Today we have Penny Ross. Find out what Penny uses recipe cards for besides recipes, learn what area of writing she dreads the most and why and where she sells most of her books.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I started out with poetry and journal writing when I was young. Then when I had kids I started to write novels after my kids went to bed. I’ve published two novels so far and my third will be out in November. I write children’s books as well. I have one published and have to decide which children’s book to publish next.
How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?
I write on my couch most of the time with my laptop. I have background music on since it gets me in the zone. When the weather is nice I sit outside in my gazebo and gaze at my pool while I write. I love listening to the birds while I peck away at the keyboard. I find that restful and inspirational.
I prefer a lap top for my novels and freehand for my children’s books. For my most recent novel, ‘Stolen Spirits’ I sketched out chapter outlines freehand on recipe cards. I have many characters in that novel so I had to be very organized.
What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
My favorite part about writing is letting the characters take over the story to see where it will go. I love to be immersed in a writing project. I often have more than one writing project on the go. The one that grabs my attention and gets me caught up in the story is the one I concentrate on. I also love to edit so I dedicate countless hours to that. My least favorite part about writing is marketing. There never seems to be enough hours in the day and I prefer to write when I have the time. Marketing takes a lot of time and effort. You also have to be out in the public eye to sell your books. I find that hard to do, as I’m not a salesperson at heart.
How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?
I’m a people watcher so I combine traits from real people onto my characters. Often readers comment some of my characters are based on me but that’s not true. I like to write characters that people can relate to. I like to see where a character takes the story and how their values impact the direction of the plot.
What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
I have an author Facebook page, I’m on Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads and Pinterest. My books are available online, through my website and in bookstores. The bulk of my sales come from schools since my books are curriculum based so I do direct marketing to school divisions. I’ve also had two book launches where I sold books.
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
I write whenever I can. I don’t have a set schedule since I work full-time. Since I’m an educator I write during summer, winter and spring break. That’s when I get the bulk of my writing done. I also write for a few hours most weekends. If I’m doing research for a novel I fit that in on weekends and in the evenings.
What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
I’ve been working on two children’s picture books and a children’s legend. I’m doing the final edit on my ‘Stolen Spirits’ young adult book that will be out in November. My first children’s picture book, ‘Mrs. Muggles Learns to Read’ was published in March of this year so it’s relatively new. My first young adult book ‘Bird of Paradise Drums Beating’ was published over Christmas vacation last year.
Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
I’m partway through a sequel to my ‘Cave of Journeys’ middle years book. The setting for that one is Australia. We had a family vacation there last year and fell in love with the animals and climate. I just started a novelette about paying it forward. It combines fantasy with real life choices.
What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
Go for it! Believe in yourself and strive for your dream. The more you write, the better you’ll get. If you have a story in you it will fall into place if you allow your creative side to take over. Surround yourself with positive people who believe in you and you’ll do well. Once you’ve written a book or two then you can learn the mechanics of how to publish. Start with the creative side then work on the practical
organization of the project.
***Thank you, Penny! Learn more about Penny here: