Get to know you Monday-Joyce DiPastena

Today we are getting to know

1. Do you prefer Chocolate or Vanilla Ice Cream? The best of both worlds…chocolate chip! Cold Stone Creamery French vanilla with chocolate chip and roasted almonds is my favorite version.

2. Where did you grow up? I was born in Salt Lake City, but moved to Arizona when I was two. I grew up in the small mining towns of Hayden, and then Kearny, Arizona, where my dad worked as plant engineer at the smelter.

Joyce in the 3rd grade, growing up in Kearny. How do you like those space age glasses?

3. What was your favorite childhood picture book? I memorized the entire book of One Fish, Two Fish by Dr. Seuss before I went to Kindergarten, but I don’t know whether that was for the pictures or the rhymes. Where the Wild Things Are remains a favorite to this day. (The book, not the movie.)

4. Is there a book that changed your life? The scriptures, of course. And all the Georgette Heyer books (Regencies) heavily influenced my early writing style. (Ask my sister. She said the first book I wrote read like a Medieval Regency!)

5. What is your favorite kind of music? I love Classical. Tchaikovsky is a special favorite of mine. I loved his music even before I found out we share the same birthday. My parents raised me on the music they grew up with from the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. So you’ll find the music of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, music from that time period, heavily represented in my iTunes files.

6. What one place would you like to visit that you haven’t yet? England! I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the outside of a medieval Italian castle, but I didn’t get to spend nearly long enough there, and I want to see the inside as well as the outside of a real castle, too. Since I know more English history than Italian history (hey, I’m English on my mother’s side!), I think visiting castles I’ve read about in England would be most meaningful to me.

7. Do you like to sing? Yes! I have a nice little choir voice. And I love to play the piano and sing when no one can hear me.

8. Do you like to dance? I took a ballroom dancing and a folk dancing class in college and loved them both! Now, alas, I dance only in my dreams.
9. Do you play a musical instrument? I play the piano and taught beginning to intermediate piano lessons for some 20 years or so. (I’m currently on a sabbatical.)

10. What are three adjectives that best describe you? Shy. Quiet. Chocolate. (What do you mean, chocolate’s not an adjective?)

11. What is the strangest food you ever ate? An appetizer in Italy made from a small square of toast topped with chocolate. It was only after my sister and I had eaten it that we were told the chocolate was mixed with pork blood!

12. What countries have you visited? My sister dragged me along on a trip to Italy, Spain and Portugal in 2006. I say “dragged” because she went on a work trip and spent most of her time with fellow workers from those countries who spoke the native languages, while I was left to fend for myself most of each day. The only words I knew were “no italiano” (I don’t speak Italian!) and “inglese?” (Do you speak English?) Happily for me, I also learned how to point at the flavor I wanted and say “solo” for one scoop and “due” (doo-ay) for two scoops when I passed a gelato shop.

13. Which do you prefer, sweet or salty foods? I prefer a balance of the two. That’s what makes Oreos so great. If you split them apart, you can eat the sweet cream center, but finish off with the less sweet dark chocolate cookie. Then again, there’s nothing like a snack of potato chips at midnight.

14. Are you a collector of anything? I used to collect fantasy pewter figurines. And medieval pewter figurines. I still have the collection, but I haven’t added anything new to it for a long time. (Aside from a pewter medieval mace I found at the Arizona Renaissance Festival. Cool!)

15. What's your favorite color? Teal or fuschia, depending on my mood. (And the shade of the teal or fuschia.)

16. Have any celebrity crushes? I used to be in love with James Garner when he played Brett Maverick on..well, Maverick.

17. What's your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night? How about Sunday? I’m usually too anxious about something or other coming up on Sunday to relax on Saturday nights. Sundays are my favorite nights of the week. My mom and I had a tradition of Sunday night popcorn, which I happily continue to this day. Popcorn and a movie or replay of a favorite TV show recorded during the week.

