Mother/Daughter Team HL Carpenter
This is a first for me. A writing team, mom and daughter to boot! Lets give them a warm welcome!
Florida-based mother/daughter duo HL Carpenter writes sweet, clean fiction that is suitable for everyone in your family. 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.
10 Questions, Zoe style…
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, Zoe! Thanks so much for inviting us to share your blog space today.
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!
2. What is your writing process?
Our writing process—hmm. Have you ever read the poem The Railway Train by Emily Dickinson? That describes our writing process beautifully.
In less lyrical terms, typically a phrase from a newspaper article or a line from a poem or an interesting image starts our imagination train. From there, we chug along through what we call the “steam-building” stage, where we think about what would happen if…
Then we fuel up by preparing a character sheet, followed by a summary of each chapter that provides a general guide for the journey.
When the summary is finished, we take off with the writing. We pass the story back and forth, gathering momentum, until we reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
Once a book is done, we set it aside for a cooling-off period, then we revise, revise, revise.
Oh, and if you haven’t read the poem, here it is (it’s in the public domain):
The Railway Train by Emily Dickinson
I like to see it lap the miles,
And lick the valleys up,
And stop to feed itself at tanks;
And then, prodigious, step
Around a pile of mountains,
And, supercilious, peer
In shanties, by the sides of roads;
And then a quarry pare
To fit its sides, and crawl between,
Complaining all the while
In horrid, hooting stanza;
Then chase itself down hill
And neigh like Boanerges;
Then, punctual as a star,
Stop–docile and omnipotent–
At its own stable door.
3. What do you read for pleasure?
We read a lot of fiction of all types. We read poetry too, as you may have noticed. We also read instruction manuals, which seem like fiction to us because they seldom match the actual process required to assemble the item purchased. And sometimes we read the dictionary for fun, though mostly we do that when we’re trying to cheat at Scrabble. :) We’re big fans of words.
4. What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The possibilities at the beginning of each story and the challenge of bringing those possibilities to light.
As an example, our satirical short story, The Demise of Fyne Literature, started out as a writing challenge from graphic artist Kelly Shorten. Kelly found a photo she loved so much that she sponsored a contest. We were intrigued with both the possibilities and the challenge, and we were delighted to win the contest and have our story published.
This is the photo that inspired Kelly and us.
Your imagination is jumping up and down now too, right?
5. What are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to sitting down and writing?
The strength is easy to answer—having a partner. Knowing someone is waiting for the next story installment is great incentive, as is the fact that there’s no worry about getting stuck. When either of us reaches a stopping point, we pass the work to the other. When it comes back, the next scene provides a springboard to move on.
The weakness is that we’re fairly slow writers. We’re turtles in a hare-hurry world.
6. Do you have any strange writing habits?
The only one we can think of is that we don’t actually sit down to write. We both work standing up. But that’s not strange. Is it? Say no.
7. What is your least favorite part of the publishing/writing/blogging process?
Having to let go of a story. There’s always one more sentence that could be worded better or a scene that could be described differently or an epiphany that could be expressed more clearly or…well, you get the idea.
We’re fighting that tendency right now, with a cozy mystery we finished at the end of last year, A Cause for Murder. We’ve been through edits, we have the cover, we’re ready to publish…, and we just discovered one more change we want to make. We’re determined to get the book out this month. Our hero, Emma Twiggs, deserves her day in the Amazon sunshine!
8. Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point?
Bed makers, definitely. Life’s pleasures start with attending the details.
9. Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
Mars. We’re ready to help colonize a new planet.
10. Choose: Vampires, Werewolves, Demons or Zombies?
We always want to be the cavalry-to-the-rescue. Can we be demons-gone-good?
Bonus Question: How prepared are you for the Zombie Apocalypse I’ve ordered?
Locked and loaded, with a cupboard full of canned spaghetti.
This mighty duo can be found on:
Dream Stealer(Click pic to be taken to buy page)
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.
It’s a job she’d 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.
G-Rated 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.
The lovely teams other works! Just click the pics to be taken to the buy pages for summaries!
Thank you ladies, for allowing me to Spotlight you and share your works!