Interview with Val Penny…..
Hello, Kerry and thank you so much for inviting me on to your blog today. I am delighted to be here and to talk books, reading and writing with you.
You’re very welcome, Val. Thanks so much for joining me today 🙂
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I am an American author living in SW Scotland. I have a Law degree from Edinburgh University and an MSc from Napier University. I have had had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. My crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ and ‘Hunter’s Revenge’ are set in Edinburgh, Scotland and published by Crooked Cat Books.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
Like many writers, I carry a notebook with me where ever I go. Often a conversation overheard in a coffee shop, someone standing on a railway platform or a snippet of news from the papers will give me an idea that I will use later.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Ha ha! Do I really need to answer that! Perhaps, yes. But more often characters in my novels have a combination of features, faults and attributes that come from a variety of people I have known.
How do you pick your characters names?
Choosing a character’s name is really fun for me. I am intrigued by unusual and interesting names. Hunter Wilson’s name came from a business I saw once. It was called Wilson Hunter, but I thought Hunter Wilson would be a great name for a detective.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Every author writes and plans differently. My first novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ grew organically from one or two ideas threaded together. However, I later attended a course by Sue Moorcroft, who writes women’s fiction. She explained how she plans all her novels in great detail, so my second book ‘Hunter’s Revenge’ was planned. I am now writing the third book in the series ‘Hunter’s Force’ and that is developing through a combination of the two styles.
I make my notes longhand in a note book, but write directly to the computer. It is easier to change things and move scenes or chapters if I need to.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Oh dear, only 5?
I read a great deal and enjoy most of the books I read. However, most of the books I pick up by choice are crime novels of one type or another.
I love Erin Kelly’s work. Her novels The Poison Tree and He Said/She Said are amongst the best I have ever read.
I also rate Michael Jecks and his Templar series of medieval West Country mysteries very highly. That period in history fascinates me.
Another author whose books I find never disappoint is the Canadian author Linwood Barclay. His mixture of humour and crime is unique.
Last year I also discovered Stephen Booth’s Cooper and Fry detective series after hearing him speak at a writers’ convention. I do enjoy these greatly.
I think my last choice has to be another author who was new to me this year. Katharine Johnson writes mysteries set in Tuscany. Her novels ‘The Silence’ and ‘The Secret’ are second to none.
Is that five? Oh dear! I also love, MJ Arlidge, Val McDermid, Chris Brookmyre, Kathy Reichs, Peter Robinson, Mark Billingham and Ian Rankin, but that’s cheating!
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I am lucky in that I have met all the authors that I have mentioned and have had time to talk to them at some length about their writing. However, I think the most important question for any writer would be, how do you balance your life and work. I find that tricky and, from what I have heard we can all be difficult when we are ‘in the zone’.
Were you a big reader as a child?
My mother introduced me to reading from an early age. I cannot remember a time when I was not hearing a story from her or reading one myself. So yes, I read a lot as a child and still do. But I am a serial reader: by that I mean that I only read one book at a time, finish it and move on. I am in awe of people who have several novels on the go at one time.
When did you start to write?
I started writing when I was only nine years old. I used to make up stories for my younger sister and then I started writing them down so that I did not forget them. None of these masterpieces ever made it to print. That is probably a blessing!
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
I do not think that it would ever be my place to change the ending of somebody else’s novel. It would feel rather presumptuous.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
Oh goodness yes! It has to be ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte. It has everything: romance, crime, mystery and has stood the test of time. I re-read it recently and was delighted to find that it is still a joy.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
I think it would have to be Circle of Life. It would have three parts: For Richer or Poorer, For Better or Worse, In Sickness and in Health.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
That surely has to Fagan, from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, but I wouldn’t take him anywhere with silver cutlery!
What are you working on right now?
I am working on the third novel in my series of crime novels set in Edinburgh. It is to be called ‘Hunter’s Force’ and will be published early in 2019.
Do you have a new release due?
My new crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’ is available to pre-order on Amazon now and will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 09.09.2018
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
I like to cuddle my husband and toast the new publication with an ice cold gin and tonic. What more could I want?
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I am always happy to hear from readers
My author website: http://www.authorvalpenny.om
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I would like to take a moment to thank everybody who takes time to read and review novels. Reviews are the lifeblood of contact and help authors learn what works and what does not work for their readers – so please – keep those reviews coming!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Val 🙂
Thank you for having me to visit today, Kerry. I hope your readers enjoy our chat as much as I did.
Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until his friend’s death is revenged.
DI Hunter Wilson is called to the scene of a murder. He is shocked to find the victim is his friend and colleague, George Reinbold. Who would want to harm the quiet, old man? Why was a book worth £23,000 delivered to him that morning? Why is the security in George’s home so intense? Hunter must investigate his friend’s past as well as the present to identify the killer and identify George’s killer. Hunter also finds a new supply of cocaine from Peru flooding HMP Edinburgh and the city. The courier leads Hunter to the criminal gang but Hunter requires the help of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable, Sir Peter Myerscough and local gangster Ian Thomson to make his case. Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taught crime thriller.
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Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballet dancer or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her first crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ set in Edinburgh, Scotland was published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. The sequel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’ will be published on 09.09.2018.
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Check out the rest of the blog tour for reviews, and more, with these awesome book bloggers…..
Happy Reading 🙂