Please introduce yourselves. Who are you and what do you do?
Hi, Michael! We’re happy to be here, and thank you for inviting us! We’re Helen and Lorri Carpenter, a mother/daughter writing team. We publish our fiction under the pen name HL Carpenter.
You write as a team. How did that start?
HL Carpenter, author, 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, the 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.
How does the process of writing work between the two of you?
Something catches our attention: a newspaper article, a poem, a picture, sometimes just a single word. From there, we imagine what would happen if... When the idea has legs—that is, when we keep seeing more things that seem related that we wouldn’t have noticed otherwise—we work up a character sheet and create a story summary.
Then we get to work, taking turns writing each section. 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 story is done in rough draft form, we set it aside for a cooling-off period, then we revise, revise, revise.
Where do your best ideas come from?
History, combined with today’s business news. Despite how far civilization has supposedly advanced, many twenty-first century problems and worries bear a striking resemblance to what’s happened before. The old cliché about history repeating like bad chili is certainly apt. History is great fodder for writers. Put a modern spin on an old classic, and readers will relate.
Which author do you most admire and why?
We like Dean Koontz, for several reasons. First, he loves dogs. :) Then there’s his humor, both on the page and off. And, of course, the talent...oh, yes...we aspire to that level of talent.
Every author loves a good review. What has been your favourite so far?
One on Amazon for our debut young adult novel, The SkyHorse, where the reviewer says “Tovi, the main character, was a well developed and likable teenage character dealing with normal teenage problems in a realistic way. I enjoyed how the author brought the winged horse, a creature of fantasy and Tovi together to make it feel as if anything is possible.”
That’s what we were aiming for, and we were really happy the story resonated with this reader. After all, anything IS possible, right?
Where is your happy place?
That would be Carpenter Country, where we live and work. It’s a magical place that, like our stories, is unreal but not untrue.
What are you working on at the moment?
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...
Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
Our latest young adult novel was released 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. Walled In is available on the website of our publisher, Musa Publishing.
Click here to purchase Walled In from Amazon US / Amazon UK
We also have a speculative fiction/sci-fi novella with a June release date. Taxing Pecksniffery is the story of Ichann Count, an expert at accounting warfare. She spends her days crunching numbers at the Etherworld Tax Bureau and crushing on her really cute co-worker. When the Water Tax Rebellion of 2176 geysers to the surface, Ike finds herself—and her really cute co-worker—drowning in trouble. Taxing Pecksniffery is available at the Musa Publishing website and on Amazon.
To learn about all our books, visit HLCarpenter.com. We release excerpts of our work, along with regular installments of our NewAdult novella, Jack and the Fountain of Youth, on our website.