Penny Zeller is known for her heartfelt stories of faith and her passion to impact lives for Christ through fiction. While she has had a love for writing since childhood, she began her adult writing career penning articles for national and regional publications on a wide variety of topics.
Today Penny is a multi-published author of over a dozen books. She is also a homeschool mom and a group fitness instructor. Her desire is to assist and nurture women into a closer relationship with Christ.
When Penny is not dreaming up new characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters and camping, hiking, canoeing, biking, reading, running, gardening, and playing volleyball.
She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and loves to hear from her readers at her website, www.pennyzeller.com and on her blog at www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com .
Books by Penny
Sample Interview Questions
What age did you realize you loved books and when did you start writing?
I have loved books for as long as I can remember. My mom often read to my siblings and me when we were little, and once I was able to read, it became a favorite pastime. I remember devouring Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books and enjoying a multitude of historical romance and contemporary romance novels as I grew older.
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 daughters. 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 to create characters. There is something exciting about being able to give characters personalities and create situations and dialogue.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I would say my most difficult writing obstacle is setting priorities, sticking to them, and not wasting time on less important things on my “to-do list.” Besides writing, I am also a fitness instructor, blog regularly, am involved in ministry, and volunteer. To help myself overcome that obstacle, each morning before I climb out of bed and face the day, I ask the Lord to prepare my heart, 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?
I would tell them to persevere. I know that sounds cliché, but it is so critical, especially in those moments when the obstacles mount and it seems like our writing is going nowhere beyond our own computer file. If God has called you to write, He has a purpose for that writing. We may never be best-selling authors, but our writing can still make a difference to those who read it. Joining writing clubs and groups both online and in person can be helpful a well.
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 non-secular 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 all work 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 the entirety of Psalm 91 and Psalm 19:14.
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, camping, hiking, canoeing, bicycling/cycling, reading, 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 most school subject, with the exception of anything related to math. Math and I have never gotten along.