Joyce at the Arizona Renaissance Festival, 1995

Joyce behind bars in Scottsdale, 1996

Joyce at Concord, Massachusetts, in front of Colonel Parker, leader of the Minute Men, 2006

Joyce and her sister, Janet, in front of the Boston, Massachusetts Temple, 2006

Joyce at Hershey World, Pennsylvania, 2008

Joyce at Hershey Gardens, Pennsylvania, 2008

Joyce with two Colonials, Independence Visitors Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2008

Why I Write

I’ve always loved words. I love the feel of them in my mouth. And I love stringing them together in some sort of rhythm that produces a story.

I’ve also always loved history. And somewhere along the way, round about my high school years, I fell in love with a character from history and wanted to string together some words to tell his story.

Being young and romantic, I naturally decided to make it a romance. Because the third thing I love is happy endings.

Sadly for me, at that young age I had not yet fully grasped the importance of accurate research. I only belatedly found out that the character I was writing about had, in reality, become a priest and, as even then my story was set in the Middle Ages, he could never have had an ending that included being married happily ever after to the woman he loved. (A woman whom I had invented from the lively realms of my imagination to be his true soul mate, of course.)

So with great regret, I left those beloved characters behind and moved on to writing other happily-ever-after medieval novels to fill my love of words and romantic longings. In the beginning, I only intended to write for myself. I never imagined that I could become anything as awe inspiring to me in those days as an “author”. I simply had these people in my head who wanted their stories laid out on paper. Why, I never really questioned. Only that for reasons I didn’t understand, I needed to write them down.

Today, I still write for the same reasons I did at the beginning. Because I love words. I love history. And I love happy endings. And I want to share my love of all three with others. Perhaps especially the happy endings. At the end of a long or tiring or difficult or sad or depressing day, I want nothing more than to lose myself in some other world, but when I come to the end of that world, I don’t want to still be tired or sad or depressed. For at least a few moments when I close a book, I want to breathe a sigh of contentment and find myself with a smile on my face. That is one of the greatest gifts that any author can give to me. I don’t need to change someone’s life with my stories. All I want is to give them the gift that so many other authors have given me. A safe place to escape to for awhile, and in the end, a sigh of contentment and a smile.


  1. You have no idea how much courage it took for me to let WSP use that 3rd grade picture of me!

  2. Joyce - those are some classic pictures! Love the interview and enjoyed Loyalties Web (a lot!) - I haven't started Illusions yet but that's because I know nothing will get done until I finish it. LOL. School starts this week, so maybe I can sneak in some reading. :-)

  3. I like your answers, Joyce, and especially like your reasons for writing. I look forward to reading your works!

  4. Aw, you were adorable in third grade (and still are, I must add.) Pork blood mixed in with the chocolate?? Shudder. It was nice to learn more about you Joyce!

  5. Delightful interview. I had glasses very much like that when I was in the 4th grade! I'm glad the styles have changed since then....

  6. That was a FUN glimpse into your life, Joyce. You are a special lady. Thanks for being brave. Love ya'

  7. Lovely lady, great books! I think the photos are super, and liked learning more about you, Joyce. Thanks, Walnut Springs!

    I'm also glad to see the Boston Temple got its steeple. (It was originally built without it, because of neighbors who complained. I'm glad hearts were touched and minds changed.)

  8. Shudder on the pork blood and a "yaaay" about chocolate being an adjective! :) Loved learning all this about this, Joyce, and yes, I believe I had polka dot sparkly glasses in 3th grade! (that really makes me shudder!)

  9. Wonderful interview. Love the pics and space age glasses!

  10. Joyce,
    Loved the interview. I thought I'd eaten some wierd things, but chocolate laced with pork blood beats anything I've tried. I loved your reasons for writing,

  11. I enjoyed reading your interview and learned from your comments. Enjoyed the pictures. And I'm happy to learn that you are chocolate. I am chocolate too.

  12. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to read my interview. I'm comforted to know I wasn't the only one with space age glasses in my youth! :-)

  13. If you want to come to England, you must come and stay with me! We could have so much fun! Our local castle is only a mile away and it's beautiful - my daughter is there right now. Go on, you know you want to...

  14. Oh, Anna, I do! I want to, I want to! Thanks for the invitation. I just might show up on your doorstep one day. :-)