Joyce DiPastena author of Illuminations of the Heart

Q. Welcome Joyce, what is your typical day like? 


A. I try to accomplish all my mundane chores, like cleaning house, running errands, etc, by 3- 4 PM. My goal is to begin my daily writing routine between 3:30-4:30 PM and work through the evening and night, with breaks for dinner and stretching, until about 10:30 PM.

Q. Sound great. Do you write with music or not?

A. No, no music, no TV. I write best in total silence. (The better to hear all those voices in my head. J )

Q. Me too. Do you outline your manuscript first?

A. I’ve tried outlining, but I can never stick to one, so my best process is to jot down a few ideas (by asking myself “What if…?” questions) and some notes about characters I want to include, then jump into the story and see where it goes. The story and characters usually open up to me as I write and I add notes along the way about where I see the story going next.

Q. My thoughts too. What is the most difficult thing about being an author? 

A. Disciplining myself to write when I don’t feel like it. The best advice I ever heard was: “A real writer writes whether she feels like it or not.” There are many, many times I don’t feel like sitting down to write when it’s time, but I force myself to do so because I want to be a “real writer.” And there are times when I do write that every word is a struggle and I am very unhappy with the results at the end of the night. But I have found that more times than not, those words look much better the next day than I thought they were during the struggle to get them on the page, and even if they’re not perfect, they give me something to work with the next day. I never regret pushing myself to write through those times when I didn’t feel like writing. I do regret all the times I didn’t push myself to do so.

Q. Good to know. How do you know the idea is good to write a book about it?

A. I can’t see the future, so I can’t know if an idea is good enough to write a book about it unless I sit down and try to write a book about it. The story will either come or it won’t, but I can’t know before I try.

Q. I see. What is the title of your book? 


A. Illuminations of the Heart

Q. Love the title. What inspired you to write this book?

A. I had a character in an earlier book (Loyalty’s Web) who ended up with a very sad story in that book. I really liked this character, whose name was Triston, but I had boxed him into such a sad, tragic corner by the end of Loyalty’s Web that I decided I wanted to see if I could figure out a way to give him a happier long-term ending. So I wrote Illuminations of the Heart to introduce him to a new love who could ultimately bring light, or “illuminate”, the darkness I had left in his heart from Loyalty’s Web.

Q. Sooooo sweet. How do you come up with your character’s names?

A. I comb through medieval research books and make lists of contemporary medieval names that I find in them. Last year I compiled some of these names into a small reference book entitled Name Your Medieval Character: Medieval Christian Names (12th-13th Centuries). It is available online in both print and e-book formats.

Q. I have that book Thanks. Tell us what Illuminations of the Heart is about?

A. Here is the summary of Illuminations of the Heart:

Trained in the art of illumination in the far-off city of Venice, Siri de Calendri is directed by her late brother’s will to the county of Poitou in France, where she enters the guardianship of her brother’s friend Sir Triston de Brielle. Once in Poitou, Siri hopes to find employment in an illuminator’s shop—until Triston unexpectedly snatches her heart away with a kiss.

Triston is a man of quiet honor and courage, but the guilt he carries for the death of his wife, Clothilde, has left him numb and hesitant to love again. Worse yet, Siri bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love. Or does she? Her merry laughter and twinkling eyes are very different from his late wife’s shy smiles and quiet ways. Yet when he gazes into Siri’s face, all he sees is Clothilde.

Then Triston’s past returns to threaten them both. Trapped between the rivalry of the king’s sons on the one hand and a neighbor out for vengeance on the other, Triston realizes it would be safer to send Siri away. Siri is determined not to be cast off and not to live in another woman’s shadow. She has illuminated many a priceless book with pen and paint, but can her own vibrant spirit illuminate the darkness in Triston’s soul and make his heart beat for her alone?

Q. Ohhhhhh, it sounds awesome. What genre does your book fall under?

A. It’s a clean historical/medieval romance.

Q. What will be your next project?

A. I’ve just completed a draft of a new medieval novel called The Lady and the Minstrel. It differs a little from what I’ve done before in that, although there is a very strong romance theme in it, there are some lengthy non-romance sections in it, too. I’m calling it a romantic historical rather than a historical romance for that reason. I currently have it out to some beta readers and am hoping to publish it later this year.

Q. Sound very interesting. Where can we buy a copy of your book? 

A. Illuminations of the Heart is available on:


Barnes & Noble:


It’s also available in the Apple Store, but I can never figure out how to buy books in the Apple Store, so I can’t give you a link. I make sales through there, though, so I know it’s available if you know how. LOL!

Best to you, Joyce… 

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