I am thrilled to have Penny Watson here today to join me on my stop of the Fiery Hot Reads for Icy Cold Nights Hop. I enjoy her books immensely (I've read 3), especially on a cold wintry night like those we've had recently courtesy of Nemo! Click the titles to check out my reviews of her books: Sweet Inspiration and Lumberjack in Love.
1. Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a former botanist-science teacher-florist-lacrosse coach with two really cool kids adopted from the Philippines, and one adorable hubby who was my college sweetheart. We live outside of Boston with our mini dachshund Lucy.
I love beards, martinis, 1980s music, sequins, mindless teenage movies, and organic gardening. :^)
2. When did you know that you wanted to write professionally and how did you take the leap to get into the business?
I became obsessed with romance novels when my son was a baby (he watched Sesame Street and I read romance novels!), and I decided to write a werewolf book after reading Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Night Play. I joined the New England Chapter of the RWA, got a critique group, entered contests, and queried my way to a book contract.
3. Can you tell me a little bit about your books and what inspired you to write romance?
I have a holiday series about the five sons of Santa Claus, a lumberjack series set in a small Vermont town, and I’m just about to publish my first children’s book, LUCY THE WONDER WEENIE. I’m all over the place! But romance will always be near and dear to me because I love happy endings and real heroes.
4. Who would you cast if Lumberjack in Love were to be made into a film?
Ohhhhhhhhh! Great question. How about Kate Hudson as Ami? I think she could be really sexy and sarcastic! And for Marcus…how about Joe Manganiello? He is big, buff, beardy and hot. Let’s go, Hollywood!
5. I find it interesting to know what environment authors find most productive… Do you use a pen and paper or laptop? Quiet room at home or bustling café? Basically, what gets your creative juices flowing?
My writing friends make fun of me. I have to work in complete silence at home. Can’t go out to Starbucks or the library or anywhere else. No music. No distractions. I can’t focus otherwise.
6. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
This is an excellent question. Toughest criticism? You’ll never get published with a holiday romance? Oops, yeah I did! Hee hee. Best compliment—every time—is when a reader tells me I made her happy, laugh, lifted her spirits. That never gets old.
7. What book is currently on your nightstand? And who are some of your favorite authors?
I’m reading an ARC of Meg Maguire’s Making Him Sweat. I love Meg’s writing. I have too many favorite authors to mention, but I do massive re-reads of Julie Garwood, Stephanie Laurens, Christine Feehan, and Amanda Quick fairly often.
8. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
My favorite thing is exploring new places with my family—last year we had a fabulous trip to Kauai. This year we’re heading to Santa Fe…I can’t wait!
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Especially on the topic of traditional publishing vs indie/self publishing?
Enjoy it! If writing is a chore, it’s not worth it. It should be a fun, creative outlet and a positive part of your life. I think both trad and self-pubbing are good paths, although I do recommend self-pubbing if you’re a control freak like me!
10. I’ve noticed that your novels are sporting some new covers. And much as I loved the playfulness of the old ones, I must confess that I adore the new ones. What inspired the change? And how important do you feel cover design is for promoting a book?
My old covers were with Wild Rose for the Klaus Brothers Series. I redesigned them to have a more simple holiday feel, no beefcake this time around. The original LUMBERJACK IN LOVE cover was a parody of a 1980s Fabio bodice ripper, done in primitive block print-style. I really love that cover! But a lot of folks didn’t get the joke, so Lena Goldfinch make me a gorgeous new cover for the digital version of the book. There’s something for everyone now. The only real problem I see with cover designs is that some are so similar, I can’t tell them apart, and so I mix books up. That’s not good. Your cover should be unique enough so that it’s recognizable as yours.
11. What can we expect from you next? (Another Klaus novel hopefully?? I love those boys!)
I have three new books coming up this year. LUCY THE WONDER WEENIE—my first children’s book is coming out in February. And I also have a new Klaus book, SWEET ADVENTURE, coming out next holiday season. And hopefully another quickie lumberjack book this spring. If I can pack them all in! Yikes!
12. Do any animals share your life? Please tell us about them.
Lucy is my sweetheart! She was the inspiration for my new book LUCY THE WONDER WEENIE. She’s a mini doxie with a big diva attitude.
(Is Lucy not the cutest thing ever??? - M)
And now for a little bit of fun:) This or That?
Coffee or Tea? COFFEE! ROAR!
Sweet or Salty? Salty. In fact, I would love a big, greasy cheeseburger.
Beach or Lake? Beach.
Winter or Summer? Summer!
Cats or Dogs? DOGS RULE.
Zombies or Vampires? Zombies.
Country or City? I’m a country mouse.
Shower or Bath? Shower.
Morning or Evening? Morning.
M&Ms or Skittles? Peanut M and Ms.
Trains or Planes? Trains.
Comedy or Drama? COMEDY! Always.
PENNY WATSON is a native Pittsburgher whose love of romance started at the age of twelve when she discovered Gone With The Wind in the middle school library. This resulted in numerous attempts at a first novel involving a young lady with windswept hair who lived in a treehouse.
A biologist by training, Penny has worked at various times as a dolphin trainer, science teacher, florist, and turfgrass researcher (don't ask). After taking time off to raise her two spirited children, she decided to rekindle her passion for storytelling with the support of a wonderful writer's group, The Quirky Ladies. Now she gets to incorporate her wide array of interests, including gardening, cooking and travel into her works of fiction. Penny lives outside of Boston with one fly-fishing crazed husband, two lively Filipino kids, and a wiener dog.
Penny has been kind enough to offer up E-book or Print copy (US ONLY) of Lumberjack in Love!
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