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Author Interview: Rebecca Carpenter

February 4, 2017

This is the fifth interview in my series of Author Interviews.

Pull up a chair, sit back and relax. Enjoy reading.

Introducing Rebecca Carpenter, author of Butterfly Bones.



Walking around the woods on an overcast day I come across the most amazing sight. It’s a tree but not a tree. The leaves move. They… flutter. In a burst of movement, hundreds of butterflies take flight. I watch in awe. Closing my eyes, I listen to the sound. When the butterflies disappear, I find a table. There’s a driveway just past the table leading off into the distance. Probably leads to a house. Probably. Footsteps sound behind me.

Hi Rebecca, it’s so good of you to give me a little of your time. First up, tell me a bit about yourself.

I live in Grand Junction, Colorado (western slope) with my husband and two dogs, Pinny, a miniature pincer, and Lexi, a sweet black lab that is my husband’s diabetic alert service dog. I have two grown children and four amazing grandkids, with the fifth in the oven. I own and run a large childcare center, as well as teach the prekindergarten class, which is awesome, because I have a captive audience to share my love of books with. I work part-time as a copy editor for Kate Foster Professional Editorial Services and also intern for her small press, Lakewater Press. In my limited spare time, I love to spend time in the mountains, hike, read, and watch movies. Love stories and zombie movies are my favorite.

Eeeep! Zombie’s scare me. Ahem, now, tell me about your writing…

What age were you when you started?

I was in the third grade when I knew I was a writer. It started with winning a poetry contest and bloomed from there. But as early as I can remember, I loved to write stories, poems, song lyrics, and I was an avid journal writer. Especially when it came to boys, lol.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

How does a whale know when to go up for air? It’s instinct—part of my DNA. I love language, words, and English was and still is my favorite subject. I don’t see writing as a hobby but rather a talent that I was blessed with. And like all talents, I can choose to develop it through practice and studies, or I can ignore it and never learn what my true potential can be.

What was your favourite book as a child and why?

My favorite book as a child was Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. My father read it to me and my siblings when I was five. I can still remember Dad’s quivering tone as the protagonist, Little Willy, picked up his dead dog, Searchlight, and carried her across the finish line of an Iditarod sled race. Consumed in emotion, Dad became too choked up to continue. Between the powerful scene and seeing my father cry for the first time, it was at that moment that I understood books were magical. If a story could make the strongest man I know cry, there was no limit to what a good book could do. Growing up, The Little House on the Prairie books and The Box Car Kids series were read over and over. And I have to mention the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Mysteries. I guess I’ve always been a sucker for a great mystery/thriller.

Wow, your dad sounds amazing! And hey, I love Nancy, Joe and Frank too! So, favourite book as an adult and why?

I have several. I love the classics. Little Women will always have a special place in my heart, as well as Great Expectations. As for books today, I know a lot of people hate it, but Twilight by Stephenie Meyer is what got the ball rolling for me to finally become serious about writing. I read the whole thing in less than two days and couldn’t wait to read it again. I loved the romantic triangle but was always on team Edward. Defending Jacob by William Landay is my favorite mystery/thriller. Talk about a shocking end! I also read anything about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and am a sucker for true crime.

Tell me a bit about Butterfly Bones? How did you come up with the idea?

I came up with the idea from a song called “Caterpillar” by The Cure. But it started as a horror novel with the protagonist getting revenge on her tormentors. But Bethany, the main character, had her own ideas about what she wanted the book to be about. So I listened and The Caterpillar Girl came to life—a story about love and loss with a strong bullying sub-plot. After Lakewater Press acquired The Caterpillar Girl, the editor recommended a name change, and Butterfly Bones was born.

Tell me about Bethany? Was her story based on anyone you know?

