Today, it is my pleasure to host Cheryl Carpinello, author of "Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend" and "The King's Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table)" from MuseItUp Publishing. Cheryl is quite an interesting writer and person. Here's what she has to say.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a twice-retired high school English teacher. I’m afraid I’m one of those people who do not do retirement well. Working with kids is a passion I have never lost. I regularly conduct Medieval Writing Workshops for local elementary/middle schools and for the Colorado Girl Scouts. We explore writing and reading, and it is fulfilling to see young students excited about writing and reading. It seems I'm not the only one who loves Medieval Times and the King Arthur Legend. The kids thoroughly enjoy writing their own medieval stories complete with dragons, wizards, unicorns, and knights. In fact, my junior English class this year jumped at the chance to write their own medieval story!
Why pick Arthurian Legend when there are so many other genres out there?
I’ve always been fascinated by King Arthur. I’ve probably read just about every fiction story written over the last 15-20 years. One of my favorites is Deepak Chopra’s The Return of Merlin. I’ve also ventured to nonfiction or scholarly accounts like Tyler Tichelaar’s King Arthur’s Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition. However, I’m more of a romantic, and it’s that side of the legend that appeals to me.
Also, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table never seem to lose their appeal to readers of all ages. When I talk about the Medieval Times with kids and adults, the talk centers around the exploits of the knights, heroes like King Arthur and Lancelot, and magic and Merlyn. What the legend says to kids and adults without them realizing it is that there is a right way and a wrong way to live. This is done with the stories of the knights with their quests, their jousts, their rescuing of the damsels, and their fighting for the underdog. These stories present young readers with vivid accounts of honor, loyalty, and friendship. This is why I chose Arthurian Legend.
In The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table), who are the Young Knights?
The Young Knights are three kids who have become friends via their friendship with a beggar/vagabond called the Wild Man. Without the Wild Man, it is likely that they would not have met and become friends because they are from very different backgrounds. Eleven-year-old Gavin is the youngest prince of Pembroke Castle in southern Wales. Fifteen-year-old Bryan has been sent to Pembroke by his parents to learn to be a blacksmith. Thirteen-year-old Philip is an orphan who wandered into Pembroke village and lives and works at the church. They are really just three lonely kids who find friendship with the Wild Man and each other. When the Wild Man is accused of murder and locked in Pembroke’s dungeon, Bryan, Philip, and Gavin are determined to prove his innocence. In order to do this, they embark upon a quest where each is tested and must conquer their fears or face humiliation and/or even death.
Would you say writing a story is easy for you? And why or why not.
Writing is something I enjoy, but I’m not sure I would categorize it as easy. It takes me a long time to get a story just the way I like it. Then once I get an idea for a story, I write out an outline. It’s not overly detailed, just an overview of the entire story. Then I spend several days doing what I tell my students is brainwork. I just think about what I’ve outlined, the possible characters, the storyline, conflicts, etc. I then go back to the outline and fill in some of the missing pieces. I do more brainwork and then finalize the outline. Once that is done, I start writing. I like to write the entire story without making any editorial changes. Once the story is done, I go back over my outline and see how the two fit or don’t fit together. Then it is editing and revision time. I generally go over a work three or four times, in addition to letting my editing partner have a go of it. Before I submit my work anywhere, I have a professional editor read and edit the manuscript.
What type of books do you like to read?
My husband says I read what no one else reads! To an extent that’s true. I love mythology, legend, ancient civilizations (particularly Ancient Egypt), non-fiction adventure, biographies of people like Queen Noor of Jordan and Zahi Hawass, action and intrigue. Some of my favorite books are Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, and Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces. I also read several MG/YA authors like Rick Riordan and Joseph Delaney, and I’m always on the lookout for books based on the King Arthur Legend.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?
