Dana Watson is a native of Norfolk, VA. She is employed full time as the Youth Violence Prevention Coordinator for The City of Hampton. Her background includes working in the criminal justice system, foster care, and the nonprofit sector. She has a bachelor’s degree in Human Services and three Master degrees in Education, Human Service Counseling, and Practical Theology. She is also a Certified Health Coach and is the owner of Elev8te Health & Wellness, providing holistic services. In October 2013, She was licensed in the ministry and ordained as an Elder in November 2019. She enjoys ministering through the word, song, and dance. During her free time, she enjoys writing and giving back to the community. She is the published author of “Because He Loves Me” and a contributing author of “I’m a Praying Wife”. She is also the founder of Project HEART. HEART stands for Healing, Empowering, Affirming, Restoring, and Transforming!! Dana has a desire to coach and provide services to women and men who are ready to escape abusive relationships. She has volunteered her time facilitating groups at Deerfield Correctional Center for women and the Norfolk Detention Center. She is currently volunteering as the Support Groups Coordinator and facilitates healing groups for the O.A.T. Foundation. Most recently, in 2020, she was nominated as a Feminine Freedom Distinguished Honoree.
Dana is on a mission to rebuild one heart at a time, as she is best known for advocating for domestic violence victims, facilitating healthy relationships classes, and ministering to the youth of Norfolk, VA. She has committed herself to the Lord and has successfully turned her pain into purpose. Her favorite scripture verse is Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”
“My books are books of hope. I mainly target women who have experienced abuse, separation, and divorce. We sometimes put all of our faith in men and we sometimes experience pain and betrayal. But, I want to remind my sisters that God will see them through and there is hope in God. I pray that these women will receive healing through my stories.”
BLAQVERSITY MAGAZINE: How did your journey as an author began?
DANA WATSON: I authored my first book in 2014, after God told me to tell my story of domestic violence. I was a young, single mother who was involved in a toxic relationship and it was no one but God who delivered me. My first book is a fictional book, inspired by true events. I changed the characters names and added some content to make it more interesting, and I’ve enjoyed writing ever since.
BLAQVERSITY: Was becoming a writer something you always wanted to pursue? Who motivated you?
DANA: No, prior to 2014, I never had a desire to write. God motivated me to tell my story. I was able to turn my pain into purpose. The same year I became an author, I also founded Project H.E.A.R.T. to help women and men transition from domestic violence and toxic relationships.
BLAQVERSITY: What are some of your favorite authors out right now?
DANA: T.D. Jakes, Toni Morrison, Ryan Phillips, Nina Corbett, and Iyanla Vanzant
BLAQVERSITY: Since becoming a published author, what challenges have you faced if any?
DANA: I have not really experienced writers’ block, but I have noticed that my second book is taking longer than my first book. I think keeping the motivation up to complete the book has been my biggest challenge right now. I would also like to add that trying to make sure I have enough pages and keeping the book exciting for my audience can be challenging as well.
BLAQVERSITY: How many books have you written? What is your genre?
DANA: I have written one self-published book and was a contributing author for one book. My genre is Christian Nonfiction/drama/romance. However, the book I contributed to was a Christian book of prayers for praying wives.
BLAQVERSITY: What message do you want your readers to take away when reading your books?
DANA: My books are books of hope. I mainly target women who have experienced abuse, separation, and divorce. We sometimes put all of our faith in men and we sometimes experience pain and betrayal. But, I want to remind my sisters that God will see them through and there is hope in God. I pray that these women will receive healing through my stories.
BLAQVERSITY: Do you have any writing tips/suggestions for any new author who wants to write their book but doesn’t know where to start?
DANA: I found that the first process of writing is different for everyone. I tried to do an outline for my writing, but that method did not work for me. I started with opening my lap top and just typing whatever my imagination gave me. My suggestion is that you put yourself in your readers’ shoes. If you were on the other side of that book, what would you want to picture, what would you want to hear as you read the book? Become the characters and have fun with it.
BLAQVERSITY: Are you currently working on any new book projects? If so, when can we expect them to be released?
DANA: Yes, I am working on my second self-published book, “Man of Deception”. I am actually wrapping up my last chapters and will hopefully have it released in summer 2020.
BLAQVERSITY: What does being an author mean to you?
DANA: Being an author means I am my own story-teller. No one can tell my story better than me, be it fictional or non-fictional writing. I get to be creative and live through the characters, where at times, I am only sharing my own personal life experiences.
BLAQVERSITY: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
DANA: Five years from now I would like to be known as a Christian Drama/Romance writer. I would love to have one of my books become a screenplay. Hopefully, I would have released two more books five years from now.
BLAQVERSITY: Have you ever thought about being an author full-time?
DANA: I actually write as a hobby. It is therapeutic for me. However, if I had the time to be a full-time author I would do it.
BLAQVERSITY: If you could co-author with any author in the world, who would it be and why?
DANA: I would love to co-author with T.D. Jakes or Ryan Phillips. I love how they both have turned their books into movies, and that is my dream. In addition, TD Jakes is a Pastor, but he has not allowed that to prevent him from keeping it real of what many women have experienced; abuse, molestation, church hurt, and so much more. He uses fictional characters to tell stories and always reminds us that God is still with us.
BLAQVERSITY: Tell us about your marketing strategies as an author? Do you find it to be challenging at times when promoting your books?
DANA: I signed up for the marketing package with Xulon Press; however, marketing and sales were still a challenge through that outlet. I find myself promoting my own book via social media, especial during Domestic Violence Awareness month, and I’ve set up vendor tables. I am often asked to speak at different functions on domestic violence and I have used that platform to promote my book.
BLAQVERSITY: How can readers connect with you and support you?
DANA: My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and I also have a page on Facebook, Project H.E.A.R.T. My book, “Because He Loves Me”, is currently on Amazon, Xulon Press Store, and Barnes and Noble online store. I can also be contacted to facilitate educational workshops and speaking engagement inquiries at 757-367-5543
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