It’s Author Interview Thursday and I’m so glad you’ve joined me today and our special guest. The wonderful lady in the hotseat has a background in education and recently became a grandma for the third time. Between juggling her roles as a wife, mother, grandma, educator, champion of children authors and so much more, she finds the time to write brilliant books for Middle Grade and Young Adult readers. She writes Quest stories that span different historical time periods like the Medieval era or ancient Egypt. She’s one of the main hosts of the Kidlit Blog Hop and has personally helped me broadcast my books on her blog and social platforms. She has a big heart and I know you’ll pick up something good. Do join me in welcoming Cheryl Carpinello.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself & the first time someone complemented you on something you had written.
I’m a twice-retired high school (ages 14-18) English teacher from Colorado having taught for 25 years. I love working with my students, and now I write for middle graders and early teens. It is my love of the ancient and medieval worlds that provides my settings for my stories.
Shortly after my first book, Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, was published, I was doing a medieval writing workshop for 30 Junior Girl Scouts. As part of their participation, each girl received an autographed copy of my book. About a week later, I received an email from one of the girls. She told me that she had fallen in love with Guinevere and thanked me for writing the story. She also wanted to know when the next book would be released!
What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Cheryl Carpinello?
Readers can be sure that they will be transported back into the ancient or medieval world in an adventure that at times, while exciting, may be dangerous and life-threatening. Weaved throughout the story are historical facts and fiction which enable readers to imagine themselves in that setting.
I would like to say that it was from my childhood when I first watch Disney’s The Sword in the Stone, but my fascination with Medieval times started in college when I read Malory’s Morte d’Arthur. I fell in love with his descriptive interpretations of that era. Then I discovered T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. I’m a romantic and these stories drew me into the heart of medieval times. As for the ancient worlds, I’ve always loved them and teaching ancient Greek & Roman literature furthered my fascination and love. We spent three weeks touring Egypt in 2008. Always on my bucket list, Egypt stole part of my soul.
What were some of your favourite books as a child?
I loved—and still do—horses. I devoured horse stories growing up. My favorites were The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley and The Golden Stallion series by Rutherford Montgomery.
What role would you say social media plays in building an author’s platform, and have you found it helpful in marketing your books?
In today’s book world, social media is where an author gets their name out in the world. An author needs exposure and social media can be an important tool. I’ve met a lot of people—authors, readers, educators, PR—that would not have been possible without Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, & Pinterest. In that aspect, it has been helpful, but at times it is also frustrating, overwhelming, and time consuming. I would love to have a simple formula to plug in and use. Know one?!
Writing good dialogue demands an ear for how an author’s characters speak. After 25 years teaching teenagers (14-18), their nuances and mannerisms are second nature to me. That is extremely helpful when writing for MG/Tween/YA. Authors should pay attention to conversations around them. If writing for young readers, observe nieces/nephews/younger cousins and/or volunteer at local schools/youth sporting events. Observation and listening are important tools when it comes to writing dialogue.
Is there a particular book or film that inspires you to be a better writer and why?
I would have to choose Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien handles the hero’s journey and the quest story masterfully. We studied the similarities between Tolkien, Golding’s Lord of the Flies, and T.H. White’s The Once and Future King in my high school English classes and talked a lot about the influence of Joseph Campbell in all of those. For readers not familiar with Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, Tolkien does the best job of incorporating Campbell’s philosophy in his writing. That is what I strive to emulate in my writing.
Toy Story or Shrek?
Shrek! Sorry to say I’ve never seen Toy Story. Shrek is on his own hero’s journey in his story.
With a background in education, what qualities have you seen in books that tend to capture children’s imagination?
Kids tend to be drawn into stories that transport them to other world(s). Writers can do this by focusing on their audience and writing at a level that encourages growth in understanding and vocabulary. Continuous action without long drawn out description is equally important. Young readers also love to read about characters that they can identify with either in age, situation, or experience. Take poetry as an example. Many readers—young and old—have a difficult time with understanding poetry in meaning and vocabulary. The main reason for this is that readers bring to a written piece of work their personal experiences. If they are unable to relate to the poem’s topic or the vocabulary is several levels above where they are reading, chances are good that the poem won’t be finished or even tried again. The same works for stories, fiction and non-fiction.
What three things should a first time visitor to Colorado do?
Getting up into our Colorado Rocky Mountains is a must whether it’s summer or winter. Colorado has 53—although some say more—peaks over 14,000 feet (4267.2 meters) in height. Hiking or snow skiing in the Rockies is an experience not found elsewhere.
Southwestern Colorado has some of the best examples of Native American ruins in the US. Mesa Verde with its cliff dwellings is not to be missed.
If visiting in spring or summer, taking in a concert at the world-renowned Red Rocks Amphitheater is an experience of a lifetime. The best of the music world have performed on this outdoor venue including The Beatles, Mumford & Sons, and James Taylor. The entire metro Denver area is visible from the seats as well as the start of the eastern plains.
After spending the last two years in ancient Egypt, I’m back in Medieval England working on the second of three Guinevere books. Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend was meant to be a stand-alone. Over the last five years, I’ve had readers contact me wanting to know when the next book about this young princess would be done. Also, Guinevere’s young friend Cedwyn has been whispering in my ear. Seems he really does have his heart set on becoming a knight! So, I’ve given into the pressure and am just finishing the first draft of Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend—Cedwyn’s Story. At this time, it looks like very late in 2015 or early in 2016 for a release date.
Where can readers and fans connect with you?
I have three websites:
Blog: Carpinello’s Writing Pages http://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com where I interview children/MG/YA authors. Readers can find your interview there.
Author Site: Beyond Today Educator http://www.beyondtodayeducator.com
3-Author Site: The Quest Books http://www.adventurequestbooks.com where I team up with South African MG author Fiona Ingram and Abu Dhabi MG author Wendy Leighton-Porter. New subscribers to our monthly newsletter get to choose a free eBook from all our eBooks.
Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/cherylcarpinello
Twitter Home Page: https://twitter.com/ccarpinello
Linkedin Page: www.linkedin.com/pub/cheryl-carpinello/25/671/a02
Google URL: https://plus.google.com/110918922081424857545/
Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?
Write because you love to write, not to get rich. Writing is a long uphill climb.
Write the type of story you love to read, not what is popular.
Be passionate about your audience.
Thank you, David, for having me.
The pleasure was all mine Cheryl. I liked what you said about observation and listening being highly beneficial when it comes to writing good dialogue. Do connect with Cheryl at one of the links she provided. I did a short piece on Cheryl’s latest book – Sons of Sphinx. Be sure to share this interview on your social network and leave a comment below.