October Featured Guest: Maurice Prater (USA)

 

1. Do you consider your Business Administration Master Degree as having laid the foundation for your different jobs within the Catholic Church?

Yes, very much. Since 1999, I have been involved in a variety of business-oriented roles: communications, development, fundraising, stewardship, mission advancement. Because a nonprofit has limited resources, my career has always involved a combination of responsibilities, not just a focus in one area. But, that’s what I like!

2. What are some of the biggest challenges you have experienced, as a Catholic author, because of the latest turmoil within the Church and the Pope?

It’s depressing. There always seems to be some kind of sexual or financial scandal in the news. The challenge is to stay focused and look at the big picture. Scandals come and go, but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I’m working to please the Lord, not worldly churchmen.

3. You are a member of the prestigious Catholic Writer’s Guild. What are some of the advantages of belonging to such groups? Why did you choose this group among all the other Catholic and non-Catholic groups available?

I chose the Catholic Writer’s Guild because they offer a Seal of Approval for books that are faithful to the teachings of the Church. When I was editing the Holy Family Prayer Book for the Missionaries of the Holy Family, I learned about the Guild through a friend in Saint Louis. If a book has an Imprimatur, and all three of my children’s books do, a Seal of Approval is not necessary. But, this is just one service they offer. The Guild members help to promote each other’s books, and we partner with the Catholic Marketing Network, which promotes Catholic bookstores.

4. How did you choose the theme and topic of the Family Moment videos you were responsible for producing and which aired periodically at the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN)? Challenges and rewards related to the production?

The theme was easy, Family Life, because I am the advancement director for the Missionaries of the Holy Family who promote the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as the standard of holiness for all families. The topics were chosen based on what each month is dedicated to in the Church year. For example, October is Respect Life Month and the Month of the Holy Rosary. So our October Family Moment video was about praying the Rosary as a family for a Culture of Life, based on the Rosary meditations found in the Holy Family Prayer Book. This book, by the way, is available in English and Spanish. The biggest challenge to creating these videos was having them meet EWTN’s high standards of quality and fidelity to Church teachings. Our first video was rejected, and we were crushed! But we eventually, by trial and error, settled into a format that flowed with EWTN’s programming.

Another challenge was being limited to covering the topic thoroughly within a two-minute timeframe. It was rewarding, though, to see our videos played on EWTN, the largest Catholic media network in the world. It was a stamp of approval. But, it almost didn’t happen at all! Before production could begin, EWTN wanted an endorsement from a bishop or cardinal, and Cardinal Raymond Burke came through for us. He was familiar with the Missionaries of the Holy Family when he was Archbishop of Saint Louis.

5. Now let us talk with Maurice, the children’s book author. You team up with the same illustrator to publish your three books with Divine Providence Press. What are some of the dos and don’ts when choosing the publisher and the illustrator for your genre?

Unless you are a big name in the world of Catholic publishing, the hard part is not finding the right publisher. The hard part is finding a publisher willing to take a chance on you! Divine Providence Press is an imprint of Wiseblood Books. The founder is Dr. Joshua Hren, and we just hit it off from the beginning, the chemistry was right. Joshua’s wife Brittney is also a big influence in running the publishing house. Choosing the illustrator was easy because I did not have to choose! Jason Koltuniak was chosen by Joshua and Brittney, and Jason’s illustrations make the text come alive. He’s brilliant. It’s critical, right? Picture books, for the most part, are all about the pictures, so the illustrations must take the vision and turn it into a reality.

6. You started that journey in 2014 with the publication of Counting on Faith. A clever way to teach children to count while learning their Catholic Faith. How are teachers, catechists, and parents reacting to your book?

Counting on Faith is simple, yet profound. It goes deeper than other Christian counting books. It’s more than just counting sheep, counting stars, and so forth. Each number, one through ten, represents an important truth found in Sacred Scripture. For example, the number nine refers to the nine choirs of angels. Scriptural references are included in the back of the book as an encouragement for family members to get back to the roots of their faith. People will often say that they learned something new, right along with their children and grandchildren.

7. In 2018, you released Saved by the Alphabet. However, now the emphasis is shifted from numbers to letters. Children learn their ABCs while getting to know a person in Sacred Scripture who plays a role in our history of salvation. Do you envision these books as a cornerstone to find positive role models in a world of chaos?

Absolutely. Positive role models are becoming harder to find, unless one cracks open the Bible, which is full of heroes and heroines! There are many more characters in the Old Testament than the New Testament, but I evened it up, with half the people coming from each Testament. There are also more male characters than female in Sacred Scripture, but I added in the heroines as much as possible. For example, how could we ever forget God’s masterpiece, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the mother of Jesus Christ and our spiritual mother too? Saved by the Alphabet is balanced, appealing to both boys and girls.

