Posted in Interview

Interview of Dana Pratola

Ms. Pratola,

  thank you so much for being willing to be interviewed on my blog!

    What led you to write The Covering?

God. I mean He didn’t issue an order, LOL, just put the desire there and somehow it led to the importance of intercessory prayer and then to Tessa and Gunnar.

   When you started writing The Covering, did you plan out the twists and turns or were you as surprised as the reader as the novel unfolded?

Neither and both. I didn’t consciously plan everything out but once I started, things just naturally fell into place. It’s a gift from God when that happens.

    Gunnar is a very intense character with a heavy past, what or who was your inspiration for him?

I’ve never personally met anyone like Gunnar =-)  But people like him are everywhere – damaged to the point that they don’t see their own worth. I think he’s representative of folks who are broken and just trying to make their way through. Some are angry at people, at God and at life, and some of them are afraid to hope there’s anything better, and don’t think they’re worthy of it if there is.

    In The Covering, Tessa leaves her job as a lawyer and pursues opening a B&B, what led you to choose this new career?

Two things: 1) write what you know, LOL. I’ve been a housewife (is that still an accepted term?) for 26 years so I know about cleaning, remodeling, etc.  2) Tessa’s a nurturer and loves to take care of people so an inn seemed logical to me.

   If there is one thing you want your readers to take away from The Covering, what would it be?

That God isn’t mad at them. If you have issues (and who doesn’t?) He wants to help. He’s always waiting for us to reach out no matter what we’ve done, are doing, or ever will do. Jesus paid it all so we don’t have to. We are worthy because He is worthy. Too preachy? Sorry, it’s all I’ve got, lol.

  Do you have anything new that we can look forward to?

I’ve just finished book one of a series (as yet untitled). I’m really excited to get it out there. I’m also working on many other projects.

 Again, thank you, Ms. Pratola! My review can be found here:

Posted in Historical

Lynn Austin’s Wonderland Creek

 Lynn Austin is a fantastic author. I’ve read almost everything she has ever written. My personal favorite is her Civil War series, but I’ll be doing a week on American War novels later this year and talk about those then (and yes there is another one coming out this year!). Wonderland Creek is no exception. If I had to compare it to another book I would say it’s like Christy by Catherine Marshall, but with more humor. This book is not as romantic as I usually like, but it’s a good story.

The story starts off with Alice who keeps her head in books so much that she misses out on life (um…sounded a little familiar), but then she is thrown into a situation where she has to put the book down and be involved. It is only then that she learns that God is not some idea in theory but a God in actuality. There is also a situation in the book that shows how bitterness can fester, causing you to do things you never thought you would do. It’s a great book, with a great takeaway.

Does anyone else have a favorite of Ms. Austin?

Posted in Historical

Julie Klassen’s The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

If I had to pick the best regency novelist of this day and age I would pick Julie Klassen. Regency is hard to do. I think it requires a lot of reasearch because the little things matter. If anybody has read Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer they completely understand. Well, Julie Klassen gets the little things right. Every book she has written I enjoy, but today I’m featuring The Maid of Fairbourne Hall. This book is so enthralling, and the romance so sweet. Margaret Macy (the heroine), a socialite who lives in a bad situation, flees home disguised as a maid. The book is as much about her changing as her falling in love. There’s even a little mystery thrown in. The book walks you through Margaret’s awakening to know God as she interacts with people she never paid attention to before. Great read and I’m looking forward to Ms. Klassen’s new book.

Does anyone have a favorite regency book or author that’s different than Ms. Klassen?

Posted in Historical

Ruth Axtell Morren’s Wild Rose

Today I’m doing another oldie, but a goodie. Ruth Axtell Morren has written a lot of books, but in my opinion, her best books were the first ones that came out, specifically Wild Rose. A good romance is a novel that has development, you can see the two people become friends, learn to respect each other, and slowly fall in love. This book does that so well. Geneva, the heroine, is so likeable from the start and you only want to see what happens next where she’s concerned. Captain Caleb is a man wronged, and at first he wants nothing to do with anyone, but eventually he let’s the grace of God deal with the pain and eventually forgives the wrong-doer (difference between Christian and secular heros!).

This book is really good, and has a follow-up (different couple, same town). I also recommend Winter is Past. Ms. Morren has a new book coming out and I have already pre-ordered it, so I highly recommend her. Has anyone else read her books? Got a favorite?

Posted in Contemporary

Charles Martin’s When Crickets Cry

There is fiction and then there is literature. I’ve always thought of fiction as a story and literature was just finely crafted words. I’m not a big fan of literature. Then I read Charles Martin. I’m pretty sure Mr. Martin doesn’t market himself as literature, but his writing is pure poetry mixed with a good story. Today, I’m featuring When Crickets Cry which is one of my favorite books by Charles Martin. It is tied with Chasing Fireflies. Wrapped in Rain and The Mountain Between Us are close seconds. He has written other books which I enjoy as well, so I definitely recommend reading any and all of his books. When Crickets Cry is a story about a man who has a gift, yet a mistake in his past has caused him to hide that gift. But then he meets a little girl who needs his gift. Sound evasive? I don’t want to give anything away.

One of the things I appreciate about Charles Martin’s books is the importance he places on marriage in his all his books. It’s a key theme. Families are vital and relationships are life. Charles Martin doesn’t really write for the “Christian” market anymore, but you cannot read any of his books and not feel his faith.

Has anyone else read any of his books? Which one is your favorite and why?

Posted in Interview

Interview of Becky Wade


Thank you so much for willing to be interviewed on my newly minted blog.

