Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Interview with Jamie Pacton for The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly

The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly

by Jamie Pacton
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: May 5th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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Kit Sweetly slays sexism, bad bosses, and bad luck to become a knight at a medieval-themed restaurant.

Working as a wench―i.e. waitress―at a cheesy medieval-themed restaurant in the Chicago suburbs, Kit Sweetly dreams of being a knight like her brother. She has the moves, is capable on a horse, and desperately needs the raise that comes with knighthood, so she can help her mom pay the mortgage and hold a spot at her dream college.

Company policy allows only guys to be knights. So when Kit takes her brother’s place and reveals her identity at the end of the show, she rockets into internet fame and a whole lot of trouble with the management. But the Girl Knight won’t go down without a fight. As other wenches join her quest, a protest forms. In a joust before Castle executives, they’ll prove that gender restrictions should stay medieval―if they don’t get fired first.

Can you briefly describe THE LIFE AND (MEDIEVAL) TIMES OF KIT SWEETLY and its characters?

THE LIFE AND (MEDIEVAL) TIMES OF KIT SWEETLY is about 17-year-old Kit, a serving wench at the Castle, a medieval-themed restaurant. Kit desperately wants to be a knight like her older brother Chris, but only cis dudes can be knights according to company policy. One shift, Kit rides out in Chris’ place. Her triumph—and the moment she reveals “I AM NO MAN!”— is caught on video, and Kit goes viral. She uses her newfound fame to launch a campaign to change things at the Castle. She’s joined by a group of friends—fierce folks across the gender spectrum— and they band together to over throw the medieval notion that only cis guys can be knights. There’s also a sweet friends-to-lovers story between Kit and her bff Jett; and, a whole lot of economic ups and downs as Kit navigates the financial instability her family faces. 

Who would you say is your favourite character from the story and why?

I absolutely love Kit, and I put so many of my secret thoughts, strivings, wishes, and jokes into her. I kind of think all authors do that to some degree with their characters, but seventeen-year-old Kit and seventeen-year-old Jamie are very similar. That said, I also adore Jett, her bff and love interest; and, I very much want to be friends with her other bff, Layla. And, I also really like her brother, Chris. He’s the brother I wish I had. 

Overall, my goal in KIT was to write lots of characters that readers loved as much as I did, so they could see some of their own favorite people in my characters. 

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere?

I wrote a whole Twitter thread on this, but the short story is that a few months after the terrible results of the 2016 election, I took my youngest son to Medieval Times in Chicago. We’d talked a lot during the election cycle about feminism and a female president; and, although I didn’t go into the night of medieval fun and pageantry thinking I’d emerge with a book, as I watched the male knights ride and the female wenches serve us food (and as I talked with them), it occurred to me that we should have knights of all genders. And thus Kit’s quest was born. 

And, for more general thoughts on inspiration (not sure if you just meant for KIT or otherwise), this is from my website.

I definitely pull deeply from my own life and past experiences, but I’m also currently writing a fantasy novel randomly inspired by a quirky boutique name in a tiny town near where I live. I’ve also pulled stories from historical tidbits I found while researching other books; from questions that pop into my mind; and, from trying to figure out what a certain type of character would do in a certain situation. I also get ideas from smashing two or more book/movie/tv comps together and challenging myself to think about what the resulting story might look like. Oh! And sometimes I scroll through MSWL threads on twitter to see what agents and editors are asking for and that can be inspiring in surprising ways. 

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be?

Uhm….I am really terrible with questions like this because I can never pick one song! 

I listened to a lot of Santigold while writing KIT, and Disparate Youth is the song I always hear in my head when I think of Kit and her friends out there jousting. 

That said, any of the Queen songs from A Knight’s Tale and possibly the Beatles “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends” would also work. And I have like ten others I really want to mention here…. J 

If your book was going to be made into a movie, who would play your characters?

Kit: Sophia Lillis

Jett: Karan Brar

Layla: Skai Jackson 

Alex: Bex Taylor Klaus

Lizzy: Danielle MacDonald

Mags: Chelsea Zhang

Penny: Jazz Jennings 

Chris: George MacKay

What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

Take my book to the Ren Faire or a medieval-themed restaurant for the perfect book date! You can feast on chicken legs and drink out of fancy goblets while watching the jousts.

If that’s not available, then I recommend staying in, watching A Knight’s Tale, and snacking on anything that you can use sword fight with should the need arise (carrot sticks, chicken legs, pretzel rods, etc.). 

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish THE LIFE AND (MEDIEVAL) TIMES OF KIT SWEETLY?

Absolutely! I think of Jen De Luca’s adult romance WELL MET as the older sister of KIT. It’s set in a Ren Faire, full of great Shakespeare jokes, and absolutely a delight. If you’re looking for a YA feminist rom-com with great banter, incredibly loveable characters, and a unique setting, I highly recommend Rachel Lynn Solomon’s forthcoming book TODAY, TONIGHT, TOMORROW. It’s a sheer joy of a story and I fell totally in love with her characters. 

What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?

I love almost every part of the writing process, but slogging through a first draft is the hardest part for me. I have a surplus of ideas; I love planning out a story and having the pieces of it slot into place; and, revisions are so much fun. But, that first pass is an uphill grind because there’s a 70,000 word blank space between what I imagine the book can be and actually getting it on the page. I tend to draft very quickly and messily, just so I can get the story down and then I go back and make it better. 

What’s next for you?

My next book with Page Street is called LUCKY GIRL and it’ll come out in 2021. Like KIT, LUCKY GIRL is funny YA contemporary that also takes a look at some hard stuff. It’s about 17-year-old Fortuna Jane Belleweather, a normal girl in a small Wisconsin town who bought a lotto ticket and won 58 million dollars. The only problem is that Jane was a minor when she purchased the ticket, which means if she tries to cash it, she’ll lose the money and be guilty of a misdemeanour. Jane desperately needs to find someone to cash the ticket for her, but she can’t give it to her hoarder mother; her hippie grandmother wants nothing to do with it; and, that leaves Jane’s 18-year-old ex-boyfriend Holden, who’s she’s still not over. Schemes, heists, and betrayals occur as Jane navigates her lucky break and tries to get over her broken heart. Luckily, like Kit, she’s got a wonderful best friend by her side to help her through whatever life throws at her. 

Beyond that, I’m also drafting a YA fantasy and working on some MG projects. Because I’m always juggling a few books at once. :)

Jamie Pacton writes all sorts of books: dark, feminist YA fantasy; contemporary YA stories with a funny + geeky bent; funny MG adventure-fantasy; and, even the occasional adult rom-com. She was a Pitch Wars mentee in 2015 and she mentored YA in 2016, 2017, and 2018. She grew up minutes away from the National Storytelling Center in the mountains of East Tennessee; she’s the oldest of ten kids; and, she currently lives in rural Wisconsin with her husband, their two kids, and a dog named Lego. The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly (forthcoming May 5, 2020) is her Young Adult debut.


  1. This book is highly anticipated read for me. Already on my TBR!

  2. This book sounds so cute! I love that medieval themes are being used in contemporaries now!