Patrick Carman Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Writings, Adaptations, Work in Progress, Sidelights
Education: College graduate (economics).
Agent—c/o Author Mail, Scholastic, Inc., 557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.
Writer and entrepreneur. Founded four businesses, including an advertising agency.
Beyond the Valley of Thorns, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 2005.
The Dark Hills Divide, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 2005.
The Dark Hills Divide was adapted as an audiobook, Brilliance Audio, 2005.
Work in Progress
A third book in the "Land of Elyon" cycle.
Second-generation entrepreneur Patrick Carman successfully launched four businesses—including an advertising agency—prior to turning to children's book writing full-time. Deciding that it was time to indulge his creative side, Carman penned a fantasy novel for young readers, inspired by his daughters Reece and Sierra. Completing the book in nine months, he decided to publish the novel himself after failing to find a publisher. The Dark Hills Divide became a local hit in western Washington, where Carman lives, and a representative from Scholastic publishers eventually discovered the book at a well-known Seattle book stores. Soon, Carman had a contract for the entire three-volume "Land of Elyon" series.
Twelve-year-old Alexa Daley, the heroine of The Dark Hills Divide, has grown up in a city surrounded by high walls, and she feels increasingly claustrophobic and longing for escape. One day she finds a tunnel that allows her to leave the shelter of her protected city and venture out into the unknown, where she comes across a magical stone that enables her to communicate with animals. From animals Alexa learns that her home fortress has actually been penetrated by a spy who seeks to destroy the city. It is up to her to return to the city to identify this spy and eradicate the opposed threat to her friends and loved ones.
Calling Carman's novel an "entertaining, accessible fantasy" that features a "highly cinematic" text, School Library Journal contributor Beth Wright noted that the author's inclusion of "double identities, mysterious codes, and Alexa's magical gift of speaking with animals" create an entertaining plot. "The most endearing parts of the story are the relationships Alexa forms with animals who help her" commented Claire Rosser in a Kliatt review of the novel, while a Kirkus reviewer praised Carman's heroine as a girl who, "with her brains courage and grit, proves to be an appealingly strong female hero." "Readers of all ages will gain much from this tale," concluded a Publishers Weekly contributor, praising Carman for creating a "plucky, convincingly curious heroine" who "follows her passion" despite her fears.
In an interview on Scholastic.com, Carman explained: "The walls in the book are very much like the emotional walls that kids build around themselves to cope with all the peer pressure. They feel they have to dress a certain way, to act a certain way, to talk to only certain people, and all of that. That's not what being a kid should have to be about. You should be able to just be yourself and be with the kids you want to be with and dress the way you want to dress and,… have a good experience with school. But so many kids are afraid. And they lose themselves and they lost the opportunity of meeting the kids they probably should have met—of being the kid they really should have been."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, March 1, 2005, Sally Estes, review of The Dark Hills Divide, p. 1193.
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2005, review of The Dark Hills Divide, p. 174.
Kliatt, January, 2005, Claire Rosser, review of The Dark Hills Divide, p. 6.
Publishers Weekly, December 13, 2004, John F. Baker, "Big Push for Self-published Kids' Author," p. 12; February 21, 2005, review of The Dark Hills Divide, p. 176.
School Library Journal, April, 2005, Beth Wright, review of The Dark Hills Divide, p. 129.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 19, 2004, Cecelia Goodnow, "For Authors with Drive and a Good Story, Self-Publishing Can Be the Ticket."
Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 2005, Ann Welton, review of The Dark Hills Divide, p. 53.
Scholastic Web site, http://www.scholastic.com/ (May 3, 2005), "Patrick Carman."
Trades-Entertainment Industry Analysis Web site, http://www.the-trades.com/ (December 5, 2004), Howard Price, interview with Carman.
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