Outside of spending time with my family, I love to travel. I even spent 12 years working nights after teaching school for a major airline so that we could literally travel the world. My husband and I have been all over the United States, especially during the fall to catch college football games. Las Vegas has to be my favorite city. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been there! We traveled several times to Mexico and the Caribbean, and spent two weeks on our own in Egypt. There is a place I would love to return and explore more. Our next big trip will be next spring to England and Wales. I just have to see the birthplace of King Arthur!
Tell us about what to expect in the way of stories from you in the future.
My current work-in-progress will take readers out of Medieval England and back to Ancient Egypt. It will be a mystery for tweens and will introduce readers to a famous boy pharaoh. I’m also doing brainwork on a sequel to Guinevere. 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. Enough to keep me busy for a few years!
Do you have a website and/or blog?
Yes, I have both, although I’m always behind with posts! Beyond Today (Educator), my main site, http://www.beyondtodayeducator.com contains information on the King Arthur Legend and both Guinevere and The King’s Ransom. The events section is a picture gallery of my Medieval writing workshops I do with the Colorado Girl Scouts. The education section currently shows how Guinevere aligns with the Colorado State Standards for Reading and Writing.
On my blog Carpinello’s Writing Pages http://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com, I review Children/MG/Tween/YA books, conduct interviews with authors, and post ideas to get kids involved in reading and writing.
I love it when my readers visit either website and let me know what they think about my books. I’ve even had questions about writing that kids are doing. So please, stop by and let me know you visited!
Thanks for the great interview, Cheryl.
Now, about The King's Ransom
Middle Grade Adventure Novella by Cheryl Carpinello
In medieval Wales, eleven-year-old Prince Gavin, thirteen-year-old orphan Philip, and fifteen-year-old blacksmith's apprentice Bryan are brought together in friendship by one they call the Wild Man.
When an advisor to the king is killed and a jewelled medallion is stolen from the king’s treasury, the Wild Man is accused of the theft and murder.
Filled with disbelief at the arrest of the Wild Man, the three friends embark upon a knight’s quest to save their friend’s life. To succeed, the three must confront their fears and insecurities,
and one of them will have to disclose the biggest secret of all.
Join Gavin, Philip, and Bryan on their quest and share the adventures that await them in theland of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.
THE KING’S RANSOM (Review)
By Cheryl Carpinello
What happens when you take a young prince, an orphan boy, and a young blacksmith’s apprentice, and add a man called the Wild Man, a witch, a ghost, a murder, along with a robbery? You get an adventure, a quest, and a few surprises along the way, that’s what.
In Author Cheryl Carpinello’s MG novella, THE KING’S RANSOM: Young Knights of the Round Table, we meet three boys, each facing his own demon. Gavin, the youngest prince of Pembroke Castle, is soon to be a squire. He’s also afraid. Philip, an orphan, is friends with a man known as the Wild Man. Bryan, a blacksmith’s apprentice, really wants to be a knight. When the King’s Ransom, a gold medallion that means power for whoever possesses it, is stolen and a man murdered, the Wild Man is arrested as the guilty party. To prove the Wild Man’s innocence, the boys team up and set out to find the real thief and murderer. The author develops each young man’s personality, showing his bravery and also his fears, so that the reader is cheering for them with every danger they encounter, and there are plenty of harrowing experiences that test their courage and strength. Cheryl Carpinello also adds a twist or two that surprised me.
THE KING’S RANSOM is a great introduction to King Arthur and medieval times for young readers and older readers, like me, as well. I know very little about the Knights of the Round Table, but think I’ve missed a lot by not reading their stories. I hope to remedy the situation. Ms. Carpinello’s book will make a great addition to classroom libraries and your own private library, too.
eBook courtesy of the author
Links to learn more about Cheryl and her books.
B&N book page:
Amazon book page: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0086MEW76
Muse book page: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=322&category_id=10&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1
Author of award-winning "Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend" and the CLC Recommended Read "The King's Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table)" from MuseItUp Publishing
Check out her books at one of these stores:https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylcarpinello