1. Do all the stories you write have a history feel?
Yes, they do. I’m a lover of the ancient and medieval worlds. This came from my college classes and then teaching the literature of these worlds for 25 years.
2. How is Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom different from or similar to your other stories?
Young Knights differs only in the setting from my ancient Egypt stories. All my books for middle grade and YA readers have protagonists who—in the course of looking for who they are—take readers on an adventure that at times can be dangerous and even life threatening.
3. How is Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom inspired by King Arthur?
Young Knights takes the concepts—loyalty, friendship, courage, honor, and justice—at the heart of Arthurian legend and allows readers to explore those ideas in themselves just as the characters do.
4. How are the three main characters alike?
All of them—Gavin, Philip, and Bryan—have dreams for their futures, and are afraid that they may not be able to realize those dreams. They share many of the traits found today’s pre-teens and teenagers: they are fiercely loyal to each other and The Wild Man; they are reckless in that their decisions are not fully thought out; and they desperately want to belong to their world in some way. They have all found that friendship with The Wild Man fills up a hole in their lives.
5. How are they different?
Each of them approaches life from very diverse backgrounds. Gavin is a prince; Philip is an orphan; and Bryan is learning to be a blacksmith so that he can help support his family and himself. This colors how they look at their life. Gavin knows what is expected of him, but fears that he will fall short of his family’s expectations. Philip has lost everything and is trying to survive day-to-day. Bryan harbors a secret hope for his future that he fears will never happen because he doesn’t have the means to make that happen.
6. How did you develop the world?
The world of Arthurian Legend was already there—the castles, the knights, the honor code, the lifestyle—just waiting for my story to drop in with its adventures and characters.
7. How is this fantasy, magic story different from others?
I’ve built unique relationships between my three characters that would not be found in the Medieval Ages. That a prince, an orphan, and an apprentice would form such a strong bond of friendship would have been prevented because of the social structure of that time period in England. However, for today’s teens, I don’t believe this would be the case even in England, which still holds onto the old ways in many instances.
8. Would you please tell us a bit about what you have planned for Book II?
In brief, one of the main characters goes missing and a new character joins the adventure and danger. No more for now!
9. What was the hardest part of writing Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom?
For me, the hardest part of any of my stories is getting the story in my head down on paper the way I want. In the case of The King’s Ransom, I had the story done, and then realized that I had a major problem with one of the main characters. I had to go back in and completely rewrite every section that character appeared in!
10. What do you hope readers take away from Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom?
For my Middle Grade readers—and adults who read this—there are two things: How important it is to work together to accomplish the most difficult of tasks; and how important it is to be yourself and trust in who you are, even if that differs from who you thought you were.
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