16 April 2012

Interview Lisa Norato

LISA NORATO is the author of Prize of My Heart, an inspirational historical novel set in Massachusetts 1815, and two earlier romances published by Five Star Publishing. I was introduced to LISA through reviewer Marian Baay when Lisa was invited to join the Colonial American Christian Writers (CACW) online group.

LISA, welcome to Overcoming Through Time.  Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?

The hardest period in my life I’ve ever had to endure, with God’s help, was the death of my beloved “Nanny,” my grandmother, Victoria Vannelli.  She lived with my family for many years and was a second mother to me.  She was beautiful, caring, giving woman, filled with God’s love.  Growing up with her in my life, watching her example, definitely made my faith stronger.  She was visited a couple of times throughout her illness by Jesus.  I know with certainty she is enjoying eternal life in heaven, reunited with my grandfather and her family, but it was the cause of her death that was difficult to overcome—liver cancer.

After many years, it is still painful to think about.  Why do good, faith-filled people suffer?  That is a hard question to struggle with.  I don’t think anyone has the answer.  We can only hold onto our faith and trust God.  During one experience of being visited by Jesus, my Nanny explained that Jesus came to her and stood by her bed, but she could only see Him up to just past his knees.  The remainder of His body seemed to vanish.  She questioned why and then told us that she believed it meant she had a little more time, and that when she saw all of Him, then she would go home.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
This is a difficult question to answer.  The thing I love about the Bible is that there are scriptures we as believers can lean on for comfort no matter what our concern, whether large or small.  My Bible is filled with tagged pages and highlighted passages, but if I must choose one, I would say that the scriptures in 2 Chronicles 20:10 are ones I find myself turning to and praying over the most.

In verse 12, when all the armies surrounded Jehoshaphat, he said to the Lord, We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.  When life seems overwhelming or I’m facing a challenge, I pray, “I don’t know what to do, Lord, but my eyes are fixed on you.”

Later, in verse 15, the Lord tells Jehoshaphat, Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but the God’s.  I love this verse!  It reminds me to rest in Him and not be burdened by worries.

And further, in verse 17, God says, You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. . . Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.  I love how the Bible is constantly reminding us to not be afraid or discouraged.  This verse brings me peace and gives me strength, and I turn to it often.

Disability friendliness:
Prize of My Heart is available in trade paperback and in e-book format for all types of e-readers, which allow for the typeset to be the enlarged to the individual reader’s needs.  Kindle also provides audio capability, and I believe most other brands of e-readers do as well.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your book and why?
For all of us, it requires courage to release the hurts and injustices we’ve suffered.  I hope Prize is a reminder to readers of the importance of forgiveness.  Both main characters are faced with situations where they are called upon to forgive, not for the sake of the person(s) they are forgiving, but so they can set themselves free of bitterness and move on with a happy, blessed life.

Overall though, it is my hope readers are left with the positive, inspiring message that, even though we might not see a way for our troubles to work out, God has a way and a plan for our futures.  The Bible says in Romans 8:28 that He can take what others might have meant for our harm and turn it around for good.  I like how The Message explains God’s way of working things out in our lives, “…God’s spirit is right alongside helping us along.  If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter.  He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.  He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition and keeps us present before God.  That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

As you researched your book, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
In my research, I try to read as many first-person accounts and diaries of the period as possible, and what touches my heart the most is that people are alike in their emotions and struggles and faith, no matter what time in history they may have lived.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?  
Throughout the story, my hero, Captain Brogan Talvis, must deal with several issues--the loss of his son, betrayal by his wife and forgiveness for the terrible injustices done to him.  He suffers from the trauma of abuse and humiliation he experienced being raised in a cruel orphan asylum.  He wears his hair longer than is fashionable, because he cannot bear to have a pair of shears anywhere near his head for the way his hair was painfully chopped as punishment.  Memories haunt him, but perhaps even greater than the physical abuse he suffered are the feelings of unworthiness impressed upon him for his ill birth.  He struggles to find the courage to call out to God and to believe that he will be heard, that even he is acceptable to God.

Thank you, LISA, for agreeing to answer these questions.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!
Thank you so much for having me, Carrie!  Blessings to you!

GIVEAWAY:  Leave your comment and email addy to win a copy of PoMH either in pb or ebook.  Drawing is on Saturday, announced Sunday.


