Review of Loving Lucianna with author Interview

LovingLucianna-coverJoyce DiPastena released the first novel in her new Hearts in Autumn Romance series – an ageless tender love story – Loving Lucianna. Serafino is a perfectly despicable villain, Sir Balduin is a wonderful hero and the reader will love Lucianna with all her charms and faults. Joyce DiPastena creates her novel with such authenticity it transports the reader into the Medieval era.

Sir Balduin de Soler gave up long ago on love. He never had the means to support a wife until an unexpected advancement in his fifties allows him to reassess his future just as the lovely Lucianna enters his life.

Lucianna Fabio harbors a secret, painful memory from her past that has kept her unwed, as well. Now in her forties, she thought herself too old to marry until she meets Sir Balduin. Now suddenly their lonely autumn lives feel very much like spring again . . . until Lucianna’s brother appears without warning and threatens to revive the secret that will destroy Lucianna’s second chance at love.

Margaret: Congratulations on delivering another brilliant medieval romance. The average age for heroines in historical romance novels I’ve read tends to be late teens through mid-twenties. Please discuss your reasons for creating older, more mature characters for your Autumn Romance series.

Joyce: 

 Thank you for reviewing Loving Lucianna, Margaret. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it! Actually, I received the inspiration following a group promotional event I participated in in a Facebook group last spring. The group decided to plan a similar promo event for the fall of 2014 and challenged us all to write an autumn-themed story that we could publish and promote around that time. So I started thinking about what kind of story I could write that would have an autumn-theme, and the idea simply popped into my head to write a romance for an older couple “in the autumn of their years.” I wasn’t sure where to start at first, but then I remembered the character of Lucianna from my medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart. I had described Lucianna in that book as being in her forties with hair that was beginning to turn gray, and had included a small subplot about her falling in love with a “gray haired knight” named Sir Balduin. They just seemed the perfect couple to write a full-fledged romance for! So that was the origin of Loving Lucianna. And I enjoyed the concept so much, that I decided to make it the first in a “Hearts in Autumn” romance series about older couples who fall in love.

I do want to stress that Loving Lucianna is a totally stand alone novel. It is absolutely not necessary to read Illuminations of the Heart first to enjoy that Loving Lucianna!

Margaret:  I agree that Loving Lucianna can be thoroughly enjoyed without reading Illuminations of the Heart. But having read Illuminations of the Heart some time ago, I am now looking forward to re-reading the story with a new perspective.  Are there any particular individuals in real life who served as models for your fiction?

Joyce: Not that I’m consciously aware of. It helps, of course, that I’m in my 50’s now, so writing about older couples feels compatible with where I am in my life. I can certainly write older couples with greater authenticity now than I could have if I’d thought the idea up in my 20’s or 30’s. 

Margaret: An older audience will appreciate your sensitivity to the sensibilities of those of us in the twilight of our lives. What will be the title of the next book in the Autumn Romance series and when do you anticipate it will be on the shelves?

Joyce: I don’t have a title yet. I do have a kernel of an idea for the hero and heroine and their plotline. I haven’t started writing it yet, so we’ll see if it pans out. My goal is to bring a new Hearts in Autumn romance out each fall. They will probably be somewhat shorter books, like Loving Lucianna, because I will still be working on my longer romances (with younger couples) and I’m a slow writer, so to do both, I’ll have to keep the Hearts in Autumn line shorter, at least for now.

Margaret: That is a very ambitious and brilliant plan. Will the rest of the Autumn Romance series also weave in characters from previous titles: Loyalties Webb, Illuminations of the Heart or Dangerous Favor, like Loving Lucianna did?

Joyce: It will probably vary from book to book. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The character I’m thinking of for my next Hearts in Autumn romance (a troubadour named Foulcaut) is also a minor character in the next WIP on my agenda, which will be based on the character of Acelet from Illuminations of the Heart. (Acelet also has a small appearance in Loving Lucianna.) I’m not sure which story I’ll finish first, though, Acelet’s story or the next Hearts in Autumn romance, so Foulcaut’s story may appear slightly out of sequence if I finish and publish it first. But it will also be a stand alone and not dependent on Acelet’s story to fully enjoy!

Margaret: That’s wonderful! I am looking forward to reading all your excellent books in the future. Thank you for visiting with me today.