Monday, May 5, 2014

HL Carpenter, Dream Stealer

AUTHOR: HL Carpenter

Please tell us about yourself.

We’re Helen and Lorri Carpenter, a Florida-based mother/daughter duo. We write together as HL Carpenter. We work in our studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like our stories, is unreal but not untrue. In addition to being multi-generational writers, we’re also multi-genre writers. We like variety!

When and why did you begin writing?

HL Carpenter sprang into life in a galaxy far, far away, when the once-warring worlds of Mother and Daughter signed a peace treaty. Under the terms of the treaty, these two former foes joined forces to create fine works of fiction—and soon discovered great cooperation begets great storytelling strength. Of course, like any fictional superhero, HL has a weakness...and, like any fictional superhero, she’s not going to reveal it.

What is the process for jointly writing a book?
Something tugs at our imagination; a newspaper article, a poem, a picture. From there, we think about what would happen if... Then we work up a character sheet and create a summary of each chapter.

When the summary is finished, we take turns writing each chapter. We pass the story back and forth until we get to THE END. It’s great to reach a stopping point, pass the work on, and get it back with the next scene written—sometimes with an unexpected twist, but always following the general direction of the story based on the outline.

Once a book is done, we set it aside for a cooling-off period, then we revise, revise, revise.

What inspired you to write your first book?

Our first full-length published book is the young adult e-novel, The SkyHorse. It’s a sweet, girl-loves-horse, wish-it-would-happen-to-me story.

The SkyHorse sprang from our love of horses, and our firsthand experience owning—or is that being owned by?—great steeds over the years. And we’ve both always thought it would be marvelous to be able to fly. So what could be better than a flying horse?

Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.

Dream Stealer is a young adult novelette of approximately 8,400 words. It’s the story of Fancy Moonstruck. Fancy is supposed to steal dreams. It's what her family does for a living, and now that she's fifteen, the job is hers.

But it’s a job Fancy would rather not have. She knows first-hand what dreams mean to the dreamer because she dreams of her mom, who died five years ago. Losing her dream would be like losing her mom all over again. That’s a pain Fancy doesn’t want to inflict on anyone.

But the rules are clear: Steal a dream—or lose her own.

What are your plans for marketing Dream Stealer and where can readers purchase the work?
 We plan to do guest blog posts including author interviews, submit requests to review sites, contact the local library, post the cover and the blurb to Pinterest, and send excerpts and buy links to sites such as Bargain e-books and Bublish. 
We'll also do a countdown and postings on our site and share those on social media. For some of our books, we post first chapters to Wattpad and Goodreads, and we may do that with Dream Stealer. We'll do audio clips and eventually a full audio version, and we have a YouTube channel that we intend to get more active on (a trailer at minimum), as this appears to be a growing area for Google. In addition, we've recently discovered internet radio interviews, and plan to pursue this. 
We may also do a press release in the local paper, though we've not had success with this in the past, largely due to lack of print copies.
We've also been considering how to emphasize the "clean" nature of our books (in terms of language and romance), though this is still in the planning stages.
Dream Stealer is currently available in digital format on Amazon.

How do you decide how your characters should look?

This is an interesting question, Penny. We follow other authors on Pinterest, and oftentimes they’ve pinned pictures of models or celebrities to represent book characters. But we’ve never gotten that specific with our characters, which is curious because we’d say our books are character-based.

We do write a general description of height, hair and eye color, and perhaps a quirk or habit. Those come from our own inner-mind image of the character. But we never use actual pictures. Hmm. We’ll have to deal with that when we get our first movie contract so we can pick the right celebrity!

What other types of writing have you done?

Are you ready?

Besides Dream Stealer, our fiction credits include anthologies, a satirical short story, The Demise of Fyne Literature, a New Adult novella, Jack and The Fountain of Youth, and a young adult novel, The SkyHorse. We have samples and excerpts of all our work on our web site.

Our non-fiction credits include accounting newsletters, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Education Direct.

