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07 Aug

 

A small-town girl who cherishes family and friends with traditional core values, meet Penny Richards…

 

JR: Tell us about yourself, and how would you describe yourself?

PR: I’m a small-town girl, who cherishes family and friends. My faith is very important to me. I am a widow, and have three children, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. I love thrift stores, yard sales cooking and working in my yard. I believe in being a good steward of what we’re given, and that includes talents. I try my best to infuse my characters and stories with traditional core values such as love, honesty, faithfulness, integrity, and strength clothed in gentleness.

 

JR: Do you have any formal education in creative writing? Do you think formal education in writing is necessary?

PR: If by formal education, you mean college courses, then, no. I started learning and growing as a writer when I found a writer’s group and connected with other writers, and one, who had published a historical novel, took me under her wing. I started going to workshops and conferences, a great place to learn. I bought Techniques of the Selling Writer (the best “how to” book out there in my opinion) by the late Dwight V. Swain, as well as many, many books about character, plot, setting, etc. My shelves are filled with “how to” books. I started entering contests. The feedback can be really good, especially, if they are judged by published authors, editors, agents, etc. I continue to study the craft, continue to stretch my creative muscle, hoping I never stop growing and gaining knowledge.

 

Though This Be MadnessJR: How do you think you have evolved creatively?

PR: I first sold back in 1983 when the romance market was thriving. At the time, I liked contemporary books, with a little spice, and that’s what I wrote and sold. I took about an eight-year break-burnout-and did some other things on my bucket. While I was “off” I decided to try my hand with an idea I’d been toying with for several years: A historical mystery about a Shakespearean actress who becomes a Pinkerton agent. I worked on it for probably nine years all told. The result is An Untimely Frost, that I sold to Kensington a couple of years ago. The book , the first in the “Lilly Long Mysteries,” was recently awarded Best Historical Mystery of 2017 from Texas Association of Authors, and the second book in the Though This Be Madness was released last spring. Book three, Murder Will Speak, is scheduled for release in May 2018. I love writing these books, but let me say that learning to write two completely different genres is quite a learning curve!

 

JR: How many books have you written (published and non-published)?

PR: I have published more than 40 books/anthologies with Silhouette, Harlequin, Harper Paperbacks and Kensington. I have probably 3-4 that haven’t sold, but who knows? I may get them out and brush them off and see what happens.

 

JR: Any other works in progress?

PR: I have three more Lilly Long mystery books that I’m hoping to sell to Kensington, and I’m working on a historical mystery anthology Christmas story the will be Indy published with some friends. I’m also “polishing” a non-fiction about ways to keep the romance alive in your marriage.

 

JR: What advice would you want to give to an aspiring writer?

PR: Read, read, read the genre you want to write. Learn the craft. I think that’s the most important thing. Get an industry professional to read your work, not just your friends and family. Unless they’re “in the business” what do they know about story requirements, structure, etc? There are many good free-lance editors out there. Reread and rewrite until you’re sick of it. (aka POLISH your work) Be a professional. Don’t give up.

 

JR: How can readers discover more about you and your works?

PR: Check out my website at:

www.pennyrichardswrites.com

facebook: Penny Richards, Author

facebook: Lilly Long

twitter: @PennyRwrites

 

 

Penny Richards