8. In 2020, during the peak of the Covid-19 Pandemic, you brought hope and added color to the world with the release of What Color is Heaven? Children learn about the colors in God’s creation, while strengthening their spirits in such uncertain times in which we are living.  Has this book fulfilled your expectations and mission?

Yes, but opportunities became limited because of less and less public events. It’s okay in a way since we are challenged to become more creative in reaching our audience. I am hopeful that life will become somewhat normal again. Did you know that blue is the color of faithfulness? Children will learn this and more in What Color is Heaven? In a way, this book is more symbolic than the other two, but it is still practical because while children are learning their colors, they will also begin to understand how colors relate to our faith and the Word of God.

9. How do you keep the text simple and engaging for your young target audience?

It is always good to have proofreaders, and Joshua and Brittney are parents of young children, so they make for great proofreaders. Be open to ideas. Illustrators are often a good source of advice. I have made changes based on the suggestions of artist Jason Koltuniak. Collaboration is key. Also, I try to remember what it was like when I was a child. Children take everything so literally, and then there comes this epiphany when they learn that words can have more than one meaning.

10. Will there be a companion audiobook in the near future?

There is no plan at the moment, but this would ultimately be a decision made by the publisher. It probably would be difficult because these are picture books, and children need to see and be captivated by the illustrations.

11. Where can our readers buy your books?

Ask for them at your local bookstore! Otherwise, the books are available through Divine PAsk for them at your local bookstore! Otherwise, the books are available through Divine Providence Press at www.divineprovidencepress.com, Amazon, Catholic Supply, and the EWTN Religious Catalogue at 1-800-854-6316.

12. How can our readers reach you to schedule book readings?

Please call me at 314-599-3627, or send an email to mauriceprater@hotmail.com, or write to me at 3014 Oregon Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63118-1412.

13. A word of advice for parents and educators to nurture the seed of faith in young children?

The Bible is fun! It is rich in numbers, heroes and heroines, and colors. Some of the first things children learn are how to count, their ABCs, and colors. They can do this and learn about their faith from Sacred Scripture at the same time. I have three books that prove it can be done: Counting on Faith, Saved by the Alphabet, and What Color is Heaven?

God bless your family!

September Featured Guest: SARS-CORONAVIRUS2 (SARS-CoV-2)

 

 

A note from the author:  

When the Pandemia began, a series of inspirational and motivational videos were traveling the net. Several of those videos had a pivotal effect on my creativity which sparked two chats and an official interview with SARS-CoV2. To write the interview questions, I researched several reliable and credible sources like the World Health Organization (WHO) and other virologist sites to ensure the facts in the answers were correct.  I listed those reference sources at the end of the interview.

During the interview, SARS-CoV-2 shares with my readers the peculiarities about his origin, his name, infection transmissions, and the way it had helped us to regain our lost humanity.

Even though this interview was already published in June, 2020, simultaneously with another of my featured guest, I decided to give SARS-CoV2 a last month in the spotlight before archiving it. 

Although a work of fiction, creative liberties give the final touch to it.  Food for thought for those who dare.

Enjoy the journey!

#######

Welcome to Time with Tannia, SARS-CoV-2. For our interview I chose a quiet, isolated place in the forest as not to be disturbed. I ask you to please keep your answers informative but simple, so any person without a scientific background can enjoy getting to know you close and personal. Thanks.

1.) TEOL: To clarify some misunderstandings about you, how would you describe yourself?

SARS-CoV-2: Finally, somebody is giving me the opportunity to define myself. Our journey together during this interview begins with a brief scientific explanation. Then I would appreciate if we talked about myself as a viral being. I enjoy the latter as it makes other viruses jealous of my virality ranking.

From the scientific perspective, I am the large Corona viruses family newest and most prominent member. We are known for causing respiratory infections, both in animals and humans. We are versatile and flexible about our contribution to science. It might sounds arrogant to you, but that’s how it is. We keep your scientists busy searching for all types of cures. For instance, we are responsible for the common cold and some more severe diseases like MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.)

My official virus name is SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome corona virus 2). The disease name, which is how you humans classified your immune system reaction to my presence, and my celebrity acronym is COVID-19 (previously known as 2019 novel corona virus.) It is exasperating to hear how so many alleged experts are totally clueless about the difference.

2.) TEOL: Take advantage of this unique opportunity to enlighten us about the misapplication of your names.

