Interview with Joyce DiPastena author of Dangerous Favor
JMW- Thank you so much for letting me interview you. I’m a big fan of your books. We can’t really call Loyalty’s Web and Illuminations of the Heart a series; would you consider them spin off stories?
Some people do view my books as a series, but that's only true inasmuch as they take place in the same "story universe", so to speak. I do prefer to call them spin-offs. Instead of carrying on with one character's story over several books, I tend to take one (or sometimes two, like in Dangerous Favor) characters from a previous book and spin them off into their own stand alone romance.
JMW- I love spin off books. One of my favorite authors growing up was Jennie Hanson and she would always do spin off series. It’s always fun to get a little teaser of how a character from a previous book was doing but still have a whole new story going on. Did you plan all along to do these kinds of stories or did you decide to later explore more of their lives?
Actually, no, I didn't originally intend to write spin-off stories for these characters. When I started Loyalty's Web, I had no plans to write a story for Triston. But then I kind of fell in love with him along the way, and when his part of the story ended so sad, I found myself wanting to write him a story that would give him a happy ending of his own. So Illuminations of the Heart was born.
JMW- I know you are a big history lover and have many books to get resources from. What is your favorite website or book to get accurate information on the middle ages?
Oh, my! I can't narrow it down to just one, because it depends on what kind of information you're looking for. I've been collecting medieval history books since college, so I have quite an extensive personal library at this point. And I do still do most of my research via books, although I'm slowly getting better at internet research. If I had to choose some basic titles, I would recommend Life in a Medieval Castle, by Joseph and Frances Gies for just a good, general beginning research book on the time period. (The Gies have several other excellent books, including Life in a Medieval Town and Life in a Medieval Village.) For clothing, I LOVE 900 Years of English Costume (republished as Historical Costumes of England 1066-1968, so look for it under both titles) by Nancy Bradfield. And The Castle Explorer's Guide, by Frank Bottomley, is always near the top of my pile of research books when I'm working on a manuscript.
JMW- What’s your next book you are working on?
Okay, this involves a bit of a confession. I had actually started writing a spin-off for Acelet, from Illuminations of the Heart, when I realized I'd made a mistake in the historical timeline in that book. I'd said that Acelet's mother attended Queen Eleanor's Courts of Love when she (his mother) was a young woman. Well, I don't know how it happened, because I do try to be so careful about checking my dates and historical facts, but when I started Acelet's book, I rechecked some things and discovered that his mother wouldn't have been a "young girl" at the time the Courts of Love allegedly took place. Now, I realize the odds are probably pretty good that no one would catch that error except me, especially since Acelet's mother never actually appears in my books and is only passingly mentioned. But it really bugged me that I made such a stupid mistake. So for my own conscience sake, I am now working on what I hope will be a novella, a little romance set "in the past", that I hope will explain my own discrepancy. The romance isn't actually his mother's, but his mother is in the story. Well, you'll just have to read it if I ever get it finished. LOL!
JMW -Are we going to get another spin off? If so, can you give us a hint on who the next characters will be?
As I said, Acelet is up next. After that, it depends on who might strike my fancy. I have an idea who it might be, but you haven't met him yet. ;-)
JMW- I love that Etienne was a misguided villain from Loyalty’s Web and now we get to know him better. What made you want to expand Etienne more and give him his own story?
I enjoy exploring themes of friendship, so when I decided to write a third book, I thought it would be fun to write a dual romance for Etienne and Therri, who were best friends in Loyalty's Web. That turned into Dangerous Favor, although to control my word count (always a struggle for me), I eventually narrowed the POV character down to just Etienne and his sweetheart, Mathilde.
You are very good at painting a visual picture with your words. I think Dangerous Favor should be turned into a movie. (I’ll talk to Stephenie Meyer into producing it like she did for Austenland and then we are golden. We can dream, right?) If it turns into a movie, who would you like to play your characters?
Thank you for the compliment! That's what every author wants to hear about their books. :-D Actually, I don't envision any particular actors when I write my books. I'd have to do some hunting around to see who I could come up with. I love seeing who my readers come up with, though, the way you did. That's always fun!
JMW- Your characters are so real and beautifully flawed, any tricks of the trade on how to get into their heads? (Role play, movies, books etc…)
I wish I had a trick-of-the-trade to give you, but I don't. I write a lot by instinct, and don't really analyze how I do it. I know that nobody is perfect, though, so I never start with the premise that any of my characters are. I just try to picture them as people, rather than characters, when I write them. Characters may never make a mistake, but people do. As long as I envision them as people, they will make mistakes along the way.
JMW- When you write do you outline or write whatever scene is calling to you at the time?
I don't outline, but I'm still a very linear writer. I have to start at the beginning and write to the end. I can't write scenes out of order, like some writers do. When I start, I tend to have one or two or so scenes in my head that I know I want to write towards. I don't know how I'm going to get to those scenes, but I start writing and try to write in that direction.
JMW-I don’t want to give any spoilers away with my others questions about the love story and surprise twists. I will have to wait for a book club to discuss it all. Anybody interested in doing a book club with me? (I think we will have to start with the first two books.)
JMW -In the story, you give little hints of what was to come and it ingeniously unraveled until all become revealed. O.K., I know that isn’t a question but I wish I could pick your brain on how you do it, I’m sure it’s all natural talent. Any suggestions you can give to an aspiring writer?
It's not just natural talent. I've wondered about this myself, and I think I simply write the kinds of stories I like to read. I always loved reading books that had a lot of plot to them, so when I started writing, I think the "natural" part was to write something that had a lot of plot, because that's what I grew up reading. If you want a tip, it would be: Remember not to give everything away at once. Don't be afraid to tease your reader. As long as you play fair by laying down the clues and giving them the answer in the end, your reader will thank you for stringing them along. ;-)
JMW- Thanks again Joyce for sharing your beautiful gift with the world. Keep them coming!
To get more information or purchase any of Joyce DiPastena's books go to : http://www.joyce-dipastena.com/
Leave a comment on this blog by April 2nd midnight PST. As a Thank you, your name will be entered in the drawing to win one Twilight collectible keepsake tin with four hardcover, 96-page journals featuring cover art from Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. Each journal has quotations from the novels, as well as quotations from some of the classic works of literature that inspired them.