Help Me Welcome Author Cheryl Carpinello Today
Author Cheryl Carpinello studied Secondary English Education at the University of Northern Colorado and received a Master of Education at Lesley University. She has retired, but she hasn’t slowed down. If you know her, you’ll know she is constantly busy with travel, writing, and reading.
Through her studies and teaching, Cheryl Carpinello fell in love with the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. Her primary goal in retirement is to inspire young readers and young-at-heart readers to read more through her Tales and Legends for Reluctant Readers set in these worlds—Ancient Egypt, Medieval Wales, and coming soon, the ancient world of Atlantis.
She and her husband live in Littleton, Colorado. In addition to teaching, Cheryl worked in the airline industry which gives the couple the opportunity to tour the world.
Thank you for joining us today, Cheryl!
As a teacher, and author, what can you share with parents who are struggling to get their middle-grade and high school students to read?
Thank you for having me, Peggy.
Middle grade and high school are tough for kids in all areas. Reading for them at this age is now a priority. Parents need to be resourceful, but not pushy. Take a look at what your student is interested in, be it sports, gaming, the opposite sex, or whatever. Be curious, but not judgmental. In my high school classes, I always had the best luck with Arthurian Legend and the Greek Gods. The TV show Games of Thrones, while a huge attraction for mature viewers, is not always appropriate for these ages. However, medieval video/computer games are very appealing to them. Parents can take that interest and find suitable and fast-paced novels at an online store just by doing a topic search.
Magazines are another good resource for parents especially if the kids are into sports. In the past, magazines have taken a bad rap, but if your son/daughter plays/loves sports and are reading any of the quality sports periodicals out there, encourage, don’t discourage. These shorter reads can lead to longer works like sports biographies or memoirs.
Some kids prefer non-fiction to fiction. Others want nothing to do with ‘real’ stories. If they are reading, let them read!
A quick word about YA novels:
Please read or carefully research YA novels that your student is reading or that you are thinking of recommending. In today’s world, the term young adult is no longer just for teenagers or the new college student. With so many adults now reading YA, many of the topics are not appropriate for high school students.
It was fun to read the reviews by both a mother and daughter on Amazon of Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend (Guinevere Quest Book 1) Mother-Daughter Book Reviews:
Mother: “I love how Guinevere is depicted as strong and loyal yet contemplative. The reader is privy to Guinevere’s inner thoughts and turmoil concerning her decision to abandon her childish ways and embrace her responsibilities as the daughter of a king and spokesperson and protector of her people. I thought she was an excellent role model for tween and teenage girls alike.”
Daughter: “I liked that there was magic in the book with Merlyn the wizard, the unicorns, and the dragon. Also, I thought the story of the unicorns was sad because they have to die to save humans, but I understood (after my Mom explained it to me) that meeting the unicorn helped Guinevere decide that she has to meet her responsibilities as Lady of the kingdom and marry King Arthur.”
Choosing to highlight the first turning point in Guinevere’s life is literary gold. How have other kids reacted to the book?
Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend is a hit with young readers, particularly girls, although I emphasize that her best friend Cedwyn is one the boys will relate to. When I did medieval writing workshops for the Colorado Girl Scouts using Guinevere, I had girls coming to the workshop dressed as princess and dames. They loved exploring the medieval world.
Guinevere is a likable character, but one faced with a tough decision: At the tender age of 13, does she go along obediently with her father’s wish for her to marry King Arthur, or does she rebel against the attempt to control her future? She reacts as any spirited girl (in medieval times or today) would. But that doesn’t change the fact that she does marry Arthur. I believe it is that struggle and her spirit that draws young readers into Guinevere’s story.
In Book 2: Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend—set for release in late April, early May 2017—readers will again struggle along with Guinevere and the decisions she’s made and see how she deals with the fate of her best friend Cedwyn.
The King’s Ransom: Young Knights of the Roundtable (Tales and Legends for Reluctant Readers Book 1) is an action-packed story about three friends who are trying to prove themselves to be worthy of “Knight of the Roundtable” status. How did you come to pick the three very different stations in life for the young characters in the story?