SARS-CoV-2: Let us search the Epidemiology Archives to untangle the confusion. I will rephrase the explanation from the World Health Organization (WHO). We viruses are named based on our genetic structure, so virologists and the wider scientific community can easily develop diagnostic tests, vaccines and medicines. We are named by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).

The diseases we cause, however, are named to facilitate discussion on disease prevention, spread, transmissibility, severity and treatment. Once the process is completed, we are officially named by the WHO in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

3.) TEOL: I would like you to elaborate and share with our readers the peculiar story of your family name: Corona virus.

SARS-CoV-2: Excellent question! It is an interesting story. Our atypical family name is based on our appearance. By means of an electron microscope, our viral spike peplomers, (proteins S, E, M, and N), give our virions a royal crown-like appearance, hence the Latin name “Corona.” In 1968 a group of virologist published an article and referred to us as the “corona viruses family.” Since then we have created our own reputation based on our travels and the hosts we visited.

4.) TEOL: There are some conspiracy theories about your origin. Some said you originated from a lab in Wuhan, China, while others said you are the result of our Dr. Frankenstein behavior. Which one is correct?

SARS-CoV-2: Conspiracy theories are just that, theories waiting to be debunked. To sort them out, one has to verify the sources and their credibility. If at the end of the journey you find yourself empty handed, then you were either a lousy researcher or the claims were not sustainable without reasonable doubts. Nonetheless, the journey itself will provide food for thought and perhaps the acknowledgment of being ill-prepared for a close encounter with the creator. I will not deprive your readers of such adventure. Let them research and find their Eureka!

5.) TEOL: Now let us talk about your worldwide traveling adventures. You began in Wuhan, China and by now have reached international celebrity status. What is your traveling secret?

SARS-CoV-2: The advantages of globalization are priceless! It is simple, effective, and well-organized. First, I find a host who helps me to travel around unnoticed. I am all inclusive and totally nondiscriminatory when choosing the host. Honestly, I am opportunistic and territorial. I travel either by touch or drizzle.

Since the droplets that carry me are too heavy for long distance airborne traveling, I either need to create “Designated Pick-Up Areas” or glide with the flow. When droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose fall on a surface, it becomes a “SARS-CoV-2 Designated Pick-Up Area.” Once having been picked-up, I enter the body when the face or the nose are being touched and/or the eyes are being rubbed prior to hand washing. Good hygiene habits are essential to prevent unwanted visitors. (wink). Gliding is possible when a subdued person coughs, sneezes or speaks.

However, my preferred method is the “Drizzle Expressway.” By means of this method, I enter my host quicker when procedures or support treatments that generate aerosols are performed.

I am flexible and totally relaxed about the transportation method. Once I have a host, I first go to the throat and nose where I find the perfect and cozy work place. Afterward, I use my useful crown-like spike virions to begin the “conquista” and reproduction process. Once the subduing process is completed, I will then secure myself an strategic distribution center at the alveoli. Once the route has been chosen, I commute via the blood express to other organs. That host is then what you refer to as an infected person. Infected is such a harsh word. I, however, prefer the term “Subdued.”

6.) TEOL: How long does it take until you reach your final destination?

SARS-CoV-2: My globe troting has barely begun. Based on my traveling schedule, it will take about a year. It depends on the comfort of the accommodations. Since not all hosts are welcoming, I have to move on to others who allow me to travel without much hassle.

7.) TEOL: Describe the perfect host

SARS-Co V-2: The perfect host is the one who allows me to travel without interfering. My favorites are: Children and Super-spreaders Both of them are excellent facilitators but for different reasons. Children are perfect hosts and facilitators because their immune system mirrors them: curious, playful, and not fully developed. When I enter their body, they don’t perceive me like a threat but as a play buddy; hence, no emergency action is required. Some children are more susceptible to my visit than other, and although not intended, my presence could be lethal. They are excellent facilitators because they give hugs and kisses which allow me to move on quicker to the next host. Super-spreaders are subdued but show no symptoms which allows me to travel faster unnoticed. Many of them are crowd magnets which is the perfect setting for me to cover a wider territory in less time. (wink)

8.) TEOL: How do you perceive the different mutations of you discovered by scientists?

SARS-Co V-2: Hm, Mutants… First a disclaimer, we are absolutely NON-related with any of your popular fiction mutants books and movies series. We are in a league of our own. Mutants are the family rebels, odd balls, risk takers, visionaries, entrepreneurs that like to go beyond the status quo. Nonetheless, they are vital for the survival of the family. Some of them are successful but others not. The mutations occur during the replication of our RNA letters: A, C, G and U. Depending on the source of the mutation, this will cause some perceivable or silent changes. They make us more flexible and stronger. However, the “Status Quo” are our weaklings which researchers target when creating antiviral drugs. “Mutants” challenge you and take you into unknown creative solutions while “Status Quo” give you hope.

