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Saturday, July 9, 2011

MBS Blogoversary #18 Spotlight Author Joyce DiPastena


I met Joyce at The Sweetest Romance Author's Group where I won her first novel, Loyalty's Web which was one of  my early reviews when I started this blog.
Joyce writes mystery, adventure and "sweet" romance in the Middle Ages.

Loyalty's Web
I had already set up an interview with Joyce before the Blogoversary event so this spotlight is a full interview rather than the two question format.

Q&A Interview with Joyce DiPastena, Author of Illuminations of the Heart
Q1. I note from your profile that you studied medieval history. Did you think then that you would write stories set in that time period?
A1. Actually, yes, that was definitely on my mind when I decided to major in history and take all the medieval history classes that I could find. I fell in love with the Middle Ages long before college. The book The Conquering Family (about the Plantagenet kings of England), by Thomas B Costain had been a huge influence on me as far back as junior high school. I had dabbled with writing a few medieval stories in high school, but my writing really took off when I went to college. I bought all the medieval history books I could find in the university bookstore, photocopied pages from medieval research books from the university library, and referred to all my medieval history text books for research to write my first complete medieval novel during my college years. So yes, I sort of had an ulterior motive when I decided to major in history in the first place. LOL!
That is pretty cool that you were able to pick a course of study with future writing in mind!
Q2. Do you think you might ever write any other genre(s)?
A2. In high school, I played around with a lot of different eras—the American Revolution, the English Regency, the Stuart kings of England, even some spin-offs from The Three Musketeers. But none of these eras ever held my interest long enough to see me through the completion of an entire book until I set one in the Middle Ages. I’ve been writing in that period ever since and don’t foresee switching anytime in the immediate future. Keep in mind, though, that the Middle Ages lasted for 1000 years, so there may be some other centuries within that time span I might play with someday. Time will tell.
They do say to write what you know and you seem to do well within that precept.
Q3. What most inspires your plots?
A2. A character that intrigues or touches me in some way. It’s the characters and their lives that fascinate me and keep me writing to find out what’s going to happen to them next…and how they will feel about it. I enjoy exploring their emotions, as well as the action aspects of the plot.
Yes, you do give your characters a fullness of emotions which keeps the reader engaged.
Q4.  When researching a book, have you ever found anything "hands on" or unusual required?
A2. Sadly, I haven’t had many opportunities for “hands on” research. I still dream of going to England someday and visiting the castles, seeing the landscape for myself, etc. But for now, I have to rely the excellent research books that are out there and my lively imagination.
I hope you do get to visit England someday. It is beautiful. I wouldn't mind doing more castles too.
Q5.  Since Siriol is an illustrator and Triston an artist do you have some side art talent that you pulled from for their characters?
A5. Hahahaha. I wish! Alas, I’m doing good if I can draw a recognizable stick figure. But I enjoy looking at art, so mostly I just drew from some beautiful reproductions of medieval manuscripts and other art found in books. Aren’t books a wonderful thing? What in the world would we do without them? (I hope we never have to find out!)
I agree- I wouldn't want to do without books to share!
Q.6. When you were writing Loyalty’s Web at what point did you decide to write a second book with some of the same characters?
A6. Pretty much at the moment when I typed “the end”. I just felt so sad for the situation I had left Triston in. I couldn’t foresee any happiness for him in the situation I had left him in at the end of the book. He wasn’t a bad person, just caught up in a tragic situation that had gone beyond his control. Something in me just tugged to find a way to give him a happy ending of his own. And so Illuminations of the Heart was born.
I'm glad you gave Triston his happy ending in this story.
Q7.  Which do you find is most important to you as a writer, voice or story? Why?
A7. I never think about voice when I write a book. I only think about story. The voices of the characters just sound in my head while I’m writing, and whatever voice of my own comes out just does it on its own. After all these years, I recognize that my writing does have a voice that somehow emanates from “me”, but it’s not something I deliberately seek to “put there”. The characters and their story is everything when I write.
Stolen Christmas and Other Stories of the SeasonThat is a good explanation for why the characters and plot flow so consistently and smoothly.
Q8.  What three words would you use to describe your writing?
A8. Oh, my, I’m not going to describe my writing for someone else. I’ve had some readers call my writing “lyrical”, but I’m sure for every reader who thinks that, there’s someone who thinks the opposite. Every reader is different, and I’ll let each of them decide for themselves how they respond to my writing.
Good (and safe) response. Okay I'll give my three words for the two books I have read:  rich, warm and full.
Q9.  What do you like to do for fun when you’re not writing?
A9. I love to read, of course. I also enjoy playing the piano, and sometimes I even sing if no one but family is listening. I keep busy in my church. I watch too much TV and spend too much time on the internet…but who doesn’t these days? LOL!
We have similar hobbies except I don't play the piano and I watch very little TV. But lots of internet and reading - Yes!
Q10.  What writing projects are you currently working on?
A10. I’m polishing up a kind of dual romance for the characters of Etienne and Therri from Loyalty’s Web. I hope to submit that to my publisher soon. I have a romance for Acelet from Illuminations of the Heart on the back burner. And I’m dabbling with that first medieval manuscript I wrote back in college. It’s been fun to revisit it. The writing was very immature, but I still love the story. I have dreams of rewriting it into a good, workable novel, but that’s going to be a long term project. Wish me luck!
Joyce, I would say you make your own luck with your hard work. But I definitely wish you great success and I look forward to reading many more stories with your wonderful characters.
Thank you for sharing in interview and in my two year blogoversary!

Please visit Joyce at her links below.
Illuminations of the Heart (Historical Romance Novels)For extra credit you can comment at one of her blog links or email her to say "Hi" and "Thank you" for the support and giveaway.
For additional credit comment on the review of Illuminations of the Heart or Loyalty's Web.

Joyce DiPastena
Loyalty's Web (2007 Whitney Award Finalist)
Illuminations of the Heart (past RWA Heart of the West winner; 2009 Whitney Award Finalist)
"An Epiphany Gift for Robin", featured in Stolen Christmas

A. Giveaway donated by Joyce:
Winner's choice of print copy of either of the two books; Kindle version available for an international winner.
B. I am adding my print copy of Loyalty's Web for Giveaway too- US only.

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