Author Interview: The King’s Ransom by Cheryl Carpinello

Welcome to Author Cheryl Carpinello

I am first and foremost a teacher.  Nothing invigorates me more than guiding young minds in exploring themselves and the world around them. Introducing young people to the literature of the ages and the importance of the written word (even their own!)is a thrill that has never subsided.  And so today, I write for young readers (grades 3-6) and hope to capture their imaginations as they learn to love literature.  I can think of no better vehicle to do this with than the eternal legend of King Arthur.


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What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? 
Coconut ice cream. I first had this in Mexico. It tastes delicious!
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? 
I love breakfast burritos complete with chorizo, potatoes, green onions, red and green peppers, cheddar and Pepper Jack cheeses, salsa, and sour cream all smothered with green chili!
Night owl, or early bird? 
Definitely a night owl. I never go to bed before 11:30/12 pm, and I detest getting up before 8:30 or 9 am. When I was teaching full time, I had to be up at 5:30. On the weekends, I never got up before 9:30.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. 
Experience the true meaning of friendship and loyalty as three friends, motivated by their belief in the Wild Man’s innocence, embark upon life-changing quests testing their limits and forcing each to confront and conquer their fears or face humiliation and/or even death.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 
My current work-in-progress takes my readers out of Medieval England and back to Ancient Egypt. Sons of the Sphinx is a mystery/adventure for tweens/YA and introduces readers to a different type of quest.
Future projects include a sequel to Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend. I’ve had several readers ask me what becomes of Guinevere’s friend Cedwyn, so I’m working on a storyline there. And, somewhere soon, I’m going to do another Young Knights of the Round Table. I haven’t decided yet whether to continue with the same characters, or to give a new group of young people a chance at joining the Round Table.
What inspired you to want to become a writer? 
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. It is always challenging to find reading material that excites every student. In fact, it’s nearly impossible. Then one spring I decided to do The Once and Future King by T. H. White. My freshmen were ecstatic. We read; we discussed; we drew murals of chapters; we wrote poetry and songs; and we attempted to earn Knighthood in seven days! Boy, what a discovery I’d made.
I continued to teach the King Arthur Legend, and the enthusiasm never waned. I had students who would give 100% on this unit when I struggled to get them to read other literature. These kids were my inspiration for choosing the legend of King Arthur for my writing. I use the appeal of King Arthur to encourage young kids to read more and to believe that they can write. I always come away from a school visit believing that I have helped the students relate better to their writing, and hopefully, ignited a little spark in the reluctant readers to pick up a book.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
This would have to be my Medieval Writing Workshops for elementary and middle school students and the Colorado Girl Scouts. We explore writing and reading, and it is fulfilling to see young students excited about writing and reading. The kids enjoy writing their own medieval stories complete with dragons, wizards, unicorns, and knights!
What was your favorite book(s) when you were young? 
Like many young girls, I was and still am crazy about horses. For years (and I mean years) all I read were horses stories. My two fiction favorites are the Golden Stallion series by Rutherford Montgomery and theBlack Stallion series by Walter Farley. I also read non-fiction dealing with horses.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? 
I know it’s been said many times, but writers need to write what they love. Also, don’t be afraid to explore and expand on that. It was my love of the works of Tolkien along with the connection to Joseph Campbell and the hero’s journey that inspired me in my writings. It has taken me beyond Arthurian Legend to ancient Egypt where a young pharaoh embarks upon his own journey to write a wrong and be united with his one true love.
Sometimes a person’s writing can take them places they never imagined. Rejoice in that and embrace it!
If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why? 
Athena. She is the goddess of wisdom, judgment, peace, and courage. She is also a teacher as exhibited inThe Odyssey when she guides Telemachus, Odysseus’ son, in his journey to become his father’s son.

The King’s Ransom 

In medieval Wales, eleven-year-old Prince Gavin, thirteen-year-old orphan Philip, and fifteen-year-old blacksmith’s apprentice Bryan are brought together in friendship by one they call the Wild Man. When an advisor to the king is killed and a jewelled medallion is stolen from the king’s treasury, the Wild Man is accused of the theft and murder.

Filled with disbelief at the arrest of the Wild Man, the three friends embark upon a knight’s quest to save their friend’s life. To succeed, the three must confront their fears and insecurities, and one of them will have to disclose the biggest secret of all.

Join Gavin, Philip, and Bryan on their quest and share the adventures that await them in the land of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.