9.) TEOL: Now we will talk about your favorite topic – your “viral being” How does that differ from your scientific existence?

SARS-Co V-2: Thanks for allowing me to describe my true self! You all refer to me as a virus but in reality I am an anthropologist. I am traveling the world, gathering data to bring it to “The Collective” where we will evaluate and measure your progress. It is fascinating to observe the approaches each society has taken to deal with this and past pandemics. In comparison to my friends mortality rates (SARS -10%, MERS-35%, and Ebola +50%), I am harmless, barely 4.5%.

10.) TEOL: What is the “The Collective?”

SARS-Co V-2: “The Collective” is a place where a diversity of viruses and bacteria live. Some collectives are kept in allegedly highly secured laboratories, but even there some security flaws could occur, causing some unforeseen incidents and consequences which lead to a sudden, unplanned traveling experience for some of us. Others live in a harmless co-existence with all sort of creatures.

We are not that much difference from humans. However, from our perspective, you, as a collective, are unique, destructive, and dangerous beings. You could learn something from us; Live and Let Live!

11.) TEOL: How would you like to be remembered?

SARS-Co V-2: Interesting question. I prefer to be remembered as the viral being which gave you back your long forgotten “humanity” and enabled global unity by seeking solutions for a common cause: your survival!

12.) TEOL: A word of advice?

SARS-Co V-2: Imitate me! Accept the life cycle: birth, growth, degeneration, and the fearsome, inevitable death. Be wise and don’t fear mortality, as it is crucial for the survival of the whole. Be flexible and adjust to changes. My adaptability to different hosts and excellent time management allow me to play tag while enticing your scientists. Learn from me to co-exist in harmony with others while respecting the balance of living and non-living ecosystems. Remain focused to be as successful as I am!

I, SARS-Co V-2, even though being misjudged and depicted as a villain am your virus who taught you three valuable lessons. First, life is short and fragile. Second, the importance of family and friends for your well being. Third, love heals all wounds and makes you stronger.

During my travels, I am gifting you time to analyze and refocus your priorities. Integrity, kindness and humanity will lead you to find inner and global peace!

Enjoy the journey and thanks for the interview. Gotta run, my next host just arrived!

 

 

 

References:

https://theconversation.com/how-to-spot-a-conspiracy-theory-when-you-see-one-133574

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronavirus

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance/naming-the-coronavirus-disease-(covid-2019)-and-the-virus-that-causes-it

https://www.oie.int/en/scientific-expertise/specific-information-and-recommendations/questions-and-answers-on-2019novel-coronavirus/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jmv.25681

https://www.zhb.uni-luebeck.de/epubs/ediss1359.pdf

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/30/science/coronavirus-mutations.html

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0820-9

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15609507

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/this-graphic-shows-what-covid-19-does-to-your-body/

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-03-h1n1-flu-covid-pandemics-response.html

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1201971211000245

https://theconversation.com/a-few-superspreaders-transmit-the-majority-of-coronavirus-cases-139950

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/31/health/coronavirus-asymptomatic-transmission.html

https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-a-life-cycle-definition-stages-examples.html

http://www.biologyreference.com/La-Ma/Life-Cycles.html

 

Pre Interview chats:  

Featured Guest Line Up

After a successful 2020 season, 2021 includes a wider variety of guest for your reading delight. 

Mark your calendars and let the fun begin….

January:  Karina Fabian (Science Fiction and Horror, Award-Winning Author – USA)

February: Dawn Monique Edmond (CEO, Author, Ghostwriter, Indie Publisher – USA)

March:  Roger Thomas (Computer Scientist turned into a Semi-Professional Author of both Fiction and Critical Articles.-  USA)

April:  Denise Turney  (Novelist, Public Speaker, Professional Corporate Writer, Editor of The Book Lover’s Haven Newsletter, and Host of the literary radio show, Off the Shelf Books Talk Radio.- USA)

May:  Daniel Friedmann  (Award-winning author, Public Speaker, Physics Engineer and CEO of Carbon Engineering. – Canada 

June: Giselle Roeder  (WWII Survivor, Former East Germany Escapee (DDR), Award-winning Author and Public Speaker – Canada)

July: Steven Gray II (Author and Podcaster – USA)

August: Ellen Prager (Award-winning author, Public Speaker, and Marine Biologist – USA)

September: SARS-CoV2

October:

November:

December: 

 

 

 

 

(Updated June, 2021)

Once the month is over, a PDF copy of the interview including the readers’ comments will be listed in alphabetical order at the Featured Guest Archives.