Today, Penny is a multi-published, award-winning author of inspirational books and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Penny is a homeschool mom of two and actively devotes her time to coaching homeschool P.E. and teaching a variety of subjects at her local homeschool co-op. Her passion is to assist and nurture women and children into a closer relationship with Christ.
When Penny is not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children while camping, hiking, canoeing, reading, running, gardening, and playing volleyball.
Sample Interview Questions
I have had a love for writing since I was in second grade and rewrote Bible stories in my own little second grade commentary. 🙂 Throughout my school years, I would write stories and “publish” them in homemade cardboard books. In high school, I wrote stories where my friends were the main characters.
Fast forward several years when I surrendered my writing to the Lord. I quit my full time job with a social services governmental agency so I could stay home with my children. That was the start of my career, beginning with writing magazine articles. Writing is my ministry and my passion and I pray I will glorify Him with each word I write.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I love the creation of characters. My books are character-driven, so I love being able to create situations and dialogue. I enjoy developing how the characters will respond to various situations throughout the book based on their personalities.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
I’ve always enjoyed learning about the 1800s, and I have long been intrigued by the beauty and history of the State of Montana, so I was excited to set my first series in that state. My family and I visit Montana regularly and one year traveled throughout the entire state and stopped at a ghost town, which gave me a lot of inspiration for my Montana Skies Series. The other series of books I am working on take place in other states and I have learned so much about their histories while writing those books as well.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I would say my most difficult writing obstacle is setting priorities and sticking to them and not wasting time on less important things on my “to-do list.” To help myself overcome that obstacle, each morning before I climb out of bed and face a day of mothering, homeschooling at the Zeller Academy, housecleaning, volunteering, and writing books, I ask the Lord to prepare my heart. I ask that He guide my day, that I would use my time wisely, and that I would get accomplished only what He would have me do that day.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
How much time was going to be spent in marketing and promoting those novels! As the saying goes…the hardest part starts after the book is published!
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
God calls us all to do different things for His Kingdom. If He has called you to write, seek His guidance. Never give up, even when you feel like it or when someone has unkindly criticized you. Seek to please and honor Him in whatever you write, whether it be for the secular or nonsecular market; whether it be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, song lyrics, or a screenplay. Find a mentor and be open to ideas and suggestions from one who’s “been there, done that.” One final note, join forces with other Christian writers. After all, we are all working for the same Boss.
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Definitely Jesus. I would love to sit in His Presence and learn all I could from Him. I would also thank Him continually for what He did for me.
Do you have a favorite bible verse?
I have so many favorite Bible verses, but if I had to narrow it down, I would say it’s a tie between Psalm 19:14 and Psalm 91.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
The Lord is teaching me more than ever to rely on Him in all circumstances. He has also placed it in my heart to desire to be completely in His will in my writing ministry and to be sensitive and open to His leading.
What outside interests do you have?
When I’m not dreaming up new characters for books, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and camping, hiking, canoeing, running, gardening, and playing volleyball.
Just for fun, what was your favorite subject(s) in school?
English was my favorite subject (surprise, surprise) after recess, of course! I liked pretty much all of the subjects in school, with the exception of anything related to math. Math and I have never gotten along!
What is one thing your family should never allow you to do?
There are actually three things in no particular order. The first being they should never allow me to visit a greenhouse or nursery. I may become “lost” amongst the flowers and trees long after closing time. Secondly, I have a love of cute clothes, so just keeping me out of the temptation palace of the clothing store downtown is a good idea. Third, they should never, ever allow me to visit a museum or a ghost town. As a history lover, they may find me gazing at old photographs for hours concocting new stories in my head, or sitting in an old one-room schoolhouse imagining life as a pupil of yesteryear. And that SD card in the camera? It’s full within minutes if I’m allowed to roam through anything historical!