Bethany was born purely from my imagination. I did recall my own experiences as a teenager and how certain girls made me feel to help set the tone, but other than that, she isn’t based on anyone I know. Although I do have a sister who I could totally hear saying some of Bethany’s smart-aleck remarks. And since I have four sisters, I’ll let them guess as to which one it could be.

Hahahaha! Wow four, I only have one and that is plenty! J

Why did you feel you needed to tell Bethany’s story?

I am going to give you my quote from my press release, as I think it says how I feel best.

“Bullying is a real problem within our society, one that is all too often overlooked or written off as not that big of a deal.

“What I hope Butterfly Bones will achieve for readers is first and foremost to help them experience Bethany’s life—what it’s like to be bullied, to feel like you have no one to turn to for help, and the roller coaster of emotions that teens go through, especially with physical self-esteem and peer acceptance.

“I want readers to understand her wants and needs and to experience her giddiness and heartbreak over her first crush, as well as her resilience to withstand the relentless bullying at the hands of school mates until she’s finally broken.”

And as I said before, Bethany pushed me to tell this story—her story.

Have you always wanted to write contemporary science fiction Young Adult fiction?

I love young adult fiction. I think it has the best stories, and I find myself relating to it more than any other age category. Contemporary is definitely more my forte, but if a story presents itself in another genre, I’ll write it. I don’t know if I would attempt any science fiction that wasn’t character-driven soft science fiction, but one never knows. I also write scary stories, middle grade, picture books, and screen plays.

What is your writing process?

I pen my ideas and then plot. But I only use the plotline as a loose guideline to keep me on track because the story always changes—always! And some of my best scenes have come from beyond the plotline—from a galaxy far, far away—or something I call my overactive brain.

How long did it take you to write Butterfly Bones?

A year to pen it, but it took about five years of revisions before it was ready for publication. I would say that was my biggest mistake as a new writer—submitting before the book was ready. Needless to say, I received a handful of rejections which were hard to swallow but taught me how to create a strong story.

I understand this is a series? What are your plans for book two? How is that going?

For early readers and reviewers of Butterfly Bones, they received a version of the book with a different ending than what was published. So for readers who purchased the book, the ending happens much sooner than in the ARC. So all the early readers know the horrible secret which will be revealed now in book two. Due to not wanting to give these readers the same book, I changed much of the story—all except the shocking twist—but the storyline has changed enough that those early readers won’t recognize it.

Book two is 1/3 finished. This one has its own unique dynamics as I’m telling it from multiple POV, and one character is told in free verse due to “special circumstances” which can’t be divulged. Bethany learns things about her father which make her question everything she thought she knew about her family, and new health concerns arise for her. But the worst part is she can’t reach Jeremiah—like he disappeared from the earth. She’ll put everything on the line to find him and let him finally know her true feelings for him. But nature isn’t finished with her yet.

Gosh, that sounds gripping. I’m hooked… *drums fingers on the table top* Well… hurry up! J

What else have you written? I understand you have written a book titled The Total Deconstruction of Chloe Wilson, tell us about that?

The Total Deconstruction of Chloe Wilson is my first book, a memoir about my teen pregnancy at the age of fifteen. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever written—especially since I had to relive some pretty horrible moments in my life. But it was a story I felt needed to be told—especially for teen girls of today. The book deals with self-esteem issues, teen suicide, and my journey through teen pregnancy.

Bullies and being bullied are strong themes in Butterfly Bones? Why is this issue so important to you?

I’m an early childhood educator, mother, and grandmother. I see bullying every day. It’s a serious problem in our society, and I can’t stress enough how damaging bullying is to the individual experiencing it. We have to stop acting like it’s no big deal—a part of growing up that requires the child to “grow a thicker skin” instead of teaching respect and kindness. My daughter was bullied to the point that she became suicidal and had battled with low self-esteem and confidence issues ever since. We have to be better than that as a people and treat bullying as the plague that it is—damaging and destructive to our youth.

I totally agree!

What advice would you give to a teenager who is being bullied?

