Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cheryl Carpinello, Young Knights of the Round Table

AUTHOR: Cheryl Carpinello
BOOK TITLE: Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom
PUBLISHER: MuseItUp Publishing
BUY LINK: AmazonUS Knights ebook:

BOOK TITLE: Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend
PUBLISHER: Outskirts Press

Please tell me how long you've been writing, and why you decided to become a writer.

As an English teacher, I taught all types of writing, but with an emphasis on essays, research papers, and some poetry. We did get to experiment with creative writing, but not often. My creative writing mainly involved experimenting with writing different types of novels. Not until about six years ago, did I decide to write for young readers and try to get published.

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. They were my influence for Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend and Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom

Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?

I actually write part-time. The rest of the time I’m doing tasks related to my writing: thinking about my story, editing, working on my blog, or marketing my books. Today, most writers spend a lot of time marketing their work. When I am working on a book, I generally write in the afternoon or evening.

What influences your writing?

First: My high school students. I had students read T. H. White’s The Once and Future King when I couldn’t get them to read anything else. I write for the younger students in hopes that they might get hooked on reading at an earlier age.

Joseph Campbell’s The Hero of a Thousand Faces is at the root of all my writing. The idea of the hero’s quest fits perfectly with Arthurian tales and with most of the stories for young readers out there. It figured prominently in The King’s Ransom and is the driving force behind my current work in progress and its characters.

Is this your first published work?  What other types of writing have you done?

My novels are spent to inspire young readers to read more and to enjoy their reading experience. My first Arthurian tale Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend introduces the Princess Guinevere just before her thirteen birthday and her young friend Cedwyn. All my students knew of Guinevere is that she married Arthur, fell in love with Lancelot, and betrayed Arthur. By the end, I hope readers come away with more understanding of Guinevere and her actions.

My second Arthurian tale thrusts readers into the world of the Knights of the Round Table. The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table) deals with the cornerstones of the Knights: Honor, Loyalty, and Friendship. Brought together in friendship by one they call The Wild Man, eleven-year-old Prince Gavin, thirteen-year-old orphan Philip, and fifteen-year-old blacksmith’s apprentice Bryan swear a Knight’s oath to prove the Wild Man isn’t a thief and murderer. In their individual quests, they encounter danger, death, and their own self doubts.

I also have a couple of simple picture books out there and a Behind the Scenes look at the making of Young Knights.

Why did you choose to write a children's story?

I have taught hundreds of high school students over 25 years. They’re my inspiration and my reason for writing stories for younger kids. I had students who devoured books, students who dabbled with reading, and students who never answered the call of books. Through my years in the classroom, I have found that the Legend of King Arthur speaks to all of these students, especially the last group, the reluctant readers. These kids are the ones I want to reach with my stories, the ones I want to inspire to embrace the world of reading.

What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book?

Young Knights took just over three years. The story outline that I first started with is not the story that I ended up with. I developed numerous timelines for each character’s quest. Then I had to put those together and fit them into the time frame for the story. Once the entire story finished, I realized that I had made a major error with one of my characters. I had to go back over the whole story and make changes to that character in every scene. In July 2011, MuseItUp Publishing accepted Young Knights, and it debuted as an E-book May 25, 2012. The paperback, complete with sketches, will be ready for distribution by May 2013.

What are your thoughts on traditional versus self-publishing?

Both methods have their pros and cons, and the line between them is getting more blurred each day. The most obvious difference is the cost of publishing: None vs. $$$. In terms of marketing each, unless you are a top list author, both methods require authors to invest time and usually money in advertising. For me, having done both, the deciding factor is how much control I am willing to give up over my books. I evaluate that with each book I write.

What is your marketing strategy?

Having self-published Guinevere, I learned that marketing is a never-ending job. In fact, most of the time it can be overwhelming. Getting a book in front of as many people as possible is the key to successful marketing. I blog about my books, conduct Medieval Writing Workshops for schools and the Colorado Girl Scouts. I’m also a believer in gaining exposure and visibility by entering contests. Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend was a finalist in the 2011 Global eBook Awards and that has boosted my sales.

Specifically for Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom, I’ve done three virtual blog tours: One of my own making, one with Orangeberry Tours, and one with World of Ink. Each tour included interviews, book reviews, and guest posts.

I’ve also entered Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom in several contests. In July 2012, the book was honored by the Children’s Literary Classics with their Seal of Approval, and in October 2012, Young Knights received CLC’s Silver Award for YA Fiction. Young Knights was also a Finalist in the 2012 USA Best Book Awards for E-Book Children. These are really a boon for me as one of my main target audiences in elementary/middle grade school classrooms. School visits in connection with my medieval writing workshops have to be my favorite marketing tool.

Additionally, for Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom, I wrote a 40-plus page promo book that is available on Amazon. The promo book includes my characters’ interview, an author interview, previously unpublished material from the original manuscript, an excerpt from Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom and other goodies.

What are your thoughts about children's writers needing an agent or not needing one?

I’m not real sure about the need for an agent. Part of that stems from getting turned down so many times. I was able to find a home for Young Knights with MuseItUp Publishing without an agent, and Muse has done a wonderful job with it. The idea of needing an agent is changing, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see agents changing the way they look at writers in the future.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

My blog is Carpinello’s Writing Pages I interview Children’s/MG/YA authors from around the world for my readers.

My main website is Beyond Today Educators I talk about the Arthurian Legend and the hold it has on people. Under the Events tab, visitors can take a look at the Medieval Writing Workshops I do for the Colorado Girl Scouts.

Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children's literature?

Get to know your audience. Volunteer in classrooms. Visit with children’s librarians. Participate in storytime at your local library. Kids are very honest readers, and they expect that from authors. If you build them a world, take the time to build it completely whether you use all of it or not. Do the same with your characters. Make sure your characters reflect your readers’ world and values today.

To go with that, write what you love. Also, don’t be afraid to explore and expand on that. It was my love of King Arthur that propelled me into writing. Tying that together with Joseph Campbell and the hero’s journey inspired me in my writings for young people. Today this has taken me beyond Arthurian Legend to ancient Egypt where a young pharaoh embarks upon his own quest to right a wrong and be united with his one true love.

Please give us a brief synopsis or excerpt from your current book and when and where it will be available.

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 someone breaks into the king’s (Gavin’s father) treasury in Pembroke Castle, not only is the medallion known as The King’s Ransom stolen, but Aldred, the king’s advisor is murdered. Being a beggar/vagabond, the Wild Man is captured and charged with the crime. It doesn’t help that a bloody knife is found with his belongings. Gavin, Bryan and Philip are determined to prove that the Wild Man is innocent. 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.

Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom is available at several sites:


  1. Penny, thanks so much for having me today. Can't wait to meet your readers. Cheryl

  2. I can vouch for Guinevere - a stunning coming of age story. Cheryl is a gifted writer with a deft touch when it comes to compelling storytelling.

  3. Sounds like a page-turner. Thanks, ladies!