Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to present author LJ DARE!
LJ’s writing is very near and dear to me. Her tales are reminiscent of the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson and Jane Austen. What I love best about her is how ‘PG’ she is; I was perfectly comfortable giving her stories to my teenage niece to read. The historicity of her tales – combined with her strong sense of good taste – makes her work read like it’s straight out of the nineteenth century, my favorite era in literature.
So without any further ado … LJ DARE!!!
(All opinions and statements contained in this interview are solely those of the author providing them, and may not necessarily reflect my own. – Virginia)
Blurb for The King’s Blade
After surviving a massacre, Lady Megan MacKelloch intends on seeking sanctuary with the Poor Claires for herself and her young sisters. That is until Lord John Lindsay, known as The King’s Blade, is ordered to find her.
As the Crown’s chief criminal investigator, Lindsay metes out justice as he deals with murder, betrayal and intrigue but never has he encountered such female resistance. Life has taught John and Megan not to believe in love. So, when forced into marriage by a Royal Decree, can they set aside their differences and learn to trust their hearts?
Burb for A Bride for the King
Accompanying her twin sister who is marry the Barovian King, Lady Belle Bradford agrees to switch places with her sister until after her twin has met her future husband. But when rebels surrounded the village, Belle is whisked away to safety by the King’s military commander.
Prince Nikolai Orsini, heir apparent and Supreme Commander of Barovian Forces, recognizes his only duty is to get his future Queen safely to the church on time. What he hadn’t counted on was falling in love with her. Deceived, betrayed and hunted, can these two learn to rely on love?
Blurb for The King’s Spy
Working undercover for the monarchy as the King’s Spy, Baron Donovan Forbes investigates rumors of possible abductions, espionage and treasonous plots. That is until he encounters the unpredictable Lady Eileen Fraser. Eileen will do anything to escape her older sister’s scandalous reputation. Even if it entails stealing a horse, donning a disguise, organising a rescue, or spying on Forbes’ clandestine activities. So, when forced into marriage by Royal Decree, will Novan and Eileen discover that while love at first sight is blind? But will it conquer all?
When did you start writing? What made you first heard decide to try your hand at it?
I’ve always written-poems, lyrics, skits, and have been curious about everything, asking ‘what if, why?’ I kept a journal with words I didn’t know the meaning of, then added bits of conversation I had heard, descriptions of people, places, emotions, expressions, new ideas and unusual situations. Then in college, I took a playwriting class.
What was your first published work? What do you think of it now?
The King’s Blade, novel #10 (the other eight are contemporary) & it was my 2nd historical. I am very proud of the story line that is based on historical fact.
How do you balance writing with your personal life?
I run my errands, do lunch prep, housework, gardening, laundry in the mornings. I spend my afternoons writing, working on correcting the edits I receive, researching and/or doing social media promotion. In between this I pick up my great-grandson from school, drive my brother to his appointments, assist my husband in the office. & most important of all, I always take my clipboard with my writing on it with me.
Do people you actually know make appearances in your stories?
Not normally but in Book #6-Whispers of Deceit that is currently in the editing phase, the two little boys are a combination of my younger brothers, John & James and my Great-grandson, Brayden.
Do you have stories you want to write that you haven’t yet?
I would like to write about Hadrian’s Wall& the Roman occupation of Scotland. I was very impressed with the artifacts that are housed in the Roman Museum, near the archeological site of Vindoland west of Hexham, England.
Have you ever written a story based on a personal experience you had? If so, what was it about?
Not an entire story but I’ve used actual life experiences I’ve had. We are retired military and have been fortunate to have traveled the world. Both my husband and I love history so we naturally gravitate toward historical places and museums. My most memorable, is in my Civil War Spies Book#3, Web of Intrigue (which I’mwriting now) was standing on Little Roundtop at Gettysburg. I used the vertical climb of dark uneven stairs of the Drum Tower in Beijing in A Bride for a King. The storm we encountered crossing the North Sea from Copenhagen to Harwich, England in Civil War Spies Book #1, Deadly Secrets. The borderlands and St. Margaret’s Chapel in The King’s Blade, the grounds of Edinburgh Castle in The King’s Spy and the area of Loch Lomond in The King’s Ladies.
Do you let real-life events influence your work, or is there a ‘disconnect’ between your stories and world/national/local events?
When I write, I am very aware of how I portray all of my characters. We all have positive and negative traits. I do try to treat all with respect.
Is your writing time planned out or structured? Do you go on writing ‘benders’?
I am a planner. I create the plot and characters so that when I sit down to write I know what I’m writing and where I’m going with it. Now, does that mean that sometimes my writing doesn’t take a curve ball? Of course it does. I don’t fight it, I go with it to see where it leads and thus far, it is better than what I had first planned by giving me more twists and turns in the plot.
What to you is the most rewarding aspect of being a writer?
For me its sitting down and creating an imaginary world that ‘lives’ for me. Since I write transformational, my goal is when readers finish my novels, they have a sense of hope, that through all adversity, love, kindness and respect conquers all.
Do you write when you take a vacation, or do you prefer to simply relax?
I write everywhere, while sitting at the bow of a boat traveling down the Amazon River, The Nile, The Mekong, & the Yangtze. On airplanes, buses, autos, trains , in restaurants, on a park bench, and even once during Father Charlie’s Sunday sermon. I always carry a note pad and pen.
What’s one quirky thing about you that your readers might not know?
When we were stationed at Ft. Riley, KS, I taught Speech and Drama in Junction City. When we moved to Arizona, the state wasn’t hiring out of state teachers, so I went to work at the local hospital. Central Processing & Central Sterile was attached to the Surgery Department. I often worked the weekend and that meant I often times was pulled into surgery in case the surgical team needed additional supplies. Thus I became very interested in the practice of medicine. Which I’ve also had helped in my writing. When Arizona opened their hiring doors, I changed from secondary to elementary and returned to teaching. I’m short, so at least this time I was a bit taller than most of my students.
What’s your favorite movie? Why?
Gone with the Wind. The sheer scope of the subject, action, cast and characters still leave me breathless. But the fall of 2019, our Granddaughter gave us tickets for the stage play, Hamilton. Both my husband and I were blown away with the plot, talent and music of the play.
Do you set up events to meet your readers, or is your interaction with them strictly online?
Tomorrow, I am giving a presentation at a charter school in the area. On the 9th, I will be appearing at the Aquarius Casino’s Girls’ Day Out event in Laughlin, NV. I’ve done that event since 2017 but when Covid struck it was cancelled last year but has resumed this year.
Have you ever had to exhaustively research something (say, history) for any of your books?
I love researching, so I look forward to finding the quirks and little-known facts. For me that is what makes history exciting.
THANK you, LJ, for gracing the pages of virginiawallace.com today! Thank you for your endearing, pulse-pounding tales, and here’s wishing you all the best in the future!
LJ Dare’s books are available on Amazon.com. (Sorry, no link. Amazon tends to hijack my page and drive my security programs bonkers.)
To read more about LJ Dare on virginiawallace.com: https://virginiawallace.com/2020/10/02/the-kings-blade-by-l-j-dare-a-review/