Monday, September 9, 2013

Author Interview – Cheryl Carpinello

at 2:30 AM

What inspired you to become a writer? Teaching students in high school who didn’t like to read or who found a million other activities to do rather than read motivated me to dig deeper into my curriculum. It is always challenging to find reading material that excites every student. In fact, it’s nearly impossible. Then one spring I decided to do The Once and Future King by T. H. White. My freshmen were ecstatic. We read; we discussed; we drew murals of chapters; we wrote poetry and songs; and we attempted to earn Knighthood in seven days! Boy, what a discovery I’d made.

I continued to teach the King Arthur Legend, and the enthusiasm never waned. I had students who would give 100% on this unit when I struggled to get them to read other literature. These kids were my inspiration for choosing the legend of King Arthur for my writing. I use the appeal of King Arthur to encourage young kids to read more and to believe that they can write. I always come away from a school visit believing that I have helped the students relate better to their writing, and hopefully, ignited a little spark in the reluctant readers to pick up a book.

Do you have any advice for writers? I know it’s been said many times, but writers need to write what they love. Also, don’t be afraid to explore and expand on that. It was my love of the works of Tolkien along with the connection to Joseph Campbell and the hero’s journey that inspired me in my writings. It has taken me beyond Arthurian Legend to ancient Egypt where a young pharaoh embarks upon his own journey to write a wrong and be united with his one true love.

Sometimes a person’s writing can take them places they never imagined. Rejoice in that and embrace it!

Are you reading any interesting books at the moment? I’m always reading at least 6 or 8 books at a time.

For my writing side: The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler and Revision by David Kaplan

For my historical side: Secrets from the Sand by Zahi Hawass and Herodotus’ Histories

For my intellectual side: The Gothic Wanderer (from Transgression to Redemption) by Tyler Tichelaar and The Annals of the World by James Ussher

For my fun side: The Last Dickens: A Novel by Matthew Pearl and The Colossus Rises, Book I of The Seven Wonders by Peter Lerangis

Will you write other books in the Arthurian genre? Future projects include a sequel to Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend. I’ve had several readers ask me what becomes of Guinevere’s friend Cedwyn, so I’m working on a storyline there. And, somewhere soon, I’m going to do another Young Knights of the Round Table. I haven’t decided yet whether to continue with the same characters, or to give a new group of young people a chance at joining the Round Table. Readers have been asking for more about young Tom who makes a couple of brief, but memorable appearances in Young Knights of the Round: The King’s Ransom.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend. At the age of 12, Princess Guinevere is called upon to make the most important decision of her life, but will she choose wisely?

What movie(s) do you love to watch? I have a few movies that I just love to get lost in! The Star Wars trilogy, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Jurassic Park trilogy, The Indiana Jones movies, Shining Through, and The Interpreter. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve watched each of these!

Why did you decide to write stories for MG/YA? I’ve written several books over the years. I’ve done an adult romance, a YA romance/bildungsroman, and several stories suitable for picture books. I just never seemed to find a genre I was passionate about writing. Then I started teaching The Once and Future King. My students loved the story and the whole medieval world. After writing Guinevere, I started doing medieval writing workshops in the elementary schools and found every classroom full of kids crazy about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and the medieval time period. I have to say that being in the classroom and working with the younger kids has been my entire motivation for writing my books.

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience? I wouldn’t say it was harder because I don’t think any age group is easier to write for than another. However, writing for young readers, as any age audience, means that you have to know your readers. With most writers being adults, writing for younger readers could be difficult if an author doesn’t interact with kids, read books they are passionate about, and understand the many facets of growing up today.

What is your favorite part of writing for young people? My favorite part of writing for young people is writing the action/adventure books that I loved growing up. In fact, I probably haven’t grown up that much. I’m still dazzled by ancient cultures, good v.s. evil, and stories that have the protagonist(s) reaching deep inside themself to meet challenges.


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Genre - Arthurian Legend

Rating – G

More details about the author

Connect with Cheryl Carpinello on Facebook & Twitter & Goodreads



ccarpinello on September 9, 2013 at 11:23 AM said...

Thank you so much for hosting me. Excited to meet your readers!

Holly M. Asher on September 9, 2013 at 7:50 PM said...

Cheryl...your gifts are what the world of youth need. Your books are a breath of fresh air. Hope teachers of all ages keep them stocked in their classrooms/libraries. And parents...put them in the hands of their young readers.

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