Monday, November 8, 2010

Meet Jamaica Layne & Enter a Contest!

Greetings, Jamaica Layne, thanks so much for sitting down with me for a chat! Do you enjoy tea or a pint of ale?
Both. I drink lots and lots of tea, especially now that I've given up my longtime vice of chugging way too much Diet Coke. I'm not a coffee person, and soda is off-limits, but writers need caffeine to survive! So I drink lots of tea (hot and iced). I also like a pint of ale from time to time. I especially enjoy drinking home brewed beers. I know a lot of people who do their own brewing.

You have a wonderful new novel, Tender is the Knight. GREAT title, by the way, and your cover is gorgeous. What inspired this quirky and gorgeous tale?
I was inspired to write a romance novel set in the world of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) for two reasons. One, I love the romance genre, and two, to me there's no more romantic time than the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The SCA allows modern-day people to escape the modern world in their free time and travel back to the world of knights and ladies. The SCA also sparks many real-world romances, including many marriages of people who wouldn't otherwise have met. The plot of this book was inspired by several actual people who met and fell in love at SCA events. What's more romantic than that?

Indeed! What sort of Hero is your character?
The hero of this book has two names. In the SCA, he's known as Sir Phillip Reginald of Whitestar, a Knight of the Midrealm and the favorite to become the Middle Kingdom's new King. In the modern world, he's Phil Dawson, a pharmaceutical salesman. Like many people, he uses the SCA to escape the modern world and become a different sort of person than he is in everyday life. He's dashing, romantic, chivalrous, and mysterious.

Ohh, he sounds delicious. Did your involvement in SCA inspire your career in any way?
Oh, absolutely. I don't think I would have become a writer if I hadn't grown up in the SCA and met all sorts of interesting characters, not to mention learning a great deal about history.
What is the very best thing for you about the world of Renaissance Faires and Highland Games?
I think it's the "chivalry," courtesy, and courtly love. People become very polite and gracious, and have a lot more grace and respect for one another than they do in the modern world. And men tend to hold women up in reverence, as they did in past eras. It's all part of the romance of the Middle Ages.

Do you enjoy the dress of a lady, or are you a happy tavern wench?
Well both, sort of. My SCA persona is of an educated middle-class person who is in royal service as a teacher and scribe, so I am never garbed totally to the hilt like the heroine of this book is, since I'm not interested in becoming a Princess or Queen. I have more comfortable "wench" garb that I wear when I'm working on crafts or camping. But I also love beautiful clothes and own several fancy outfits fit for a gracious lady. I tell people in the SCA that my fancier clothes are "hand-me-downs" from the noblewomen I work for, since as a servant I could never afford to purchase silks or velvets. My favorite "lady's" garb is a blue velvet Flemish ensemble trimmed with yellow satin and welted pearls. (And I made it myself!)

OH! Talented and creative in many ways, then. If you could actually inhabit the world of one of your books, would you? And which book would you choose?

Oh, absolutely. You could argue that I already inhabit the world of TENDER IS THE KNIGHT, since it's set in the SCA and I'm active in the SCA. But I've also written several books set in the "real" Middle Ages, and I'd love to travel back in time to inhabit those worlds for real. The act of writing historical fiction is almost like living history in itself.

Knowing as much about history as you do, what is the thing about being a modern woman that you are most grateful for?
Flush toilets! (Though technically, the ancient Romans also had those!). And antibiotics! I wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for modern antibiotics.

Jamaica, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing a some time with us!

DON'T FORGET! Decadent Publishing is having a SCA Contest! Click HERE for more details!


Maureen said...

Yes, toilets and showers. I'd agree that modern bathrooms in general would rate high on the things I'd miss if I visite the past.

And most definately modern medicine. I'd be toast without that.

I will be downloading your book ASAP to soon as I finish this round of revision!

Kathleen said...

I love your cover, and find your story fascinating. As for me, I don'tknow how I survived before cell phones.

Unknown said...

My friend and her husband met while working at a local Renaissance fair. Can't wait to tell her about this book. I'm getting my copy as soon as I can set up an account.

Ann Mayburn said...

I worked at the Michigan Renissance Festival for four years in High School/College. It was a wonderful experience and I treasure every memory of selling pickles, lacing up corsets, and singing people songs while they used the privy. :) Oh, and it gave me a HUGE fetish for men in tights and codpieces. :D

adobedragon said...

Las Cruces, NM has a lovely Renaissance Fair. Set in a huge park with rolling hills and a lake.