Name: Rebecca Carpenter
Author of: The Metamorphosis Series: Butterfly Bones (Book 1), Butterfly Blood (Book 2, Available 8/28/18, Lakewater Press)
From: Fruita, Colorado
Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?
I began writing as soon as I could form a sentence on paper. But the first piece that brought attention to my writing was a poem I wrote in the third grade entitled, “Love Is…” My poem won a contest, and I was placed in a creative writing course with other winners. That’s when I knew my words had power.
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession?
I think I have always wanted to pursue writing as a profession, but until my kids were raised, I just didn’t have the time. But I didn’t begin with novels. After watching one-too-many poorly written movies, I told my husband I could write a better script than that, and so I did. I bought the software needed for screenwriting and went to town. My first two screenplays won Honorable Mention in the Colorado Screenplay Awards. But after realizing how hard it is to break into screenwriting, I decided to switch to novels.
Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author?
My SCBWI critique group was amazing. And after I used a professional editor, she hooked me up with a local writer to help me learn the “craft” of writing. We have been weekly critique partners ever since, and she has taught me a wealth of writing tips.
Do you exclusively write young adult or have you written in other genres?
I write screenplays, drama and Rom-coms, and I also dabble in picture books and middle grade.
What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance?
I write any chance I can: at work during rest time for the children in my prekindergarten class; in the evenings after supper; early mornings on weekends, and sometimes all day in my pajamas on weekends. It is quite difficult to balance my writing and family time. My husband complains often of my lack on involvement with him. So I try to shut off the computer and give him quality time as much as possible. This is a challenge when I work sixty hours a week, copyedit part time, and copyedit for Lakewater Press as well.
How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions?
A first draft can take me anywhere from six months to a year, depending on how much time I have to devote to writing and how much research I have to perform.
Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?
I use a general plotline, as well as write my premise and goals for my point-of-view characters. I use characterization sheets in the beginning to make sure I stay true to facts and personality traits unique to each character. I typically research as it comes up in the script. This way I can be writing and putting my ideas onto paper as they come to me instead of finding myself bogged down in research.
Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)?
Not that I know of. I do have to be surrounded with noise, so I write in the front room with the television on. And if I talk to my hubby on occasion, I can usually get away with it.
Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?
I wouldn’t call it a pilgrimage since I only traveled a few miles. But I visited our local butterfly house and asked lots of questions about raising butterflies and the laws surrounding that. Interesting to find out butterflies are categorized by the government as a pest, and special permits must be obtained to keep and breed them.
Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects?
Inspiration comes in spurts for me. Either feast or famine. So I’ll be flooded with fifty ideas, and I write them all down, or I can go months with nothing. But Butterfly Bones came from a song by The Cure, called “Caterpillar Girl.” It started as a horror, but ended up being a soft science fiction. Darn characters think they know the story better than the writer. J
Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites?
I love to read thrillers, but I also will read anything that’s well-written. Don’t care the genre. Since I work with children, I also love picture books.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for? I use family names as well lots of foreshadowing, but nothing all “cloak and daggery.”
Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life?
Sometimes, but not always. I try to give each one a distinct personality by drawing off people I know, but sometimes they are purely made up from my imagination.
Name one book you think is entirely underappreciated.
I loved Defending Jacob by William Landay. The twists and turns in that book and then the climax were so unexpected that I still think about them, even after years of reading the story. I hope to see it made into a major motion picture someday.
Name one book that was a guilty pleasure.
Be honest: Do you Google yourself?
Nope. But my hubby does.
As a writer, which animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus?
A butterfly, of course.
Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?
Promotion. Promotion. Promotion.
What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?
Never. Give. Up. Keep reading. Keep writing. Join a critique group.
What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author? It takes time to write the story, and it takes time to build your audience. Keep at it. Keep at it. Keep at it.
In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers?
I offer free critiques, Beta reading, and give as much advice as I can on my blog. I am always open for questions or general writing advice.
Do you want more information on Rebecca and her books?
Butterfly Bones (Metamorphosis, Book 1)
HER BONES. HER FUTURE. HER SACRIFICE.
“I wish I was a normal fifteen-year-old. I have dreams that I am.”
Fifteen-year-old Bethany Keatley’s life is anything but perfect. Yet despite a rare bone disorder cursing her with the body of a ten year old, a dead mom, and being a target for the school bullies, things could be worse.
She owes her life to her scientist father and the butterfly hormone racing through her blood.
But the discovery of unexpected and horrifying side effects means her dreams of leaving the small-minded town of Springs, Georgia to become a scientist have all but shattered.
Her world becomes a prison and her existence a life sentence.
The only thing keeping Bethany fighting is her true love, football star Jeremiah Wright—if only he felt the same way. And now, with the clock ticking and her future uncertain, courage and the determination to survive must drive her decisions.
But nature has other plans, a sacrifice for Bethany’s life.
In this award-winning incredible debut, Rebecca Carpenter brings to life the “haunting and twisted story” of one girl and an ending that will blow your mind.
Butterfly Blood (Metamorphosis, Book 2)
HER BLOOD. HER LOVE. HER FREEDOM.
“How many of my sins will have to be paid for in blood?”
Sixteen-year-old Bethany Keatley finally has the healthy body and looks she’s always desired. But the price she’s had to pay has left her traumatized.
The only thing making her battle on is the memory of that kiss with Jeremiah.
Now miles from him and living in Florida with an aunt she’s never met, shocking revelations about her parents are too much to bear. After collapsing from exhaustion and shock, Bethany wakes in a hospital bed awaiting test results—results that might lead to the discovery of her unusual butterfly blood.
But that’s the least of Bethany’s concerns when the doctor informs her she’s infected with a parasite and without immediate treatment she’ll die.
Too young to refuse and too weak to fight back, Bethany’s life once again hangs in the balance. Yet her scientific knowledge and suspicious nature lead her to unravel a horrifying web of lies.
Will nature intervene again, demanding another payment?
In this stunning sequel to the award-winning BUTTERFLY BONES, Rebecca Carpenter raises the stakes and offers up an intense and heartbreaking ride that will leave you shocked to the core.