It was 1993 and I owned a successful photography studio in a little IL. town. I also did a variety of art which included wall murals and backdrops for other photographers. I had 3 grown children and one grand child at the time. My youngest son had recently broken up with his girlfriend. Mom, meddling as usual, decided to set him up on a blind date. Where to go. Medieval Times was a new hot spot at the time. So, two sets of parents and the couple are off to the dinner performance. The show was great, but alas there was no chemistry between our young people.
After the performance I got a chance to thank our knight. As a photographer who knows great bone structure when she sees it, I could not help being impressed with our knights look and presence. When I thanked him for the performance I asked him if he needed additional comp pictures. Most young performers have little money for professional photography, a trade would work out well for both of us. I gave him my card and I really expected not to ever see him again. Two weeks later my secretary books a session with the young man from Medieval Times. Cherif Fortin
Needless to say the camera loved him. We developed a large collection of stock photographs. I was winning every photography competition that I entered. I was beginning to cross over to a mixed media presentation. Oil and Photography. No computer for me back then.
When Cherif and I would work together once in awhile he would have to make a phone call. I noticed that he doodled on a scratch pad as he talked. (Still does) the little line drawings were quite good.
I said, "Cherif, you didn't tell me you are interested in art." Then I had an idea. The backdrop business that I had created was getting to much for one lady to handle. My two sons were not interest in working with me on a regular basis. I could get them to help out once in awhile but in general it was not their cup of tea. Cherif could use extra work. It didn't take me long to bring him up to speed and we were producing a beautiful line of 10 feet by twenty feet hand painted masterpieces.
During this same time we were also creating covers for the romance industry. Our little company now was getting into the computer age. Not too much photoshop yet but our first writing effort was being fashioned on the little PC. his mom had gotten him. Soon we purchased a new PC. which Cherif assured me was very powerful. I wanted an Apple but I got voted down.
My film camera's were Nikon's and Hasselblads. Every thing is digital now. Still Nikon. I like my simple Nikon D 70 camera where Cherif has the larger, more expensive Nikons with more bells and whistles. (Boys and their toys) The technology changes daily. It's hard to keep up.
Passion's Blood was created backwards. The images inspired the book. Usually we get a story and it inspires the images. There are only four characters in the illustrations. Emric the hero, played by Cherif. Lady Leanna the heroine, who is actually Roy Orbison's (the singers) niece. Dave Spung, the king (Who was also the King at Medieval Times.) and our adorable bad guy Pat Lampke, also a knight at Medieval Times. He still rides in jousting matches and does acting parts in California.
I remember the feast scene. I had homemade breads and roasted chickens for props. The three men arrived hungry. I had to shoot quickly for they were eating the props before my very eyes. But they were so cute how could you get mad at them. That was a fun day.