In addition to work published elsewhere, we’ve loaded up our website with articles that provide great research material on taxes, money and finance, which happen to be areas we specialize in, and we’ll continue to add to the library. There’s also humor, in the form of satire. And we write Carpenter Country essays, brief slice-of-life peeks into our escapades in Carpenter Country.

Whew! Well, we did mention we’re multi-genre writers, so you can’t say we didn’t warn you!

What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?

Surprisingly—or maybe not surprisingly—our tastes are pretty similar. We like mysteries and thrillers and books that teach just by telling a good story. We find those kinds of books across all genres.

What, if anything, bugs you when you read a novel?

Typos! Second on the list are things that don’t make sense—for instance, when a character goes off on a major tangent and all she had to do to save herself a ton of trouble was ask a simple question.

And then there are the illogical reasons a character has for doing something. You know, the too-stupid-to-live characters, the ones you’d like to shake some sense into. On the other hand, we feel something for those characters, even if that feeling is exasperation, so the author did create a compelling personality.

What are your current projects?

Right now we’re in the middle of writing the first draft of a themed collection of short stories. We have another young adult novel in the rough-draft stage, one more cooling off and waiting for revision, and a middle grade novel that’s in the final stage of revision.

We also have a couple of completed cozies for adult readers that we’re thinking of publishing as a series, along with some novellas featuring the same character.

And then there are the notebooks full of ideas that are at the moment only a gleam in our eyes...

Please tell us your latest news.

We have a new young adult novel coming out in May. Walled In is the story of Vandy Spencer, who discovers her entire life has been built on a heart-shattering deception when her father is accused of fraud.

We just got the final cover approved and we’re working on the galleys. We love Vandy, and we’re excited to introduce her to the world!

Any other news you’d like to share?
We’d like to thank you for making space on your blog for us, for introducing us to your readers, and for giving us this opportunity to talk about our work.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?

Our home on the web is We’re also on Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, and we have an author page on Amazon.

BOOK TITLE:  Dream Stealer
GENRE: Young adult fantasy
PUBLISHER: Top Drawer Ink Corp.
BUY LINK: Amazon

Excerpt from Dream Stealer:

Another moment and the dream will be gone.

The winter sea breeze brushes my hair from my face, its cold caress as light as the layer of fear I wear like my dark hoodie, and as soft as my shallow breathing. In the way of every good thief, I take care that the whispery puff of my breath is the only sound I make.

Though I’m not touching the fleeing dream, it kisses my mind, sticky as a spider’s web. I stand still, wide-awake in the hush of the two a.m. darkness, staring at the pulsing silver sliver. The external details are breathtaking: the shivering tendrils of longing; the filaments of hope, quivering like the strings of a harp. They float through the window of the ramshackle beach cottage where Mrs. Hooper sleeps, reaching upward with fog-thin fingers, anchored within her heart, searching for the sky.

Mrs. Hooper’s dream is one of love-longing, and I peek inside as it sways above me, though I’m not supposed to. The Dream Buyers pay well for dreams of love-longing, and they pay especially well for dreams untouched by us Stealers.

Even so, I can’t stop myself from lingering inside the dream. I spend precious seconds there, warming myself in the heat of Mrs. Hooper’s longing for the love of her son, before drawing back into the chill of the night’s reality, and my work in it. I fumble to release the dream catcher, which dangles from my belt on a leather cord, then grasp the handle of the delicate, tightly-woven net. I focus on the hours of practice runs I went over with Dad. I need only reach out now, and my very first dream-stealing excursion will end in success.

And I will keep my family safe.

I must do this. Yet I hesitate. Dad says Mrs. Hooper will never miss her dream. Is it possible he’s wrong? I dream a similar love-longing dream myself, every night, and I know what it means to me—the same as this dream must mean to Mrs. Hooper.

If I’m right, I cannot take it from her.

I must take it.

I must...


  1. We enjoyed the interview, Penny!

    Thanks for hosting us!

    Helen & Lorri

  2. It's nice you two can work together so well! Nice excerpt!

  3. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Cheryl!

  4. What you share may help us understand more about the skills and what you can do with your posts. The process and stages.