I am thrilled to welcome HL Carpenter to Self Published Sunday. HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter writing team. Their indi-published New Adult sweet romance, Jack and The Fountain of Youth is the latest adventure in their writing career. The Carpenters are also the author of a satirical short story, The Demise of Fyne Literature, and a young adult novel, The SkyHorse, both available at Musa Publishing.
Jack and The Fountain of Youth
a New Adult novella by HL Carpenter
Where did you get the idea for Jack and The Fountain of Youth?
Last year was the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de León's landing on the Florida coast. Since we’re Florida residents, we immediately began imagining what life was like back then. And what if...what if someone from the expedition actually did drink from the magical Fountain of Youth? What would that person’s life be like today?
How did you come up with the hero of your novella?
We were sitting on the porch in Carpenter Country (a magical place that is unreal but not untrue), when Jack popped up in the fountain in our garden. That was a bit unexpected, since our usual fountain visitors are birds, bees, and butterflies, so after we told Jack to stop splashing the water out, we handed him a towel and asked why he was there.
When he told us his story, we knew we had to help. How could we resist the kind of hero we believed only existed in our daydreams, a chivalrous guy with eyes the color of unsweetened cocoa who looked and acted like a caballarius of old?
Why did you decide to pursue indie publishing?
We’ve always thought of our writing as a business as well as an art, and our work has been published by a traditional print house and an e-publisher. We’ll continue to appreciate and create for both of those outlets. At the same time, we view indie publishing as an opportunity to grow and learn, and we think it’s important to explore all the exciting possibilities available to authors today.
Some people say the Fountain of Youth is a myth. Jack Ponsi Dileonardo Thomas knows better.
Jack Ponsi Dileonardo Thomas is eighteen years old. At least, that’s what he tells everyone. He doesn’t like to lie. But he has to, because he celebrated his real eighteenth birthday five centuries ago.
Some people say the Fountain of Youth is a myth. Jack knows better. He drank from the fabled fuente in 1513. Over the five hundred years since, he’s given up believing his life will ever again be normal–and that he’ll ever rediscover the magical spring. But when he learns the Fountain is located on the property of Nessa Owens, Jack takes up the search once more. And when Nessa captures his heart, his quest acquires new urgency.
Caught in the midst of a hurricane, surrounded by centuries-old memories and present day mysteries, Jack must risk all for a future with Nessa.
Will love prove more powerful than the enchanted waters of the Fountain of Youth?
“You want me to do what?” Eighteen-year-old Jack Ponsi Dileónardo Thomas stared at his gray-haired boss, and a memory he’d buried five centuries earlier lurched to life. He clutched the cold metal arms of his chair, fighting off the shock that threatened to topple him to the floor.
Colby Newman, editor-in-chief and person-in-charge-of-handing-out-assignments at the World Pryer, crunched a peppermint candy and stared back at him without answering.
During the six weeks Jack had spent as a summer intern for the Pryer, he’d learned Mr. Newman always lapsed into silence after dropping a bomb on one of his reporters. Mr. Newman was a great editor, but he had an odd sense of humor.
Right now, he didn’t look like he thought he’d cracked a joke.
Jack took a deep breath and unclenched his hands. The shock died away. The undead memory lived on. He said, “Did you ask me to find the Fountain of Youth?”
“Yes.” Mr. Newman twisted his thick lips into a smile that made him resemble the water-skiing gorilla on last week’s front page. “Go prove the Fountain exists, Jack. And I don’t mean another tired story on that moldy tourist attraction in St. Augustine. I’m talking about the real thing.”
“The real thing?”
Mr. Newman said, “You probably learned about the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León in school, Jack. It’s textbook history. He explored many parts of Florida during his search for the Fountain of Youth.”
“I know.” Jack knew all about the de León name and its place in La Florida’s past, though not from any school lessons. He said, “Juan led an expedition through the area around Everyoung, too.”
Mr. Newman nodded. “That means the Fountain of Youth could be right here, in our town. In fact, a reliable source called in that very tip to the hot line yesterday morning. The message was a bit garbled, but I have reason to believe he’s onto something.”
“You do?” For one shining moment, a beam of hope seared through Jack. He used all his willpower to shove it aside. Over the years, the flame of false expectation had burned him badly. “Why do you think so?”
“Call it an old newsman’s hunch.” Mr. Newman shrugged. “Even if the tipster is wrong, the Fountain of Youth makes good copy. I’m excited about this story. I’m assigning you to follow up.”
The still-swirling memories burst through the dam of Jack’s willpower and threatened to swamp him. He didn’t have to follow up, because Mr. Newman’s source was right about the location of the Fountain. It was here on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Jack knew that for certain.
He couldn’t say so, though. As much as Mr. Newman liked weird stories, he’d never believe that five centuries earlier, in the year 1513, Jack had accompanied Ponce de León’s expedition to La Florida, and discovered the magical spring.
Mr. Newman wouldn’t believe the rest of the story, either. Jack hadn’t understood what he’d stumbled across until years later—specifically, on the day he’d looked at his twin sister Maria and realized she had become a fifty-year-old woman.
And he was still eighteen.
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