Joyce DiPastena is our resident medieval expert. Her love of the middle ages vividly comes through in the details of her novels, Loyalty's Web, Illuminations of the Heart, and Dangerous Favor.
What is your favorite line, scene, or character from one of your books and why?
"I am absconding with you, carissima," from Illuminations of the Heart. It's one of my favorite lines, because it literally came out of nowhere when I wrote it. I never saw it coming, it was just suddenly there on the page. It is a symbol to me of how the greatest delight of writing is the unexpected things your characters think up to do.
Why do you write in the genre you do?
That's always been a mystery to me. I don't really know why I love writing about the Middle Ages. I remember as a little girl, I enjoyed pulling out our World Book Encyclopedias and turning to the entry for the Middle Ages and looking at the pictures. Why? I don't know, but from there it was probably inevitable that this is where I'd end up.
What are you working on next?
I have two projects going on at the moment. I'm writing a romance for the character of Acelet from Illuminations of the Heart, and I'm also attempting a novella set some years earlier during Queen Eleanor's Courts of Love.
Do you map out your stories beforehand or do you let the characters direct the story?
My characters prefer to tell me where they want to go, although I have been known on occasion to reign them in and say, "No, you can't do that. Choose something else." After a little resistance, they'll usually obey.
In one word describe the best thing about being an author.
In one word describe the worst thing about being an author.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I knew I wanted to write in high school, but I didn't admit to myself that I actually wanted to be an author (i.e., publish) until the end of my college years.
How do your beliefs shape how/what you write?
I know how much it means to me as a reader to find romantic historicals that aren't filled with bad language, sex, and/or graphic violence, how happy I am when I can close the covers on a book and still feel as if my mind is "clean." And I know how very difficult it can be to find such books today. That is one of my greatest desires as an author, to provide an entertaining, well told story that is also a "safe" read.
What's the last book you finished? Letters in the Jade Dragon Box, by Gale Sears
What's on your nightstand now? Fires of Jerusalem, by Marilyn Brown. I'm trying to read my way through the historical novel finalists for the 2012 Whitney Awards.
Which author (dead or alive) would you most like to have lunch with?Georgette Heyer. Someone who could write such laugh-out-loud dialogue scenes in her books would surely be a delight to lunch with!
Book you read that you wish you hadn't.
A few months back I read a book called Here Lies Arthur, a retelling of the King Arthur legend. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but there are scenes from that book I'm still trying to forget.
Book that changed your life.The scriptures? But everyone will probably say that. I'd have to say that Georgette Heyer's books most influenced my desire to write, so in that respect, I guess they changed my life.
If they were to make a movie of your favorite book, who would play the leads and why?
I don't know. I never picture actors for any of the books I read or write. I guess I'm content with my own imagination.
Book you most want to read again for the first time.
I was actually reflecting just the other day on how excited I remember being when I read the Book of Mormon for the first time. Meeting all those wonderful men and women for the first time, living their stories with them... Of course, the years have deepened my understanding of and love for that wonderful book, but sometimes I think it would be nice to be able to experience the thrill of that first reading again.
What book would you give to a child?Any book that had a parent attached to it to read the book to them. I think there are few greater gifts a parent can give a child than to read with them. The memories will truly be timeless. I know, because my mother read to me.