It’s Author Interview Thursday and I’m so glad you’ve taken out time to join me today. Today’s special guest is no stranger to AIT. She’s been previously featured on this blog and it was an absolute delight to have her share writing tips and experiences she’s had as a writer. With the recent release of her latest book – Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend – I’m so glad to have her back. Please join me in welcoming Cheryl Carpinello.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written?
Hi David. Thanks for having me. I’m a retired high school (ages 14-18) English teacher. My husband and I love to travel and have been to the UK, Egypt, Iceland, Mexico, and several islands in the Caribbean. We have four grandkids ranging from 2-10 years of age.It wasn’t until after I had written my first book and had the second one out that I heard from my readers. One of the Girl Scouts who read Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend and was buying The King’s Ransom told me how much she enjoyed the story. I was thrilled. Thankfully, since then, I’ve heard from young readers who’ve read my books, and from their parents and grandparents who bought my books to give to young readers.
What was the inspiration behind your latest book?
I’m not sure I had an inspiration as much as the need to quiet the characters, in particular one, who kept hounding me for nearly seven years to finish their story. Young Cedwyn, Guinevere’s friend, repeatedly reminded me that I promised in Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend that he could be a knight. Finally I gave in not only to silence Cedwyn, but also because I figured if Cedwyn felt at loose ends, maybe I had readers out there who also wanted to see what happened to Guinevere and Cedwyn. And so, I wrote Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend in which Cedwyn gets to be a knight, but not how he imagined it would happen.
Were there any books that you drew inspiration from as you wrote Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend?
Not any specific one. I keep in mind the type of books I liked to read as a kid: stories of adventure, danger, friendship, and set in an ancient or medieval background. I also wanted a page-turner, not one bogged down in paragraphs of description.
Can you tell us how your background as a teacher influences your approach to writing children’s books?
The fact that I write Arthurian Legend is because of the students I taught. Kids I couldn’t get to read became readers when I taught the King Arthur unit. They loved those stories of knights, battles, and quests. After several years of teaching this, I decided to introduce younger readers to Arthurian Legend.
Is there a particular book or film that inspires you to be a better writer and why?
I would say Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I’ve always been intrigued by books that have stories within the stories. These add more depth to the books and give readers the opportunities to explore more in order to understand the complete story. I’ve tried to do this with my Arthurian books.
What is your favorite medieval film and why?
I have a couple. Braveheart because of the historical significance; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves because it is a heroic romp that leaves me feeling good; and—you better sit down—First Knight because it is a story that touches my heart. In my medieval films, I don’t like gratuitous violence or sexual
What three things should a good medieval book or film possess?
For me, David, I prefer magic and fantastic creatures, adventure, and a plot that transports me into the story.
Have you started working on your next book and can you tell us a little bit about it?
Yes, I have. I’m about half way through the first draft of the final book in my Guinevere trilogy: Guinevere: The Legend. At the end of Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend, Guinevere and Cedwyn are in dire straits. With one in Britain and one in Gaul, they are both in
Where can readers and fans connect with you?
My website ( http://www.cherylcarpinello.com ) is a good place to connect and send me messages. Also, take a look at my blog: http://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com . My author page on
Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.carpinello1 .
Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?
Focus on your writing and your target audience. Try to connect with other writers through physical writing groups and online for support and encouragement. Share your success and failures with like souls. Don’t let the frustration of the industry get you down. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to walk away from your writing when it isn’t going right. Just don’t go too far!
Awesome! Thanks for not holding back and sharing so much from your journey. I think as authors we sometimes get frustrated and it’s because we take our eyes off of the ‘main thing’ – our calling to write. Please connect with Cheryl at one of the links she provided. Check out Cheryl’s books on Amazon and grab a copy for yourself or a loved one. Also remember to share this interview using the social buttons below and leave a comment.