. Oh, and just enough sexual tension, LOL.

Where can readers buy your book?
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_12?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=dana+pratola&sprefix=dana+pratola
White Rose Publishing: http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php
Barnes and Noble.com http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-covering-dana-pratola/1104473665?ean=9781611161014&itm=4

Any last words?
Thanks so much for having me, it was a blast!

Extract:

At the top of the stairs she heard a low groan and hurried to find Gunnar sitting up with her sheet pooled at his waist.

One large bicep flexed as he kneaded the back of his neck. He looked like a man stumbling out of a dream, and
she watched his expressions change, knowing he was trying to piece together the past day’s events. After a few seconds, he glanced down, peeked under the sheet.

“Where are my clothes?”

“My aunt has them,” Tessa said, stopping inside the door.

“Why?”

“You were sweating. She wanted to keep you—oh.” Tessa quickly covered her eyes when Gunnar started to throw back the sheet.

He stopped. “Give me a break. I don’t have anything you haven’t seen before.”

Tessa let her hands fall to her sides, but her cheeks warmed.

Gunnar cocked a brow. “You’re kidding. You’ve never seen a naked man?”

Tessa tipped her chin. “Of course I have.” On TV.

He snickered. “When?”

When she didn’t answer right away she watched that magnificent face go through several more transformations before coming to the logical conclusion.

“Don’t tell me you’ve never—”

“I don’t sleep around.” Intellectually she comprehended there was no reason to be embarrassed.
Quite the opposite. Yet…

“Never?” He pulled the sheet tighter around him. “Ever?”

Tessa exhaled sharply. “Why does it matter?”

“Our patient is up?” Elaine asked, pushing past a grateful Tessa.

“Where are my clothes?” Gunnar asked her.

“In the wash. You’ll have them back soon enough.”

“I have other clothes in my room.”

Ignoring him, Elaine sat on the edge of the bed and gave him a pat on the cheek. “You had some nap. Do you feel any better?”

Gunnar moved his face away. “I don’t nap.”

“I suppose not. I’d say it was closer to a coma, since it’s Saturday,” she countered.

“Saturday?” Gunnar watched Tessa move to the window. “Saturday,” he repeated.

Elaine regarded him with cool eyes. “Tessa is convinced you have the flu, but I’m not. Are you into anything you shouldn’t be?”

“What are you asking me?” he demanded.

Unruffled, Elaine smoothed the sheets under her hand. “You’ve been basically unconscious for almost a full day. Don’t you find that odd?”

“It’s exhaustion,” he said.

“Tessa’s very worried. She watched over you all night.”

“You didn’t have to do that,” he told Tessa.

Elaine cocked a half smile at him. “Do you need anything?”

“Yeah, my clothes. I want to get up.”

She nodded and pursed her lips. “Well it’s a shame to hide all that, but suit yourself.” With an appreciative lift of brows she walked out, with Tessa following close behind.

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10 thoughts on “Interview with Dana Pratola, author of “The Covering”

  1. Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    I think it’s kind of sad that a question about readers choosing a book or not choosing one because religion is a part of it is kind of sad. If a book is written well, “faith-based” or not, it will be about much more than religion, either pro or con. The human condition will be an essential ingredient.

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  2. Donna B Snow

    LOL What a great review, ladies! That is sooo YOU, Dana! I loved the why – the message behind you’re writing. It’s perfect! God does love us all, but no, the sugary sweet Christian story won’t reach most of the unGodly. But this will. It’s characters like this – real characters – that reach out to the lost. Love the story!

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  3. LoRee Peery

    Terrific interview, ladies. I remember being so frustrated over Christian romances that never went deep enough. We live in the world. We are in the midst of constant spiritual battles. We are real, and our characters should reflect that reality. Praise Him for choosing us and for the direct prayer link we have because of our faith.

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