Who are your favorite authors of all time? I devour everything written by the duo Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, and have since I first discovered The Relic way back when. I love JRR Tolkien and have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings several times.
Can you see yourself in any of your characters? I think any author can. Mixed in with each characters’ individual traits are pieces of their author. My own sense of loyalty, friendship, and honor are imbedded in all my Arthurian characters. I also carry my own love of adventure, mystery, and magic into my stories for my characters to enjoy as well as my readers.
What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year? I actually have two movies I can’t wait to see. The first is the new James Bond film Skyfall. It opened in November and is on my short list for December. I’ve been a James Bond since high school. The second film is The Hobbit which will be released in December. I’m excited to see it.
Which authors have influenced you the most and how? I would have to say Joseph Campbell. I first read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien in 1973. I was newly married and looking for my place in the world. Looking back, I see it was the journey of Bilbo and Frodo that drew me in. Like them, I was also on a journey and had no idea of the ending. A few years later, I discovered Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey. I realized that this was the attraction for me and a whole world of readers in the works of Tolkien, T. H. White, George Lucas, and J. K. Rowling.What I have tried to do in The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table) is write a story that would couple the Hero’s Journey with the King Arthur Legend.
What is the one book everyone should read? The Once and Future King by T.H. White. He brings the Arthurian Legend right into everyone’s home with his story. Through Wart’s (young Arthur) experiential lessons, readers understand the idea of might not being right, the fragile nature of this world we live in, and that none of us are perfect. The amazing thing about this is that White does all this with stories of knights, jousts, and quests.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. Experience the true meaning of friendship and loyalty as three friends, motivated by their belief in the Wild Man’s innocence, embark upon life-changing quests testing their limits and forcing each to confront and conquer their fears or face humiliation and/or even death.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? My current work-in-progress takes my readers out of Medieval England and back to Ancient Egypt. Sons of the Sphinxis a mystery/adventure for tweens/YA and introduces readers to a different type of quest.
Future projects include a sequel to Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend. I’ve had several readers ask me what becomes of Guinevere’s friend Cedwyn, so I’m working on a storyline there. And, somewhere soon, I’m going to do another Young Knights of the Round Table. I haven’t decided yet whether to continue with the same characters, or to give a new group of young people a chance at joining the Round Table.
What inspired you to want to become a writer? Teaching students in high school who didn’t like to read or who found a million other activities to do rather than read motivated me to dig deeper into my curriculum. It is always challenging to find reading material that excites every student. In fact, it’s nearly impossible. Then one spring I decided to do The Once and Future King by T. H. White. My freshmen were ecstatic. We read; we discussed; we drew murals of chapters; we wrote poetry and songs; and we attempted to earn Knighthood in seven days! Boy, what a discovery I’d made.
I continued to teach the King Arthur Legend, and the enthusiasm never waned. I had students who would give 100% on this unit when I struggled to get them to read other literature. These kids were my inspiration for choosing the legend of King Arthur for my writing. I use the appeal of King Arthur to encourage young kids to read more and to believe that they can write. I always come away from a school visit believing that I have helped the students relate better to their writing, and hopefully, ignited a little spark in the reluctant readers to pick up a book.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. This would have to be my Medieval Writing Workshops for elementary and middle school students and the Colorado Girl Scouts. We explore writing and reading, and it is fulfilling to see young students excited about writing and reading. The kids enjoy writing their own medieval stories complete with dragons, wizards, unicorns, and knights!
What was your favorite book(s) when you were young? Like many young girls, I was and still am crazy about horses. For years (and I mean years) all I read were horses stories. My two fiction favorites are the Golden Stallion series by Rutherford Montgomery and theBlack Stallion series by Walter Farley. I also read non-fiction dealing with horses.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? I know it’s been said many times, but writers need to write what they love. Also, don’t be afraid to explore and expand on that. It was my love of the works of Tolkien along with the connection to Joseph Campbell and the hero’s journey that inspired me in my writings. It has taken me beyond Arthurian Legend to ancient Egypt where a young pharaoh embarks upon his own journey to write a wrong and be united with his one true love.
Sometimes a person’s writing can take them places they never imagined. Rejoice in that and embrace it!