"Northwest author Patrick Carman's The Dark Hills Divide to help the Agros Foundation build more villages in Central America"

SEATTLE – The Agros Foundation and Northwest authorPatrick Carman have joined forces in a special fundraising campaign tohelp build self-sustaining villages in Central America.

Agros will receive a $5 donation for each copy of Carman’s new book,The Dark Hills Divide, that is purchased through the web site,www.LandofElyon.com,at the regular price of $11.95.(To register the donation, please enterthe word “AGROS” in the comments field at the time of purchase.)

Founded in 1982, the Seattle-based non-profit organization currentlyassists seventeen developing communities in Central America and hashelped over 3000 people break free from poverty through land ownershipand technical assistance. The program acquires land for village sites,typically in war-torn regions, then transfers title to the formerly-landlessfamilies upon repayment of the loan. Agros also provides the necessaryfunds and assistance to build needed infrastructure, and brings inagricultural and other experts to assist communities in becomingself-sustaining by teaching them how to raise animals and crops thatcan be sold locally or on the world market. As an example, Agrosarranged for Seattle-based broker, Atlas Coffees, to purchase the entirecoffee harvest from a Guatemalan village of 82 families whose land hadbeen stolen from them in the early 1900s.

Carman, who lives in Walla Walla, is a long-time Agros supporter withhis wife, Karen. Both have made numerous trips to Central America to workat Agros villages and have been very involved in raising funds for aspecific new village in Nicaragua.

An ideal holiday gift for anyone who loved The Lord of the Rings,Harry Potter, or The Chronicles of Narnia, Carman’sThe Dark Hills Divide is the riveting first volume of The Landof Elyon trilogy, which sold over 170 copies within two weeks at oneNorthwest bookstore.

The Dark Hills Divide, which is set in a fantasy world in whichanimals can talk and enchanted stones can predict the future, centersaround 12-year-old Alexa, who has spent her entire life living behindthe three-story walls that surround the four villages that make up BridewellCommon. Even the roads between them are walled in, both protecting residentsfrom the unknown and preventing them from venturing out into the surroundingforests. When Alexa’s dear friend, Bridewell’s founder, suddenly dies, shefinds a mysterious key that will lead her into a secret world where shediscovers that a plot is underway to destroy the villages.

Young readers will love this lush story, which is filled with mystery,intrigue, endless surprises and moral questions that are relevant to theirown lives.

The Dark Hills Divide is a wonderful gift for the young readers inyour life. Order your copies now at www.LandOfElyon.comto ensure that your books are delivered in time for Christmas.

For more information about Agros, please go to www.Agros.org.

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Walla Walla Union-Bulletin MARQUEE, 11/06/03

His wife got a night off, and he became a children’s author. Seemed like a win-win situation for Patrick Carman, a Walla Walla businessman. He built a company that sold 50,000 board games, a dot com and an advertising agency in Portland. Despite his business accomplishments, Carman felt he still didn’t have an outlet for his creative side.
Three years ago, he started making up stories to give his wife a night off from parental duties, as well as to entertain his two daughters with stories about a girl in the Land of Elyon, who digs out of her walled-in home to go on adventures.
Carman recently released his book, “The Dark Hills Divide,” the first in his youth fiction trilogy about a girl who digs out of her walled-in home and sets off on adventures.
Sound familiar?
The stories in the books were spawned by the stories he told his girls on those nights his wife got a break.
Carman began is path to authorship by journaling his ideas for a year, a tactic which he admits may have been out of fear.
“I was terrified to start writing,” he said.
But making a children’s book turned into more than transcribing stories to paper.
“Writing it was only a third of the process,” he said. First he would “get it all out, and then go through and keep tweaking.”
“I would love to see a first draft of ‘Harry Potter,’” he said.
Carman did a lot of groundwork to prepare for his first book, including studying books in the voice of young females such as “White Oleander” and sending his book through numerous edits with professional publishers.
During the writing process, Carman also learned about the intricacies that go into making a “good book,” such as the absence of slang to set a time period for the book, the problems of revealing characters and plots too late, and learning where to place the hook to grab a reader.
“There have been so many changes since I thought it was finished,” Carman said. “I feel sorry for the people who read it the first time…”
Running a company is stressful and difficult, he said, “but there’s a joy in writing that makes up for all that hard work.”
Carman put his business savvy to work with “The Dark Hills Divide,” as he used his contacts to help create art, a web site and a marketing campaign around the book.
“Finishing a book is not any different from starting a business,” he said. “You have to be able to differentiate (between what you can and can’t do yourself) and find someone with those talents.”
While writing the book, Carman said he devoted about half his professional time to writing. The businessman-turned-author currently spends that time promoting the book, and sharing the writing journey with local students.
Carman started a series of 10 classroom discussions with local elementary school students, a program for which he is writing supplemental material. Carman will lead students through creating a story and have students try their hand at creating maps and journals for their stories, just as he did.
“I just want the kids to have fun,” Carman said.


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