Meet Debut Novelist Dana Sudboro

Dana Sudboro writes contemporary romances with an international flavor. E-book publisher White Rose released his novella, Fatima’s Fate, in 2009, and his full-length novel, Continents Apart, in 2010.

Dana and his wife, Kathy, retired from missions in West Africa, now live in Rocklin, California. Their older daughter, Jessica Graustein, a published poet and the managing editor of Folded Word Press, lives nearby with her husband and two children. Their younger daughter, Natalie, after teaching two years in Honduras and three in China, will soon begin a new position at a Christian middle school in South Korea.

When Dana’s wife, Kathy, is not doting on her grandchildren, she pampers flowers in her patio garden. She can sometimes dislodge Dana from his den long enough for a romantic walk or shopping trip or meal. Their romance has flourished forty-six years and counting.

Dana has chosen one of my 3×5 interviews.

I presented him with nine questions about his writing. He was asked to answer 3 of them with 3×5 words (15—or less), 3 with up to 5 bullet points each, and 3 with a maximum of 5 short paragraphs. After that, I asked him three questions with three answers each.

At the end of his interview, he’s asked you one question, and you’ll be able to ask any you have for him. All for fun, and fun for all. 🙂

Dana and His Writing Journey

1. I hear a stuffed animal led to you becoming a writer. What’s the story?

When my Uncle John grew too old to play with Socko—his stuffed panda—Grandma gave me this battered bear, veteran of many wars. I regaled my brothers and sister with stories of Socko’s exploits.

2. Men writing romance are rare. What led you to the genre?

Romance whisks the reader out of an ugly world of cruelty into a beautiful world of wonder. Because that’s what I look for when picking up a novel, that’s what I hope to deliver when picking up a pen. Besides, it’s a metaphor of Jesus. He’s the Prince Charming who rescues us from cinders and shame.

3. What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?

• Lostness as an atheist.
• Social cluelessness as a teenager.
• Falling in love and finding out God was real during a youth retreat at Mount Hermon.
• Spiritual cluelessness as a nominal Christian until getting saved at thirty.
• Missions in Burkina Faso, where God miraculously saved my life twice.

4. What are your sources of inspiration?

• Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
• One hundred and one Grace Livingston Hill novels.
• Dozens of Regency romances
• The Song of Solomon
The Sacred Romance by John Eldredge.

In other words, reading inspires me—from God’s all-time bestseller, the Bible, to thousands of other love stories.

5. Receiving The Call is huge. How did you react to the news?

Thrilled that I would appear in print. I had Kathy snap a photo of my signing the contract.

Note from Keli: It’s evident what a heart Dana has for missions because his initial response to this question wasn’t writing-related at all. Here’s what he said:

Unquenchable joy bubbled up in my heart. I had prayed with a burden for Muslims for five years, ever since attending Dick Eastman’s Change the World School of Prayer. When God said, “You go,” I jumped at the chance.

6. What aspects of writing do you find most rewarding?

Putting the heroine or hero through any crisis of faith I’ve lived through, then fleshing out God’s answer. Especially the journey from existential angst to abject wonder that God is there and deeply cares.

7. What fuels your creativity?

Reading, as I said above. But when I get blocked, I. . .

• Take a walk around the block.
• Breathe the fresh air, view the crepe myrtle, relax.
• Read Monica Wood’s Pocket Muse.
•And mind map.

8. What advice would you offer a new writer?

Network. Join a critique group. Go to conferences. Sign up for a mentoring clinic. We writers need each other, far more than we suspect when first starting out.

9. Who have been the biggest supporters on your writing journey?

Daughter and author Jessica Graustein, critique partners Jennifer Hamilton and Julie Williams, Elizabeth Thompson and other prayer partners of the Inspire Christian Writers, mentors James Scott Bell and Randy Ingermanson. Too many people to name!