I’d encourage them to tell an adult. If they don’t listen, tell someone else. Keep telling someone until they help you. And I would advise the person being bullied that it’s not their fault. Bullying is typically done by people who themselves are bullied or have low self-esteem and want to make themselves feel better. Bottom line, get help.

What advice would you give the bully?

This one is a little harder. Bullies typically don’t care if they hurt other people’s feelings or even if they harm them physically. But I think I would tell them that they have worth, just as much as anyone, and they don’t need to put other people down to feel better about themselves.

What advice would you give to the families of a child who has/is being bullied?

Get help. Counseling for the individual and family is always a good idea. Talk openly with your children and know what’s going on in their lives. Be proactive and involved in their lives.

Childhood illness is also a strong theme in Butterfly Bones, tell us more about that? Why did that resonate so strongly with you?

I wanted Bethany to have a physical ailment which made her an easy target for bullies, as is the case in real life. And I needed a disorder which challenged Bethany but didn’t define her. The plot called for a sick/dying child who would be helped by butterfly DNA. But even after she was cured, her healthy body didn’t equate to self-esteem. We have to find self-esteem deep within ourselves, no matter what kind of physical ailments we do or don’t have. Bethany wanted to be accepted when she didn’t accept herself.

You want children to realize their inner strength and inner beauty? Why is this important for you?

Because like most teens, it took me a long time to recognize my own worth, and I looked to fill the void with affection from boys. I don’t want other teens to experience what I did—I want them to be smarter, stronger. And each one of us is so important with talents and gifts to share with the world. Inner beauty and strength is true beauty and strength. Jeremiah recognized it in Bethany well before she did in herself. I can only hope we all have a Jeremiah in our lives.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone wanting to write a book?

Do it! Learn all you can about the craft of writing. Join critique groups. Join professional writing organizations. Read lots of books in the genre you want to write. Ask questions. Buy books on writing. And just write. Do it for yourself, no matter what your end goals are.

Thank you Rebecca, it has been so good to talk to you. I cannot wait to read book two!!

Fluttering sounds again above our heads. A glance up. The sky has become a bright blue expanse that seems to flow forever. When did the sun come out? The butterflies are returning I think. I decide to leave before they settle back to their home. Gosh, I feel tired though. My skin tingles.


About Butterfly Bones

At birth, Bethany Keatley was diagnosed with a rare bone disease and sent home from the hospital to die. Despite losing her mother to cancer before she turned two, Bethany defeated her prognosis and now, at fifteen, with hindered growth making her appear ten years old, she is alive and well thanks to the hormone injections which her scientist father developed.

But if growing up isn’t hard enough already, being small makes her a target and a social outcast. The only way she’s been able to escape her high school tormenters so far is by working hard, achieving good grades, and through her unusual friendship with star football player Jeremiah Wright. That is until a misunderstanding with new girl Zoey Margold. Beautiful and brazen, Zoey and her followers make it their focus to break Bethany.

Yet dealing with the bullies becomes the least of Bethany’s worries. The mice on which her dad tests the butterfly hormone are showing side effects no one saw coming and now her plan to leave the small minded town of Springs, Georgia and become a scientist has all but shattered. Her world becomes a prison and her existence a life sentence.

But nature has her own plans for Bethany.


You can read my Review of Butterfly Bones here


You can find Rebecca at the following…

Twitter handle: @Carpenterwrites

If you haven’t done it yet, you should buy Butterfly Bones (Metamorphosis)


  1. Excellent job, Laurie! I love it!

    • Yay!! Thank you… I am only as good as my interviewee of course! Thank YOU for being fabulous!

  2. A year to pen it, but it took about five years of revisions before it was ready for publication You have no idea how good that makes me feel, Rebecca 🙂 My YA novel has about the same time frame 🙂 Oh, by the way, to anyone reading this blog post who hasn’t read Butterfly Bones, you must, you really must!

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