October 29, 2013

Chatting with Joyce DiPastena

Today we welcome Joyce DiPastena, a multi-published, multi-award winning author who writes sweet medieval romances spiced with mystery and adventure. Her published works include Whitney Award finalists Loyalty’s Web and Illuminations of the Heart, and RONE Award Finalists Dangerous Favor and A Candlelight Courting.

ES: Reading: Paper or Electrons? Why?

JDP: I’ve been trying to convert over to eBooks, and for the average book, I can read either version. But when I find a keeper, a book I know I will want to read again and again, I want that book in print. A print book feels like a “friend.” I love the way it feels in my hand, but I also love the ability to flip through multiple pages at once, forward or backward. That’s one feature I miss big time with an eBook. When I’ve read something “a few pages back” and can kind of visualize where it was and want to go back and read it again, I want to be able to just “shuffle” over there, not turn back one page at a time until I find it. And sometimes with eBooks, the print “shifts” on where it was on the page before. I guess maybe that “shifting” feature is what makes eBooks feel a bit ephemeral to me. The format is so fluid, it feels like it could just float off into space and my book would be gone. A print book has a sense of permanence about it. I don’t need that with a book I’m only going to read once, but as I said, when I find a “keeper,” I want to be able to hold it in my hand and revisit it forever. Yes, I know that answer is a bit irrational, because print books can be lost and destroyed as easily as an eBook can (perhaps more easily!), but if I were a rational creature, I wouldn’t be a writer. LOL!

ES: What do you like to read?

JDP: Historical fiction is my favorite, pretty much any time period up through about the Regency period. The closer it gets to the 20th Century, the more my interest level drops off for a setting. Within the historical fiction genre, I love best books about relationships—relationships between men and women (i.e., romance), relationships between friends, relationships between families. I love seeing characters interacting with other characters in a way that touches me somehow. But I also want a positive ending to my books. Too much about everyday life is depressing. Give me a happy ending in my entertainment. I’m not ashamed to confess that I read to “escape.” :-)

ES: There are an estimated 535,389.7 unique ways to die. How do you hope to meet your maker?

JDP: I want to die at peace and asleep in my bed. Just slip away without even noticing it. (I’m so jealous of people who get to die that way.)

ES: What is your greatest achievement to date?

JDP: Raising my parents. (It’s harder than you think.)

ES: What genre do you write, and why?

JDP: I write historical romances and romantic historicals, both set in the Middle Ages. What’s the difference between the two? Basically the amount of time that’s spent on the “romance” part of the story. My current published books are all romances, but my current WIP is what I call a romantic historical. It has a strong romance in it, but it focuses a little more on my hero than on my heroine and explores his relationship to other characters in significant ways, in addition to just the heroine.

ES: Tell me about your current work in progress.

JDP: As I mentioned above, I’m currently working on what I call a romantic historical set in the Middle Ages. The hero is a minstrel of common birth, the heroine is a gently born lady. (The working title is The Lady and the Minstrel.) They fall in love and want to marry, but in that day and age, the social barriers between their stations were almost insurmountable. Will she give up her world to marry him, or will he have to give up his? At first glance, the second option would appear to be the easiest, but it may not be as easy as you think. Either choice will have serious consequences.

ES: Tell me about your most recent published work, and why people should buy it.

JDP: This year I brought out a print copy of my 2012 medieval Christmas novella, A Candlelight Courting, which was a 2012 RONE Award Finalist by InD’Tale Magazine this past August. Here’s a summary of the story:

When Burthred comes courting on Christmas Eve, Meg rejects his advances. She has her heart set on becoming a nun and insists that he call her Christina, the spiritual name she has chosen for herself. She tries to make him swear on her box of holy relics that he will not pursue her, but he carefully words his oath to allow him to stay in her candlelit chamber and try to change her mind. What Meg does not confess is that her reliquary box holds a secret. Burthred needs a wife, and no one will satisfy him except Meg. He swore on his father’s deathbed that he would marry her. But Burthred has a secret, too. When they come together before the Yule fire, their shared revelations will either join their hearts together or tear them apart.

A Candlelight Courting is available here.

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