Mar 26, 2010

Friendly Friday - Joyce DiPastena

Joyce DiPastena is the author of two sweet medieval romances: Loyalty’s Web (a 2007 Whitney Award finalist) and Illuminations of the Heart (a 2009 Whitney Award finalist, winner to be announced April 24, 2010).
Joyce moved from Utah to Arizona at the age of 2, and grew up to be a died-in-the-fur Desert Rat. (110 degrees? A little toasty. 117? Utah isn't looking quite so bad right now!)

She first fell in love with the Middle Ages when she read Thomas B. Costain's The Conquering Family in high school. She attended the University of Arizona, where she graduated with a degree specializing in medieval history.

Joyce has taught piano lessons to children and adults of all ages for over 20 years. She loves to play the piano and sing for her own amusement, as well as in her church choir. Other interests include reading, spending time with her sister, trying out new restaurants, and unfortunately, buying new clothes. The highlight of her year is attending the Arizona Renaissance Festival, which she has not missed once in its twenty-three years of existence.

Joyce has been owned and loved by many cats, the most recent being Clio (who helps her with my website), and Glinka Rimsky-Korsokov (that's all one cat).

Joyce love chocolate chip cookies, Hershey Kisses with almonds (because if they've got nuts, they're good for you), and Orville Redenbacher's Movie Theater Popcorn with a video/DVD or TV on Sunday nights.

Guest Post: Faith to Create

Two weeks ago in Relief Society, while we were discussing the Gospel Principles lesson on “The Creation”, one of the women in our class made a comment that really caught my attention. I reflected on it for several minutes, then jotted it down in my Relief Society notebook. (Relief Society presidents never get to stray far from their Relief Society notebooks!)

To paraphrase the comment as best I could remember it while further discussion swirled around me:

“If we’re expected to ultimately become like our Heavenly Father, then one of the purposes of our earth life is to develop sufficient faith to enable us to create.”

Being a writer, my mind immediately leapt to how this statement applies to me and my writing. As a writer of fiction, my goal is to “create” a new world, of sorts, a world of my own imagination, peopled with characters who sometimes do as I “command” them to do, and other times insist on running off in completely contrary directions. So where does the act of “faith” come in?

No matter how productive, even exciting, my writing session was the day before, somehow by the time I sit down to my computer the next day and face a fresh blank screen, I find myself flooded with doubts. What if yesterday was a quirk, an aberration? What if today I can’t think of anything more to write? What if whatever I think to write is absolute drivel? What if I can’t figure out how to ultimately resolve this story into a satisfying conclusion?

When these thoughts flood my mind, I have two choices. I can let them paralyze me into inaction, even allow the doubts to cause me to abandon my writing completely. Or I can take a deep breath and go forward in faith, trusting that if Heavenly Father wants me to use and share the talent he has given me, then he will open the floodgates of my mind and imagination and help me succeed in creating this little world of mine. But first, He expects me to take a leap of faith by sitting down, turning on the computer, and then typing something…anything…on the screen to demonstrate through action that I trust Him to partner with me in my small creative efforts.

This has been a new and important lesson to me. When I write, not only am I “creating”. I am actually also exercising my faith.

Joyce's sweet medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart, is a 2009 Whitney Award Finalist in the Romance Category. Winners will be announced April 24, 2010. Here's the back cover blurb:


He spoke the name on a breath like a prayer. Then he lowered his head and kissed her.

Her heart is lost in that first embrace, her world shaken to its foundations. There is just one problem: her name is not Clothilde. It is Siriol de Calendri.

Trained in the art of illumination in the far-off city of Venice, Siri 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 late 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. Will his tragic life with Clothilde be repeated with Siri? 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. But how can he bear to lose her again?

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?

You can read the first chapter of Illuminations of the Heart by clicking here.

Illuminations of the Heart is available at Deseret Book and can be ordered through Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. It can also be found online at,, and Barnes&

Here's where you can find Joyce online:

Facebook Fan Page:

Thanks Joyce, for being my guest today. Your post really spoke to me today. Sometimes I forget my purpose here in life and what my potential is. Put in such simple terms, I realize that my experiences here in life, whether it be acting in faith or creating a fictitious would, may come in handy in my eternal future. What an eye opening gem of knowledge you've given me.

My guest next week on Friendly Friday will be Connie Hall.


  1. That was beautiful, Joyce. Thank you. I never saw it like that.

  2. What a new and beautiful idea about creating. Thanks Joyce. I appreciate you sharing this with us.

  3. Thank you so much for inviting me to be your guest today, Christine!

  4. Yes, I always feel like we're creating our own little "world" within the pages of our mind. :)

    Love that blurb for Illuminations. Man, I gotta get that one! :)

  5. Loved the post! I'm going to put the quote Joyce had from RS on my blog next week. It's excellent for wannabes like me.

  6. I enjoyed your blog about creating your own little world. Congratulations on your accomplishments and good luck with the Whitney award.

  7. I enjoyed your blog about creating your own little world. Contratulations on your accomplishments and good luck with the Whitney award.

  8. What a nice thought, that when we create something we're exercising our faith! Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

  9. Excellent Joyce and Christine! Joyce really knows her medieval stuff. Her books are awesome!

  10. Interesting insight that helps us keep an eternal perspective!

  11. Great post. I am all about creation.

  12. I love Joyce's books and she's such a great person too! :)