The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Welcome historical romance author, Marisa Dillon...

 Hi Marisa! Great to have you here and to be a part on your ongoing tour for THE LADY OF THE GARTER - I am looking forward to learning more about you and your work! Let's get started with my questions...

What was your first job? At age 16, my first job was working at the front counter of a local McDonalds. I didn’t like it. My high school friends would stop by and try to coerce me into giving them free food. It was hard to say no to the cute guys. That was the motivation I needed to decide I was going to college. My parents warned me without a good education, I could get stuck there. The fear factor worked. After my earning a degree in journalism, I was able to snag a dream job in television, and I loved it. 

Do you have a pet peeve? It may sound weird, but I don’t. I consider myself a positive person. The glass is always half full on my table. That’s one of the main reasons why I love romance. The guys always gets his girl. And the ending is guaranteed to be a happy one.

Would you describe your style as shabby chic, timeless elegance, eclectic, country or ____? My style is my own, but “put-together.” Remember that job at McDonalds? Well, it only lasted three weeks. After that, I went to work for The Limited clothing stores. Throughout high school and college, I honed my style, as I coordinated the clothing for the store mannequins. My husband shakes his head when I can’t go anywhere without looking like a window display.

Tell me about your book The Lady of the Garter. The story is set in the late 1400s. The   heroine, Lady Elena, is a strong, independent woman determined to achieve two goals: win the heart of Sir James, a knight in the Order of the Garter, and to attain knighthood herself. The story grows as Elena disguises herself as a boy, becomes James’ squire and follows him into battle. But Elena’s determination and strength are tested as she confronts obstacles put in place by her nemesis, the evil Sir Nicholas. The twists and turns lead the reader on a romantic, high-spirited adventure that follows one woman’s pursuit of honor and true love.

Where you got your inspiration for it? I love the idea of chivalry and romance mingling together. In the late 15th century, the notion of the knight in shining armor was not a fantasy, but a reality. (If history doesn’t lie)  And as a lover of history and romance, I couldn’t resist researching and then writing about a group of knights who have been revered and served the English monarchy for generations. The Most Noble Order of the Garter was founded in 1348, holds the highest order of chivalry and is the most prestigious group in service to England. Even Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, is a Garter Knight today. I used many historical details about the Garter in my story.

Who is your role model and why? Johanna Lindsey, author of fifty novels in various subgenres of historical romance. Many of her titles have been New York Times best sellers. I believe I’ve read every one of them, beginning with Gentle Rouge. That was the first historical romance I’d ever read. When my two boys were little, and my husband worked nights, I needed a distraction. I could always count on a Johanna to deliver a cleverly crafted story, with strong characterization, and the happily every after I wanted.

How much of your book is realistic? Quite a bit of it, actually. Outside of paying homage to the history of the Garter, I also used cities, castles, abbeys and some real characters that existed in England when King Henry VII was crowned and the Tudor House was born. I did extensive research to make sure the realistic parts were accurate.

What are your ambitions for your writing career? To quit my day job and work full time as an author, including traveling the world for research and inspiration.

Share one fact about yourself that would surprise people. One of my hobbies is performing as a belly dancer.

The Lady of the Garter
by Marisa Dillon



When Henry VII takes the throne, not all are loyal to the new king. Garter knight, Sir James, is charged with bringing dissenters to justice. Determined to fulfill his vows, he’s unprepared for Lady Elena, a girl from his past he’s never forgotten.

Lady Elena defies her family and disguises herself as a squire to reunite with the man she’s always loved. She might be able to wield a sword, but she still possesses a woman’s heart.

Thrust into a world of danger and family rivalry, James and Elena face the ultimate test.

Can James avenge his father’s death and find passion, or will his Garter oaths hold him to a life of service without love?



Servants began to bustle about the hall. Men offered pitchers of rose-scented water and towels. Overflowing baskets of fresh bread and pitchers of wine were placed on the tables. Elena was ready for some mead after all she’d been through. Once the king’s taster sampled the fair, he nodded to the queen. The feast had officially begun. Nudging her brother, Elena confessed, “I was ordered out of the tent.”

“What did you expect? What kind of man do you take James for?” He laughed, raising his goblet in honor of the king.

“You tease me,” she said. “I don’t like it.”

“What did you find, Edward?”

“A foul-mouthed, dirty warrior,” she complained. “Not the sweet innocent lad I fell in love with.”

William’s eyes were filled with merriment. “Lads grow into men. Men become knights.” He studied her face. “And what of your other goal?”

“Whatever do you mean?”

“Becoming a knight,” he reminded her.

Elena gasped. The other squires stared as if they’d overheard her brother.

William chuckled, raising his cup again. “Long live the king.” The squires joined his salute.

Elena shot her brother a look of warning. How could he be so careless? Spirits. She rolled her eyes. “I admit it,” she said with defiance, keeping her voice low. “I want to become a knight. I’ve never kept that secret from you, but we both agreed I must serve as a squire first.”

Their conversation was interrupted by a woman who placed a trencher on the table in front of them.

“Peacock, venison, quail, and rabbit,” the wench announced, flashing a toothless grin.

William quickly helped himself to half the meat. Always selfish, he even chose the tenderest pieces of venison.

She glowered at him. “Will nothing change? I must accept the meager portions left after you claim the best?”

He licked his fingers, then leaned in so only she could hear his reply. “To these lads you’re just another squire. But I know what’s underneath those pants. So yes, you are still a female, and I get the best. Be satisfied there’s anything left for you to eat.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

With a degree in journalism, Marisa has spent many years writing for the television industry. As an award-winning producer/director/marketer, she has worked on commercial production, show creation, product branding and social media.

Marisa’s passion for writing began when her first-grade teacher read her poem aloud and posted it on the classroom wall. She soon followed up by writing plays for her neighborhood friends and hosting the productions in her garage.

Marisa has always enjoyed reading romance novels and now realizes a dream come true, writing romantic adventures. She lives in Kettering, Ohio, with her first love and knight in shining armor, James.

You can visit Marisa at:
And you can connect with Marisa on and

Marisa Dillon will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn host.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:



  1. Replies
    1. I appreciate the opportunity to be featured here today!

  2. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.