Sure!  Thank you for having me.

I’m so excited!

What inspired you to write My Stubborn Heart?  First, the Lord’s urging.  Seven years after I’d ‘retired’ from my career as an author, I sensed Him calling me to write again, this time for Him and His glory.   I thought, “Really Lord?!?  I’m a full time mom with three kids and a house I already can’t keep clean!”  He assured me that I had heard Him correctly and that I could do it (with His help).  Just that suddenly, I wanted to sit down at my computer and fill pages.  I longed to write.  I loved the time I spent working on my manuscript. 

The story told within the pages of My Stubborn Heart sprang from a single inspiration — Matt Jarreau.  I imagined a man swallowed by grief after the death of his wife.  I imagined him leaving his career as a professional athlete.  I imagined him returning to his small hometown to hide from life.

Was there someone or something that made you think of the character of Matt Jarreau?  Yes.  I knew from the outset that I wanted to write a book about healing.  That goal led me to the idea of a wounded hero.  I didn’t want my hero’s wounds to be physical, only emotional.  Which in turn led me to the idea of a hockey player.  I was fascinated by the idea of a man tough enough on the outside to flourish in the brutal and competitive sport of hockey and yet so tender-hearted on the inside that the loss of his wife would devastate him to his core.  It interested me – that juxtaposition.

Throughout the novel, I admired Kate’s boldness and outgoing personality, when you started writing this book, did you know she would turn out this way?  Yep!  Once I had Matt clear in my mind, I thought to myself, “What kind of woman does this guy need?”  I knew Kate would have to be very persistent, funny, warm, and confident in order to reach Matt. 

Kate doesn’t meet Matt until she’s 31, when you chose her age were you writing from experience or just creativity?  Creativity.  God introduced me to my husband when I was in college, so I married young.  However, plenty of my friends and one of my sisters waited until later to marry.  I learned from their experiences as they waited on God for the one

Also, an author simply must have the ability to sink into the hearts and minds of her characters.  By God’s grace, I’m able to do that with all my heroes, heroines, and secondary characters.  I had no problem ‘becoming’ Kate, putting myself in her shoes, getting in sync with her feelings about her singlehood.

So one of my favorite people in the book was Morty. I appreciated his willingness to do what it takes to get what he wants. What was the inspiration behind him?  Both sets of my grandparents were married more than fifty years.  My parents and my husband’s parents have been married more than forty.  I’m deeply inspired by loves that last a lifetime and also by loves shared by couples who find each another during their golden years.  It’s one thing to see two teenagers in love.  That’s lovely!  But to see two seventy somethings in love?  There’s a wonderful depth to that relationship, a sweetness.  Those qualities inspired me to write Morty’s story.

If there was one thing you would want your readers to take away from your novel, it would be….  How about three things?  🙂  I’d like for them to take away the reassurance that God hasn’t forgotten His lost ones.  That He hears and answers ours prayers.  And that He has the power to heal even the most broken of hearts.

Thank you Ms. Wade! My review can be found here:

Posted in Contemporary

Kendra Norman-Bellamy’s A Love So Strong

 So this book is a few years old, but I wanted to review it anyway. This is Kendra Norman-Bellamy’s A Love so Strong. It’s one of the few romance novels where the couple is already married from the beginning. Yet, it is still very romantic. The husband Brian is really something special. He really loves his wife Nicole and it comes through in every way. Of course a wrench is thrown into their marriage, but both deal with it as graciously as possible. The book is a little predictable, but its so cute you can’t find fault with it.

One thing I really enjoyed about the book was that the couple had such strong ties to their church and to their community. They didn’t go through the trial alone, their church family was there the whole time praying, supporting, and loving them through it. I look forward to reading more by this author.

Posted in Contemporary

Dana Pratola’s The Covering

 The Covering was a fun book. That may sound weird since it deals with such serious topics, but honestly I became so engrossed in the novel and just enjoyed the story. It starts off with Tessa interceding for someone, but she doesn’t know who. And then he shows up on the scene. Gunnar is great. He’s obviously hurting, being hounded by demons, but still he is a great character. The tension between the characters was intense and I so enjoyed them that for days I would pick up my kindle and just reread parts.

One of the best things I like about this book is that it exemplifies the power of prayer. I like that Tessa literally prayed her husband into the kingdom of God. The Covering itself relates to the idea that someone’s prayers can cover, or protect you. Tessa wasn’t the first one praying for Gunnar, but her prayers were still needed. What a great point. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Pratola writes next.

Posted in Historical

Tracy Higley’s Garden of Madness

 Ms. Higley writes the best books about ancient cities. In fact, I’m almost always spouting off facts about the ancient world based off of her books (no pressure!). In Garden of Madness you have suspense, intrigue, romance, sorcery, and secrets. This book gives a rendition of what could of happen when King Nebuchadnezzar lived like a beast for seven years. What a unique and fun concept. If you have read Ms. Higley’s other books, you won’t be surprised that spirtual warfare is a must since the worship of false gods and demons was so prevalent in those days (and perhaps in ours as well). Tiamat, the heroine, has to choose whether she will serve God or one of the Babylonian gods. One of the things that I love about this book is that God isn’t crippled. In the ancient world people really had faith. Today, I think we intellectualize our way out of faith ( I step out of the pulpit now).

The romance is between Tiamat, King Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter, and her late husband’s brother Pedaiah. Can’t get anymore exciting than that! The book was a page-turner and I look forward to what Ms. Higley writes next!