Thursday, 12 April 2012

Authors In The Limelight: HL Carpenter

The SkyHorseI want to thank and welcome authors, HL Carpenter—a mother (Helen) and daughter (Lorri) writer team—for sharing their personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Their book, Sky Horse, can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

How long have you both been writing, Helen and Lorri?
Aww ... do we have to say? Whether you count in horse years or people years, when you combine our careers it’s been a LOOONG time.

Where did the idea and inspiration to write The SkyHorse come from?

You know, this is a great question, Sharon, and one we could probably write a(nother) book about. In fact, we did our new release post for Musa at the Euterpe blog on this topic. In short form, The SkyHorse sprang naturally from our love of horses, and our firsthand experience owningor is that being owned by?great steeds over the years. And we’ve both always thought it would be marvelous to be able to fly. So what could be better than a flying horse?

What sets The SkyHorse apart from other books in the same genre?

It’s a horse story with a twist. The twist is the way the horse comes into our heroine’s life. Not too many horses hatch from an egg. Especially an egg with a shell that—if we may take a line from our book—is sand-sharp white, with very faint black and silver speckles that shimmer in the sunlight.

As collaborating authors, how do you approach your writing process?

Something tugs at our imagination; a newspaper article, a poem, a picture. When that imagination-tugger makes us wonder what if, we figure out what character the story belongs to, then we write an outline of each chapter. From there we take turns writing the chapters and passing them back and forth until we're done with the book. It’s great to reach a stopping point, pass the book 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 book is done, we let it “cool off”, then we revise, revise, revise.

Boy, those words what if certainly hold great power. How long did it take to start and finish The SkyHorse?

This is one of those questions that should be easy, yet turns out to be more difficult than expected. The truth is, we’re not sure. How should we count the time? There’s time spent thinking about the plot, actual writing time, the cooling off period, and of course, the revisions, which sometimes lead to re-writing entire chapters...well, add it up and the answer is probably similar to the one we gave for the first question you asked—whether you count in horse years or people years, it’s a long time.

Do you have any advice to share with other writers who are thinking of collaborating on a novel?

Be flexible. Have fun. Be kind to each other. If you don't agree on the wording, compromise. If you can't compromise, delete and write it over. In one interview we gave, we said that last is our main rule—when in doubt, delete.

Be flexible—I like the sound of that! What’s next for HL Carpenter the co-authors?

Right now we’re in the middle of writing a first draft of a young adult novel with elements of time travel. We have three other young adult novels cooling off and waiting for revision. We also have a couple of completed cozies for older readers that we’re thinking of 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 and waiting for a feisty heroine to step up and take over. That’s just the fiction—we have tons of ideas for nonfiction, too, as well as several in-progress manuscripts.

Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—If each of you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?

Helen has the answer to this one—I'd travel back to Germany, 1904. First I'd go south to the small town where my mother grew up. Then north to the place of my father's birth. I'd like to see them both as children and young adults. And I'd like to meet their parents—my grandparents, who I never knew.

The SkyHorse, a young adult novel by
HL Carpenter

Fourteen year old Tovi thinks finding a flying horse is fabulous luck - until a mysterious stranger says finders aren’t always keepers.

HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter writing team. Their young adult novel, The SkyHorse, is available on Amazon and at the Musa Publishing web site. Read an excerpt of The SkyHorse at

Book Blurb:

When fourteen year old Tovi Taggert moves to Honeysuckle Hollow to take care of her grandmother, she has a hard time fitting in. For one thing, she’s been tagged with the hated nickname Too-Tall Tovi. For another, everyone at Honeysuckle Hollow High believes Tovi played the Choking Game with someone else’s boyfriend – and made out with him besides.

As if she doesn’t have enough problems, after the latest stand-off in the school hallway, Tovi finds a gorgeous speckled egg nestled in a feather lined nest.

She takes the egg home – and mysterious visitors begin appearing almost immediately. Even more worrisome, whatever is inside the egg starts chipping its way out.

When the egg hatches, revealing a winged horse, Tovi’s troubles multiply.

As she struggles to return the horse to the magical land where he belongs, Tovi must make a courageous decision – and accept what that decision will cost her.


  1. Excellent interview! You can never go wrong with girls and horses ; )

  2. I was an avid horse fan when I was younger. I still am really, I just don't have the time to ride. A horse that hatches from an egg is a fresh approach to the genre. Sounds like an exciting book. Wishing you all the best The Sky Horse and future projects.
    Sharon, you've done it again. Another smashing interview.

  3. Thanks, Amaleen and Alan, you two are this blog's biggest fans! Cheers!

  4. Sharon, Thank you again for this opportunity - we agree with Alan and Amaleen. This was a fun interview, and we enjoyed answering your questions.

    @Alan - as girls who love horses, we totally agree!

    @Amaleen - thanks for the good wishes! We've had a great experience with Musa, and hope to continue it.

    Helen & Lorri

  5. Helen and Lorri - aka HL - it was a pleasure interviewing a writer team for a change! All the best with your book! Cheers!