2014 Literary Classics Silver Medal Winner for PreTeen/Tween
Literary Classics 2014 Seal of Approval
When 15-year-old Rosa agrees to help the ghost of King Tut find his lost queen Hesena, she doesn’t count on falling for him. And once back in Ancient Egypt, Rosa discovers that finding Hesena is not all she must do: She must keep out of the reach of the living Horemheb—who crosses mortal boundaries using Seth’s evil magic—if she is to stay alive to make it back home.
Sons of the Sphinx is based on the schism that shot through ancient Egypt when, according to historians, the Pharaoh Akhenatenturned his back on Thebes and the gods of Egypt. He built his own city to honor his god the Aten, and he insisted that the people of Egypt do the same. Along with this, he supposedly refused to send troops to defend Egypt’s borders thus incurring the wrath of the then General Horemheb. When Tutankhamen becomes pharaoh, he reverses Akhenaten’s proclamations and returns the governing center to Thebes and the worship back to the god Amun.
However, the damage has been done, and by the time Horemheb attains pharaoh status, he has proclaimed the betrayal of the Egyptian people by Akhenaten so widely and so much, all members of the family including Tutankhamen and Ankhsenamun and Ay are dishonored. Horemheb further insults the family by defacing Ay’s tomb after his death. It is Ay’s decision before his death to ensure that Ankhsenamun is not subject to dishonor by keeping her final resting place a secret.
The historical significance of my story is the main reason I was able to write Sons of the Sphinx. Needing to help right a wrong done over 3000 years ago and reunite the boy king with his queen (whose tomb has yet to be identified or found), allows my protagonist Rosa the opportunity to come to terms with who she is and what her place is in this world.
I’m a twice-retired high school (ages 14-18) English teacher from Colorado having taught for 25 years. I love working with my students, and now I write for middle graders and early teens. My books are written for reluctant readers, but are enjoyed by any who love adventures and quests. It is my love of the ancient and medieval worlds that provides my settings for my stories.
Factoids for Cheryl Carpinello
- What are your favorite activities when you’re not writing?
I enjoy reading, spending time with my family, and working in the yard. I’m definitely not a housekeeper
- Where would we find you when you’re totally relaxing?
Sitting on the beach in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico!
- Any pets?
None at this time. I am a pet lover, but I’ve had to put too many down to go through that heartbreak anytime soon. My last ones were my horse (38 years), my kids’ cat (18 years), my son’s two dogs (way too soon), and my daughter’s little dog (also too soon).
- Any kids?
We have two kids, a boy and a girl. Both are married to wonderful people. Our son and daughter-in-law have a 6-year-old boy and a little girl 2 months old. Our daughter and son-in-law have a 2-year-old toddler. Those 3 grandkids keep us young.
- What inspired you to go into teaching before writing?
Teaching was my first profession. I enjoy working with high school students. They are such fun to interact with, and it’s fascinating to watch them grow up and mature.
- What’s your favorite color or color combination?
Blue’s always been my favorite color. It’s the color of my eyes, of the sky, and of the ocean.
- Favorite beverage of all time?
Just can’t pass up a good marguerita.
- You’ve clearly done some traveling. What was your ultimate travel destination?
Every extended trip we’ve taken has been the trip of a lifetime. In 2008, we spent 3 weeks in Egypt and traveled from Cairo to Aswan and eventually back to Cairo by local train. Absolutely in awe of that ancient world sitting in the modern one.
In Sept. 2014, we spent 3 weeks traveling around the UK by car. Our aim was to immerse ourselves in the land that gave us Arthurian Legend. I also wanted to explore the locations I used in my book Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom. As an added bonus, I was invited to Manorbier Castle (also in YK) for a Meet and Greet the Author!
We visit Mexico and Las Vegas on a regular basis, and each fall, we travel to college football games. My husband prefers them to the pros, and I just love to travel! FYI: in addition to being a retired teacher and a writer, I’m also a retired airline employee:)
- Favorite snack?
I devour nachos and Auntie Anne’s pretezels!
- Which character do you love the most in all of your books? If you can’t choose just one, pick a few.
The Princess Guinevere from Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend because she was my first character, and Rosa from Sons of the Sphinx because I loved how she handled herself in ancient Egypt. Also, I would love to have been her.
- If you owned a time machine, what period would you most love to visit?
It would have to be the ancient worlds of Greece, Rome, Pompeii, Atlantis, and Egypt. Those civilizations have given the modern world so much, even Atlantis, which is supposedly mythical.
- Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?
My writing cave is supposed to be the bedroom off the living room, but this is also my oldest grandson’s room and the toy room for both grandsons! I usually do my writing on the couch or on the patio in the summer.
- What book are you currently reading?
I read several books at a time, a habit left over from my college days when I would take 4 or 5 literature classes at the same time. Currently I’m reading Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton, The Nile by Toby Wilkinson, and Twenty Years After by Alexander Dumas. As you can see, I’m somewhat of an eclectic reader.
- Who are your favorite authors?
I grab anything by the writing duo of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs, and I also love their individual books. David Baldacci’s books are also favorites. I’m somewhat addicted to blood & guts & thrillers!
- Do you listen to music when you write?
Yes, and I also put on my favorite movies: the ones I’ve seen a million times and don’t have to pay attention to. Sons of the Sphinx was written to Mumford & Sons The Road to Red Rocks. I can see the amphitheater from my living room windows.
- If you could live anyway, where would it be?
Right where I’m at, in Colorado. We have the best weather—All four seasons. I live next to the foothills, and a drive up in the Rockies is a cure for any ailment. My immediate family is all here, except for one sister. When I need a change, it’s so easy just to hop a plane and go to the beach.
- What are your favorite movies?
Star Wars, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, and The Mummy. I’ve watched each of these so many times that I’ve lost track, and my husband shakes his head when he sees on and says, “Really?” I just smile.
- Do you have a favorite TV show?
Yes. I like NCIS and CSI (both the originals). The Amazing Race is also a big hit with me. Love to see all the places the teams go.
- Favorite books as a kid?
I devoured anything with horses. Then, as now, I re-read my favorites over and over. The ones I loved the most: Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion series and Rutherford Montgomery’s The Golden Stallion series.
- What other jobs have you had in addition to writing?
I’m a twice-retired high school English teacher, a retired airline employee, and currently an Ambassador at Denver International Airport.
- What, if anything, bugs you when you read a novel, fiction or non-fiction?
Coming across numerous misspelled words, sentence fragments, and incorrect facts. That comes from 25+ years as an English teacher and writing instructor. Nothing is ever perfect, especially writing, but good editing is essential for authors.
- Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Definitely a night owl! I don’t usually go to sleep until midnight, and now that I’m retired, I comfortable with not seeing the sun come up in the morning:) That’s one of the reasons I love Las Vegas.
- Do you workout? Run? Walk?
I’m a walker. It’s quiet and gives me thinking time.
- Favorite food?
That would be a smothered shredded beef burrito washed down with a marguerita.
- Do you like to dress up or dress down?
Dress Down. A good old pair of jeans or shorts makes the best day better along with tennis shoes or flip-flops.