Today I’m excited to welcome HL Carpenter to my blog! The mother/daughter author duo hails from Florida and kindly answered some of my nosy questions about writing, their books and their latest release, Walled In.
Florida-based mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter writes sweet, clean fiction that is suitable for readers of any age. The Carpenters write from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit HLCarpenter.com to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.
I asked: Please recommend a children’s book for me to read:
HL Carpenter answered: We have some old time favorites–Freddy the Pig and The Black Stallion series–and classics such as Black Beauty. Moving to the modern, we recently read The Lightning Gun by Jay Parks. We discovered it through a post on Goodreads. The book features a spunky, smart hero and her not-quite-all-he-seems sidekick—exactly the kind of hero we like to write—and read—about.
I asked: What is your favorite dessert?
HL Carpenter answered: Pistachio ice cream. We have an ice cream maker and we mix it up fresh with organic ingredients…and no green dye. 🙂 (That sounds delicious!)
I asked: How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose names based on liking the way they sound or the meaning?
HL Carpenter answered: This is an interesting question, Andy. Character names are VERY important to us—so much so that when we talk about our books we call them by the hero’s name. We even save the manuscript under the hero’s name on our computers.
We think the name sets the tone for the entire story. For instance, the teen-aged hero of Walled In is Vandy Spencer. We wanted a pretty, fancy, girly name that denoted wealth, because Vandy’s family is wealthy. “Vandy” struck the right note with us because the name brings to mind old-style wealth (Vanderbilt) and yet is modern, strong, and feminine—all of which describe Vandy, though she doesn’t realize it at the beginning of the book.
Last names are important too. In fact, we could go on and on about names—we think fitting the hero to the EXACT right name is the second most fun thing about writing! The first most fun thing…well, that’s a story for a different day.
I asked: Do you read reviews of your books? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
HL Carpenter answered: We read them. We don’t think reading them is a good idea, but…we read them. It’s a sickness and we can’t help ourselves. 🙂
We don’t respond to either the good or the bad. Well, that’s not entirely true. We don’t respond on public forums. If the review is by a book reviewer who read a copy we provided, we send an email to thank them for taking the time however the review turns out. We think that’s just common courtesy.
And sometimes people who leave reviews contact us personally to tell us how much they enjoyed the story. We thank those readers whole-heartedly because they have made our day! We usually send a (physical) bookmark in appreciation.
As for dealing with the bad reviews, we have yet to discover a secret salve to soothe the sting. As readers ourselves, we understand the disappointment of a book not living up to our expectations. If the dissatisfaction is with the story, we try to determine what we can do to make the next one better. We figure if someone took the time to write the review, they felt very strongly about where the story went wrong for them.
If the reader found a typo or formatting error, we fix it with the next edition. We hate those too!
I asked: What are you working on now? What is your next project?
HL Carpenter answered: We’re presently working with an editor on a cozy mystery.
A Cause for Murder features Emma Twiggs, a septuagenarian sleuth. Emma thinks her neighbor’s death was an accident—until her friend Arnie says he suspects murder. Arnie is convinced he knows the killer’s identity. He wants Emma to prove it. Is Arnie right? And is he right in his belief that Emma’s best friend is the killer’s next target? As Emma navigates madcap mayhem, multiple mysteries, and murderous motives, she discovers that more than one person is hiding deadly secrets. The question is, who has a cause for murder?
Thank you, HL Carpenter, for being guests on my blog today! Loved your answers! Will be coming over for some fresh pistachio ice cream — if I ever make it to Florida 🙂
Thanks for reading, everyone!
P.S. HL Carpenter offers weekly installments of their young adult novel, Jack and The Fountain of Youth, on their website and on Pinterest and Google+.