Thursday, August 30, 2012

Interview with author Joyce DiPastena

Today's interview is with Joyce DiPastena, author of Dangerous Favor, her most recent published medieval novel. Please read the synopsis and my review on Dangerous Favor in the post that precedes  this.
Joyce, what started you writing about medieval times?
I fell in love with the Middle Ages during high school when I read a history book on the early Plantagenet kings of England called The Conquering Family, by Thomas B. Costain. I'd been dabbling with writing  stories in other time periods--I always seemed drawn to historical settings for my early writing attempts--but for some reason, this book especially intrigued me. When I went to college (the University of Arizona), I decided to major in history. I consequently took courses in many various time periods, but my heart always beat a little quicker in my medieval history classes, so I took every medieval history class I could find. At the same time, I began my first full length novel and also set it in the Middle Ages. And I've never really looked back. 
 What is it about the Medieval period that fascinates you and keeps you writing about it?
I don't really know why this particular period fascinates me so much. I'm fascinated by many time periods, ancient, medieval, Stuart, Regency, the American Revolution. But when it comes to writing, I just enjoy the medieval time period more than any other.

 What keeps me writing about it? There are still so many fascinating things to explore! My books so far have touched on subjects such as medieval illumination, medieval Arthurian poetry and medieval politics. I've just completed two short medieval stories that incorporate medieval carol dancing and medieval reliquaries (highly decorated boxes that held objects believed by the Catholic Church to be holy, such as fingernail clippings, locks of hair, even vials of tears from the original twelve apostles or the saints that followed them). 

I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of topics available to research and explore and share with readers in a story of one sort or another. I think it will be avery long time before I tire of writing about this time period!

 What are your most trusted resources on details of that period?
I have a very extensive personal library of medieval research books that focus on multiple specialized topics, but here are some of the ones I find myself referring to for almost every story I write are:

The Castle Explorer's Guide, by Frank Bottomley
Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks, by Constance B. Hieatt and Sharon Butler
900 Years of English Costume, by Nancy Bradfield (I think this may be available under a different title now, but the same author)
English Costume from the Early MIddle Ages Through the Sixteenth Century, by Iris Brooke
Medieval English Gardens, by Teresa McLean
A Baronial Household of the Thirteenth Century, by Margaret Wade Labarge

Thank you so much, Joyce, for your interview!

Visit Joyce's blog here.

Here are some of Joyce's other Medieval tales:

Readers: Please leave a comment telling what time period you enjoy reading/writing about and why.


  1. I love Joyce's books. They are vivid and realistic and I feel like I'm right there with her characters, feeling what they're feeling etc.

  2. Fun and interesting. I usually find myself reading in the Regency period--not just romances but fighting books like the Horatio Hornblower and Shape's Rifles.

  3. Joyce's books are fabulous. I love to read about the america from the 1770- to the end of the 1800's. Though I will read just about anything historical.

  4. Thank you all for visiting. I love Joyce's books, too. She has a way with detail, characterization, and bring the time period alive that is unsurpassed.