That was easy. As a high school teacher for 25 years, I’ve had students from all walks of life and from many countries. They all had two things in common: They wanted to find their place in the world, and they wanted to discover who they were. My characters are a composite of my students. I made them from different stations in life to show readers that real friends are defined from the inside, not the outside.
Cheryl Carpinello’s “Guardian of a Princess and Other Shorts”delves into the locale & characters of your book, The King’s Ransom. How is publishing these short stories different from a full novel? Are you glad you invested the time to produce the short stories?
All of the stories in Guardian of a Princess and other Shorts are from my Arthurian novels. I either wrote stories for promotion purposes, or my editors recommended that I cut those pieces from my novels. Then, I just combined all of the stories in the one volume this last fall. My next step is to make this into a small paperback.
Have you determined what the optimum number of pages should be in a short story?
Not really. Every story just needs to have a beginning, middle, and end. Once a writer has those, that’s the length of the story.
Sons of the Sphinx is a 2015 Readers’ Favorite Finalist YA; 2015 IAN Book of the Year Finalist YA; 2015 CAL Book Award Finalist YA Fiction; 2014 Literary Classics Silver Medal for PreTeen/Tween; 2014 Literary Classics Seal of Approval.
Is Sons of the Sphinx your first time-travel novel? What specific challenges do you face when writing about people from different countries and time periods?
It is my first, but probably not my last!
I fell in love with the ancient worlds in college and through my teaching. Ancient Egypt is one of my favorites. My husband and I spent 3 weeks traveling through the country via the local train. We loved every minute of the trip. In places, it actually felt like we were in the ancient country. Being there definitely let me experience what it might have been like. I also read just about everything I can find, fiction and non-fiction. Writing about Rosa being spirited back to 1330 BC Egypt probably was me putting myself back in that mysterious world. It also didn’t hurt that when the King Tut exhibit was touring the U.S., I saw it three times, once with a hundred high school students in tow!
Tutankhamen Speaks addresses the ancient texts purporting King Tut spoke beyond the grave. Do you believe someone, someday, will find those ancients scrolls?
Wouldn’t that be fantastic! Who knows what secrets and mysteries Egypt holds?
The Book Elves Anthology Volume 2 contains seven seasonal tales for middle-grade readers. How is writing an anthology with others different from publishing your own work? Would you recommend it to authors who are new to writing?
For me, it wasn’t any different than doing one of my own, except for the deadlines. I was a bit nervous about the editing process. We all edited the stories, and since many of us knew the other authors, we all tried hard to be sure our edits were professional. It was a fun experience, and I would recommend it for any author. Big thanks to fellow author Jemima Pett who handled most of the publishing chores.
What is the targeted age group for Wild Creatures in my Neighborhood?
These stories are for ages 0-7 (beginning readers and those not there yet). The pictures are big and colorful, and the stories use repeating phrases so that once they’ve heard the story several times, kids know where the phrases come in the story and repeat them at the correct time. This is one of the first steps in learning to read.
If Cheryl Carpinello could spend a year in any country in the world, where would you choose to go?
I couldn’t choose any one country; I would choose many! Right now, I want to see too much to spend a year in one country. My choices: Greece, Italy, Finland, France, Egypt (again!), England (again!), Scotland (again!), Ireland, Iceland (again!), Morocco, Jordan, Cyprus, and Australia. Just to name a few!
Do you have any new books in the works?
Book 2 in my middle-grade Guinevere trilogy is due out in late April or early May 2017. It’s been a long time coming. I never planned to write a book 2, but someone (hint: Guinevere’s friend Cedwyn) kept interrupting my other work. Cedwyn wanted to know when I was going to keep my promise and make him a knight! So, in Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend, Guinevere at age 15 and her friend Cedwyn (age 12) find themselves on another adventure that ends up going the wrong direction. And Cedwyn gets to be a knight, but in no way that he or Guinevere ever imagined.
Thank you for joining us here today, Cheryl Carpinello! Thank you for inspiring our children to read!
Thank you, Peggy, for having me!
You can connect with Cheryl Carpinello Below