Before moving on to our tips and interview, I want to share my exciting news. My Guinevere trilogy (soon to be an eBook) received Moonbeam Children's Book Awards Bronze medal for Best Book Series-Chapter Book. Unexpected, I'm thrilled to receive this prestigious honor. The books in the trilogy are Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend, and Guinevere: The Legend.
This month, Carpinello's Writing Pages introduces readers to two new authors. Both of the authors have Middle Grade books releasing in October 2020. It's always exciting publishing a new book, especially a first book. Please offer your support to each writer by congratulating them in the comments and maybe even visiting their websites and clicking on the buy link. Remember the holidays are fast approaching and few gifts are sweeter than a book. But, first, here's our writing tips from our authors:
If you plan to publish, allow yourself to have big dreams. Writing is an incredibly difficult field in which to get noticed and most authors experience dozens of knock backs before getting anywhere. The skill is not in avoiding rejection, but bouncing back from it. Have a goal in mind and keep working at it. Big dreams will help you keep going—Rosen Trevithick, children's author of The Trolls series.
Never give up and stick to your ideas. When I first wrote Fledgling Jason Steed (Book 1), I self- published it, and I had a huge success with it. An agent and publisher picked me up. They edited the novel, cut out 23,000 words and changed how an aircraft with damaged undercarriage landed. I had email after email of complaints regarding the aircraft landing and why it was changed. Many reviewers had actually mentioned the landing in the first edition. This is the largest regret I have. Never again will anyone tell me what to write. The editor ruined a good ending to a story, but when you are new and you get picked up by a big publisher, you think they know best. My advice would be stick to your guns—Mark A. Cooper, author of the YA series Jason Steed.
And Now, Carpinello's Writing Pages
Presents MG author M. L. Tarpley
Here's a bit about M. L. Tarpley:
Author M.L. Tarpley writes stories of adventure, friendship, and fun that transport kids to amazing places across the world. She is also an award-winning journalist and world traveler. Maylie and the Maze is her debut middle grade novel. She has also written Young Writer’s Kit, a non-fiction book that teaches kids how to write fiction. She lives in Louisiana with her husband and son.
Why did you pick to write books for Middle Grade readers?
I still feel like I’m 10 years old a lot of the time (ha!), so it's like ideas for stories geared to kids in middle grade and younger just pop into my brain. I wouldn’t have it any other way! I also have a toddler and over a dozen nieces and nephews, so I have plenty of first hand experience with kids too.
One of my favorite things to do is settle in at a coffee shop with a composition notebook and pen and just let my imagination run free! I love to scribble away while sipping on a latte.
What types of books do you like to read, and what do you do when you are not writing?
I love to read middle grade fiction as well as chapter books and picture books. In adult fiction, I love to read split time fiction, which weaves contemporary and historical storylines together. I absolutely love history, which in turn fuels my love for researching genealogy. That’s one pastime I enjoy when I have time. I also really love to travel the world. I’m always dreaming of where I’d like to travel to next whether in person or in fiction.
Tell us about Maylie and the Maze and how the story came to be.
Maylie and the Maze is a lower middle grade realistic fiction book for grades 3-7 that will appeal to fans of the Middle School series by James Patterson, The Tapper Twins series by Geoff Rodkey, and the Melanie Martin series by Carol Weston. The book’s layout includes a variety of illustrations, doodles, and other media elements and tucked within the book are elements of creative writing, world geography, and classic literature.
It all started a few years ago with the idea of a young girl who travels around the world. Right away, I knew the first book would be set in England because the book had to feature a maze I visited there. Plus I love England! I love the countryside and manor houses and castles and the mix of modern-day and history in the city of London. My favorite place is the city of Bath.
I wrote Maylie and the Maze to show kids that you can go after your dreams no matter what roadblocks stand in your way. Throughout this series, I want kids to have a chance to travel the world through fiction and along the way learn a bit. I’ve tapped into my own first-hand experiences from traveling to over a dozen countries and filtered them through Maylie’s eyes. I also wanted to write a book that could be enjoyed by kids and grown-ups alike, especially as a fun bedtime read!
Here's a peek at Maylie and the Maze:
Will Maylie’s dream be crushed by her own imagination?
Ten-year-old Maylie Montes’s dream is to become an author, but she has a problem. She can’t finish a story. Not a single one.
Her second problem is Camden, her annoying twin brother, who is determined to ruin their summer traveling through Europe with their famous photographer aunt and spunky grandma.
The first stop is England where a castle and maze, a new British friend, and a lot of weird words await Maylie—but the first item on her itinerary is to learn how to write, so she can finally finish a story. However, this goal may land her a one-way ticket home after her writing targets her brother in a spooky story involving a nighttime maze full of monsters. And Camden has his own plans, leaving Maylie to wonder if her imagination has actually become a reality.
How do you research your stories?
With the Maylie series, I have started with revisiting my trips to the book locations. That was the foundation of the series idea. To write about the places I had actually been. I have been to every country that will be featured in the series and the majority of the locations there. So I started with my photos and travel journal and the storyline started growing from there. I also ordered books about the locations to read up on the history as well as visited their official websites.
Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.
I have written a non-fiction book called Young Writer’s Kit: A Guide for Young Writers that teaches kids how to write fiction and includes a fun genre matching game, writing prompts, and more. It’s currently available for purchase on Amazon.
What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?
I’ve written the next book in the series and will start working with the illustrator soon on it. It will publish in Spring 2021. I am currently writing the third book, which will release Fall 2021. I am also working on a picture book series and have the idea for a chapter book series stirring in my mind.
What advice do you have for other authors?
Make sure to read the genre you are writing to get a feel for how it’s done. Also don’t talk down to kids. Tap into that kid that’s still inside of you and how you would have reacted to what you’ve written. Invest the time to learn the craft of writing. Read craft books like Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass or Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Kole. Do writing prompts. Practice. To do anything well we have to put in the time and effort. Writing is no different.
Anything else you want readers to know?
To my kid readers out there, I would like for you to know that you can do anything you set your mind to. And you can travel anywhere in the world (or fictional ones) from the pages of a book. Happy Travels!!
Where can readers find you and your books?
Young Writers' Kit: