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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  • Jesse Dean
    Dear Mr. Carman, I am a huge fan of your works, you introduced me into reading actually, which, if I recall correctly, i ...

  • Ayv
    Patrick, I have read th land of elyon series twice already and I intend to read it again and again until I remember it w ...

  • Jody Siahaan
    This is a note from one of my sixth grade students. I you would like to write him back you can through my email. Dear Mr ...