A.J. Marcus is here and is answering a few questions on The Jouster’s Lance
1. If your MC came to dinner, what would his favorite meal be? What makes him happy? What makes him annoyed?
Dale O’Toole is a steak and potatoes man, a Texas farm boy turned jouster. Chase a steak across a grill a couple of times, just enough to give it some flavor without over doing it and he’s a happy man. Now if it’s over done, that’s not good. He’s not into shoe leather on his plate. He doesn’t need a whole of lot veggies either. Keep it simple.
2. What was the most difficult part of writing this novel?
Trying to remember the little details of the Colorado Renaissance Festival site, I’ve worked there five years and still have to stop and remember where things are. Honestly I don’t get out of the booth much during fair season and I wanted to get things as close to reality as possible and give folks a good feeling for the setting. I’ve already gotten good reviews on the details of the setting.
3. Did you do a great deal of research? Planning? Or not?
I did a bit of research. I asked a few of the folks who work the fair in the different jobs little details, like how much a full pretzel pole weighs, and how it feels after carrying it around for the whole day. I think the little things help add spice to a story. I did a lot more research for the second book in the series, “The Satyr’s Song.” I put elephants in that one, and I don’t know a whole lot about elephants, or musicians for that matter, so I spent a lot of time checking with friends, old and new about details there. I like getting things right.
4. Describe your MC in one word. Why?
Dale O’Toole has a very strong moral compass. He’s nearly the embodiment of the classic knights of old. Even when it means putting himself at risk, he’s going to do everything he can to be gallant and brave. When he gives his word, he stands by it.
5. Without giving away spoilers for the novel, can you share a secret wish of your MC?
Dale wants someone to share his life with.
6. What is your next novel about?
“The Satyr’s Song” which is currently in editing with Dreamspinner Press and due out this fall, is the second novel in Ren Fair Romances. It’s the story of a concert musician who loses his position in an orchestra and goes to work as a Satyr at Scarborough Renaissance Festival. There, he falls for a guy working with elephants. We see Dale and Austin again, but they are in the supporting cast for this one.
7. If you could have only 1 superpower, what would it be?
Shape shifting, then I could be anything I wanted to be.
8. What would you tell an aspiring writer to do?
Write. Write a lot. Also, join a critique group. There are a lot of critique groups out there, both online and in person. Find one that suits your style and personality and don’t be afraid of the criticism, it will help make your writing stronger. It also helps prepare you for working with an editor, which is a very good thing.
9. How did you determine the setting of your novel?
I’ve worked the ren fair for years. I got to thinking that it would be a great place to set a romance. Many people romanticize it. Each fair is full of its own characters and flair. Each one of those characters has a story or four to tell. It gives me a very broad pallet to draw from. The only problem I’ve had so far, and I’m working on book four right now, is not falling into a pattern where it feels like I’ve got a formula for this series. I’m gathering as many details from different fairs as I can to take future books out to different parts of the country and hopefully give each book its own unique feel.
Dale O’Toole, aka Diederik, the Demon Duke of Denmark, takes his Renaissance festivals seriously. He has been on the jousting circuit for five years and enjoys his gypsy lifestyle, traveling to faires around the country. It’s fun and he has good friends.
Austin Renfro has worked in a pirate gift shop at the Colorado Renaissance Festival for several years but has a life outside the medieval fantasy world. When Austin spies Dale during the first joust of the season, he knows he must find a way to meet him, even if the jousters and royal cast don’t normally associate with the working class.
Their first chance meeting causes more than a little embarrassment for both men, but they don’t let that stop them. They try to let their budding love find its place while keeping it from becoming common knowledge. But when a particularly conservative knight catches them in flagrante, it’s bound to cause problems. After all, jousts are dangerous….
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