Author Interviews, Blog

Author Interview: Cheryl Carpinello, MG/YA Adventure

Hi, I’m Cheryl Carpinello. I write MG/YA myths/legends adventures. The Atlantean Horse, book 1 of The Feathers of the Phoenix, officially released on Sept. 23, 2022.

From Planning to Published

When did you start writing and why?

Author:      After working with reluctant and non-readers in high school, I chose to target the younger kids in hopes of getting those not currently reading to come to enjoy reading. My successes in the classroom with Arthurian Legend and Stories from the Ancient Worlds became my avenue. Once I retired from teaching, I was able to devote time to writing.    

If you’ve published, how long did your first book take?

Author:     I published my first book, Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, in 2009. In between grading papers and teaching, it took me a little over two years to release. Since then, depending on the book or picture book, it still takes a good year, and sometimes a bit more, to write, produce, and publish a book.

Are you indie, traditional, hybrid, or vanity, and why?

Author:      I am an Indie Author through and through. I tried traditional, but found that I had no control over decisions being made about my books. I like being in control of my options although it requires a lot of work and time on my part.

What is your publishing process?

Author:      Once my book is finished and corrections from my two editors complete, I send it to my layout designer for paperback and ebook files. Once I have the ISBN, I get my cover done. Finally, I upload my files for publication on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Overdrive, Baker & Taylor, Scribd. I also use Draft2Digital as my distributor.


How do you get reviews for your books?

Author:      I ask when people buy my books direct from me to leave a review. I post on social media about the importance of reviews for authors. My blog tours usually bring in a number of reviews also.

What do you think is the most critical marketing component or tactic for becoming successful?

Author:      Consistency and variety. You need to be in front of readers consistently and use a variety of medias to do this.

How do you define success as an author?

Author:      I feel my success comes when I have kids come up to me and tell me that they have enjoyed my stories, and buy another book. I’ve had some who have read my Arthurian series 3 and 4 times!

About Your Work

What type of content do you write and why? Fiction Novels? Poems? Songs? Screenplays? Short Stories? Epic? 

Author:      I write Arthurian Legend, Tales from the Ancient Worlds, and my picture book series Grandma/Grandpa’s Tales. My novels are shorter than typical middle grade/teen novels because my target readers balk at long books. My Arthurian Legends stories also have an illustration at the beginning of each chapter because reluctant and non-readers usually count how many pages they don’t have to read!

What is your author brand (genre, mood, image, theme, message, etc)? How did you decide on it?

Author:      My target audience is Reluctant Readers, mainly ages 8/9-18; however, my books have appealed to mature audiences who may or may not be reluctant readers. My brand: Tales & Legends for Reluctant Readers.

How many works have you published? 

Author:      4 Arthurian Legend, 3 Ancient World, 6 Grandma/Grandpa Tales, 1 Writing Journal, I book of Short Stories relating to my Arthurian Legend, and my grandson’s book: Cameron’s Book of Insects written when he was 9 years old. Total: 15

Can you tell us a bit about your most recent publication?

Author:      The Atlantean Horse is a unique adventure story that melds the ancient world with today’s world. Rosa and Jerome have been given the epic task to find and bring the five feathers of the Phoenix to the Atlantean Horse. When they have completed the five tasks, the prophecy says that the island of Atlantis will rise again so it’s people can finally come home.  Sound easy? Maybe, but not when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are pursuing the same and will stop at nothing to obtain the feathers.

Where do you network most with other writers, authors, and creative types? LinkedIn? Wattpad? Twitter? Facebook? Somewhere else?

Author:      I help out author friends with promotion on Facebook and Twitter when I can. I have two author friends overseas and we exchange promo ideas, writing ideas, and what we are currently doing. It’s fun to keep in touch via email (we have never met in person).

Do you sprint-write like a starving cheetah, or are you a totally chill turtle writer? Somewhere in between?

Author:      A little of both of these. My characters tend to take over my stories so my writing mirrors their actions. Sometimes they like to run through certain parts of the story. At other times, they just want to enjoy their surroundings and experiences.


What has been the hardest thing to overcome on your journey to authorship?

Author:      I published my first book in 2009. Back then, writers who did this were not respected and were referred to as self-published or vanity authors. I’ve worked hard on my craft, belong to several professional organizations, and am a member of an author co-op out of England. I still bristle when people ask if I am self-published. I calmly but firmly inform them I am an Indie Author.

Do you have any tips or recommendations for those who want to go the final step and become authors?

Author:      Be sure to write the best book you can, get it professionally edited, find a professional cover designer and layout designer. Write your book from beginning to end and then go back and do editing. Also: Develop a thick skin!!

Are you a driven & self-advocating author, a gun-shy promoter, or a total marketing procrastinator?

Author:      Most of the time I’ve driven. I do a number of shows/conferences all year round promoting/selling my books. I do classroom visits around writing programs I’ve developed, and I talk with parents, grandparents, teachers, and principals about the importance of reading and writing.

How do you combat writer’s block?

Author:      I don’t have writer’s block. I’m constantly writing, whether it be on paper or in my brain. When my story comes to a stop, I move on to another part knowing that my characters will let me know when it’s time to come back to that spot.

Fun Stuff 

What do you listen to while you write?

Author:      A variety: Mumford & Sons, OneRepublic, Elton John, Mark Knopfler, Pink, James Blunt to name a few.

Where do you write your stories? A tiny office? A loft? The kitchen table? In the bushes while you secretly people-watch like a total creeper? Or a warm café with mocha in hand and feet up on an ottoman?

Author:      Usually on my couch with a concert DVD on. I love music when I write. My favorites are Mumford & Sons and OneRepublic. Sometimes I do go to a small restaurant for coffee and a bite of lunch and write there, minus any distractions.

What book are you reading at the moment?

Author:      The Ape who Guards the Balance (Amelia Peabody historical mystery series) for the 3th time through the 25-book series.

Do you have a writing companion?

Author:      I do not, but my daughter and husband always read my stories and give me honest feedback. My two good friends/authors always read and give me their read on my stories. I do that in return for them. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Author:      Don’t worry about rewriting while you’re writing. Turn off the critical side of your brain and let your creative side tell the story. It knows how to do this!