  1. I'm looking forward to reading Lisa's novel soon.

    It is clear how much you loved your grandmother and it was obviously painful to watch her battle such a disease. I'm sorry for your loss and yet very glad she is in Heaven and you will see her again.

    Thanks ladies!

  2. What a wonderful and touching interview, CARRIE and LISA. Having lost my mom two years ago this May, LISA, I can certainly identify with your grief. And though, it seems to get easier at times, it is a burden I will always have to bear, though never alone. It is a wonderful assurance that we have as believers, that we will be reunited with our loved ones again someday.

    I loved this book, and the powerful message of forgiveness within its pages. I have had to forgive people in my life for the exact reason that you stated in your interview; not for their sakes but for mine; to enable me to be set free. And it does work! Thank you again for the wonderful interview, ladies.

  3. What a beautiful interview. Lisa, I was moved by your story of your grandmother. How blessed you were to have been so close to her! I love the cover of your book and it looks like it would be an excellent read! Congratulations! I look forward to reading it!

    sherrinda (at) gmail (dot) com

  4. Thank you, Debra, for stopping by with your words of comfort. I appreciate them very much, and yes, praise God, I look forward to the day I see my "Nanny" again in heaven! Amen!

  5. Diana, I'm so sorry for the loss of your beloved Mother. Hugs! That is a hard loss to bear, but thank God, like you said, we have the assurance of seeing them again.

  6. Sherrinda, thank you for stopping in to read the interview and for your thoughtful, kind words. Blessings to you!

  7. SHERRINDA come back and leave your website addy!!! I really like what those gals are doing over there at the Writer's Alley!

  8. DIANA, I am glad you mentioned your anniversary of loss is coming up. My month is June for my mom. LISA, my daughter has struggled with the loss of her grandmother, as they were super close. She looks a lot like her, too, which I find a comfort.

  9. a wonderful posting...thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  10. I loved Lisa's answer about people and their emotions being so similar despite the different time periods they lived/live in. I think that's why historical novels are so enjoyable, because they're interesting but still very relevant!


  11. What a great interview! I'm looking forward to reading Prize of My Heart. If I don't win I'm feeling a trip down to the book store ASAP.


  12. This is a wonderful interview. Thanks LISA for sharing your struggle with the loss of your Nanny.
    It must be a great comfort to know that you will see her again in heaven! What a day that will be...

  13. Carrie, I am so sorry for the loss of your mom. My hugs and sympathies to you and your daughter. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about Nanny. It has been such a comfort to me to share my grief with others who have gone through the same thing.

  14. Hi Karen! Thanks for stopping by and reading. Good luck with the drawing.

  15. Allysa, I agree completely. Thank you for commenting and visiting with me.

  16. Hi Liz! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview and appreciate your interest in Prize of My Heart. Blessings!

  17. Thank you, Marian! Hugs! Amen, what a day....

  18. ALLYSA, welcome to OTT-WGH, I don't think we've seen you here before. We like to read books and encourage one another here. Thanks for coming by.

  19. LISA, that is what makes this "place" different - we want people to fellowship and share and encourage one another in our trials! Thank you for your kind words.

  20. Lisa thanks for sharing with us, it's hard when you lose a loved one. It has been 16 years since I lost my dad. He was sick a very long time before he passed, but it never got him down and he looked forward to going to Heaven, he used to tell us all the time "death ain't no big deal". Can't wait to see him again. :)

    BTW LOVED your book! :)

  21. Carrie, this a great "place" to be!

  22. Teresa, thanks for sharing about your dad. He sounds like a quite a man of faith. I am so sorry for you loss. No matter how much time passes, we still miss them. You'll have to introduce me to him one day when we are all together. Thanks for the kind words about Prize!

  23. Wow, Teresa, your dad does sound like such an inspiration! Hey, I think your review is up tomorrow!

    LISA, I am glad you agree! We like hanging out here and are so blessed by the authors and readers who visit with us!

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  25. I really enjoyed this interview Carrie and Lisa. Your story is in the setting I love the most, historical Massachusetts! Lisa, I think we were practically neighbors with me growing up in Wrentham, MA. Thank you for sharing your heart and especially your favorite verses...very meaningful to me.

  26. SHERRINDA! You are the winner per random.org of the giveaway of my gently used copy of Lisa's wonderful new book. And I do mean very gently used as I bought Kindle and only read the first few chapters on the pb. CONGRATS you WINNER you!


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