3 Fun Questions for Dana

1. Of the various jobs you’ve had, which 3 were your favorites, and why?

Working at Mid-America Teen Challenge: long hours and low pay, but a thrill to see God work miracles in so many men’s lives. Showing the Jesus video to Fulani shepherds in Africa and sharing the gospel with them. Decisions came few and far between, due to their Muslim background, but I danced with the angels every time. Now training eager pastors, praise leaders, and Christian teachers at Epic Bible College. Their love for Jesus is a joy to behold and promises great things for tomorrow’s church.

2. What 3 aspects about life in Burkina Faso brought you the most joy?

African believers’ exuberance in praise and worship, faith for miracles, and prevailing prayer in the midst of persecution and poverty.

3. What are 3 of the most romantic things you’ve done for your wife?

Composing a heart-shaped poem and pasting it on a box of chocolates. Taking her for a wildflower walk in the Sierras. Our upcoming Alaskan cruise.

Please Tell Us About Continents Apart

Odette Peterson has a clear understanding of where the Lord wants her, and that’s in the African missionary field. When she meets veteran missionary, Xavier Sand, she embraces their budding relationship. He’s everything she’s wanted in a man: Christian, kind, and a man who’s dedicated his life to ministry. But when he insists she put aside her evangelization efforts and join him in Japan, she finds she must let Xavier go.

Xavier cannot understand why Odette stubbornly clings to the idea that God wants her in Africa. Missionary, yes, but she can do missionary work anywhere. After all, he does. Despite all his efforts to convince her to change her conviction, she refuses and Xavier finds himself floundering for significance in his life.

Across three continents, and with others vying for their hearts, Odette and Xavier must learn to trust that God knows what’s best for their futures…even if that means they will never be together.

Dana’s Question for You

Where do you go—or what do you read—to escape?

Dana’s Drawing

Dana has generously offered to give away an autographed copy of Continents Apart.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Dana by June 1st and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process.

On June 2nd, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well as in a comment and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.

Congratulations to Lisa Greer, winner of the drawing.

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Prize will be mailed to U.S. addresses only.

Learn More About Dana

Visit his personal blog ~ Dana Sudboro

Visit his group blog ~ Inspire Writers

Friend him on Facebook ~ Dana Sudborough


About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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12 Responses to Meet Debut Novelist Dana Sudboro

  1. Lisa Greer says:

    Dana, your novel sounds wonderful. Congratulations! 🙂

  2. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome, Dana! It’s great to have you as my guest.

    I like to escape into the pages of an inspirational historical romance to another time and place. I also enjoy watching a romantic drama or romantic comedy.

  3. Dana Sudboro says:

    Thank you, Lisa. Although just getting started at retirement, I hope to write many more.

  4. Great interview Keli! I’ve known Dana for years and learned a few fun and interesting things about him here.

    In answer to your question: I escape by reading anything by Susan Meissner, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Like Dana, one of my favorite stories is Bronte’s Jane Eyre–I have the audiobook and three movie versions.

  5. Joanne says:

    Fantastic interview Keli! Dana is a phenomenal writer. LOVED his book. Going now to Tweet this. :O)

  6. Dana Sudboro says:

    Thank you, Joanne.
    PS, I just heard from a fellow missionary in Rwanda. She wants to download the Kindle version from Amazon. News travels fast.

  7. Thom Gagné says:

    Where do I go, what do I read to escape?
    I read history, that is a great escape for me, boring huh, but it informs my perspective, enhances my sense of “God is in charge, mankind is largely clueless” with regard the life we face. We flail about in arrogant missteps, claiming to perceive that which lies before us in darkness, repeating the mistake so of the past, refusing to live honestly in the present.

  8. Thom Gagné says:

    Great to see yr work more closely Dana, I look forward to reading your novels.

  9. Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks to everyone who visited and to those who left a comment for Dana.

    I’ve held the drawing for the autographed copy of Continents Apart that Dana so generously offered as a prize, and the winner is Lisa Greer.

    Congratulations, Lisa! I’ll be in touch.

  10. Lisa Greer says:

    Great! I’m so excited to read your novel, Dana, and I’ll post a review on goodreads when I’m done. Thanks!

  11. Dana Sudboro says:

    Thank you, everyone who read the interview, left a comment or checked out my website. Don’t hesitate to email. Blessings!

Comments are closed.