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Interview with Marisa Dillon
Susana: How did you come up with the idea for this book?
Marisa: The inspiration for the story came to me after a trip I took back in time one autumn afternoon. I live in Ohio, and we have one of the largest and most authentic Renaissance Festivals in the country.
I even dressed the part and took a ride on a warhorse. I was inspired by what I saw. The jousting reenactments, danger, romance, chivalry, comedy, comradery. It was all there and I wanted to write a story about that world.
Susana: Tell us more about the real history in this story?
Marisa: I love the idea of chivalry and romance mingling together. In the late 15th century, the notion of the knight in shining armor was not a fantasy, but a reality (if history doesn’t lie). And as a lover of history and romance, I couldn’t resist researching and then writing about a group of knights who have been revered and served the English monarchy for generations. The Most Noble Order of the Garter was founded by King Edward III in 1348, holds the highest order of chivalry, and is the most prestigious group in service to England.
Even Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, serves as a Garter Knight today.
As a homage to King Edward, I named the squire, who becomes a knight in my story, after the Garter’s founder, but there’s more to my squire than meets the eye.
Susana: Many readers enjoy a historical romances. What kind of research did you do?
Marisa: Well, as much as I like to think watching jousting matches at the Ren Fair would help me write a story that featured knights in tournaments, I realized early on, that I’d need to do something more in-depth.
I was surprised to find that the Ren Fair had a book kiosk and stumbled upon a book called “Knights at Tournament,” by Christopher Gravatt.
This resource was indispensable. I also interviewed a man who travels the country working as a jousting knight on the Ren Fair circuit and on the TV show, “Full Metal Jousting.”
He told me what it felt like to be struck by a lance and how it impacted his body, liking putting him bed for a few days to recover after one brutal hit.
Also, when it came to getting details about the 15th Century. I had these three books at my fingertips. These resources helped me paint my pictures of medieval life and they also ensured my descriptions were accurate.
Words like bailey, porticus were imperative for the story to describe places in the castle. I also needed to know what period items of clothing were called in that era. A hauberk of chain mail and a houppelande gown, were items I described my characters wearing, helping to provide authenticity and provoke visual imagines for the reader.
About The Lady of the Garter
When Henry VII takes the throne, not all are loyal to the new king. Garter knight, Sir James, is charged with bringing dissenters to justice. Determined to fulfill his vows, he’s unprepared for Lady Elena, a girl from his past he’s never forgotten.
Lady Elena defies her family and disguises herself as a squire to reunite with the man she’s always loved. She might be able to wield a sword, but she still possesses a woman’s heart.
Thrust into a world of danger and family rivalry, James and Elena face the ultimate test.
Can James avenge his father’s death and find passion, or will his Garter oaths hold him to a life of service without love?
Elena had prayed that James would rescue her, but not at the price he paid. How would she ever make this right? First, she’d lost his trust. Now he lost Dragon because of her carelessness. She fully expected to be escorted back to Warwickshire after they returned to Nunnery. She hoped it would be with anyone but James or she wouldn’t survive it.
“God’s blood, woman, who do you think you are?” His deep, powerful voice made her cringe.
She couldn’t answer.
He sighed, steering the horse underneath some trees. Then he turned so abruptly, she thought he’d strike her.
“Are you daft, woman?”
She covered her face with both hands.
“You’re not ready to be a knight, Elena. Look at me.” He drew her hands away. “You’ve sworn allegiance to me, but you constantly disobey.” His eyebrows knit together. “You’ve begged for guidance, yet refuse to follow my instructions.” He shook his head. “You speak of courage, yet don’t show any. Did you not consider the consequences when you lied your way into my life? You’re selfish and don’t consider the future. The ability to sacrifice for the good of others is what qualifies a man for knighthood. Your heart is unworthy.”
But her heart was worthy. Perhaps not for knighthood, but for love. His love. And that seemed more important to her now. Although his criticism hurt, she knew he cared about her. His eyes showed it. She kissed him, her quivering lips met his. It was the only answer she could give. She needed to sate her unbridled passion. She wanted him. She wanted this. It might be her only chance before he came to his senses.
He responded, embracing her.
When he finally released her, she whimpered and leaned into him, wanting more.
He gazed into her eyes. Why had he stopped?
About the Author
With a degree in journalism, Marisa has spent many years writing for the television industry. As an award-winning producer/director/marketer, she has worked on commercial production, show creation, product branding and social media.
Marisa’s passion for writing began when her first-grade teacher read her poem aloud and posted it on the classroom wall. She soon followed up by writing plays for her neighborhood friends and hosting the productions in her garage.
Marisa has always enjoyed reading romance novels and now realizes a dream come true, writing romantic adventures. She lives in Kettering, Ohio, with her first love and knight in shining armor, James.
You can visit Marisa at: www.marisadillon.com. And you can connect with Marisa on Facebook.com/pages/Marisa-Dillon and Twitter.com/marisadillon.