Today we have with us a good friend and colleague, Penny Ehrenkranz, author of A Past and A Future and more. I met Penny at the first Muse Online Conference way back when and today we both are editors for Muse It Up Publishing. It is my pleasure to have Penny here today.
Penny recently released a picture book, Boo’s Bad Day, through 4RV Publishing. She has three short romances, Love Delivery (contemporary), Lady in Waiting (historical), and Mirror, Mirror (time travel) available from MuseItUp Publishing. She also has a collection of short fantasy and science fiction stories, A Past and A Future available through Smashwords and Sam’s Dot Publishing.
So without further ado let’s welcome Penny.
PE: Gloria, thank you for hosting me today.
GO: You’re welcome, Penny. My pleasure. How do you inspire yourself?
PE: I find inspiration for my stories in many places. I get ideas while reading magazines or news articles. I might overhear a conversation or be told about an event, and it will become fodder for a new story.
My focus right now seems to be children’s stories, although I also write for adults. I have to admit my grandchildren’s love of stories is definitely an inspiration to me. When I start a new story, I wonder how they will relate to the story and if they would enjoy it.
GO: What is your proudest writer moment?
PE: The first time I received an email from a reader letting me know she found an error in a published work. Here I am an editor, and still errors slip through.
I’m always amazed at what the brain will see even though it’s incorrect. Reminds me of those messages written without vowels, yet they can be read.
GO: What business challenges have you faced as a writer?
PE: My biggest challenge is marketing my work. For many years, I focused primarily on short stories and articles. I found it easier to sell those and receive an immediate payment for my work. Now that my focus is on books, both print and eBook, I actually have to get out and encourage people to buy my books. It’s difficult to “toot one’s own horn.”
GO: What is your writer life philosophy?
PE: I try not to stress about writing. As a child I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to achieve this life goal.
If life gets in the way of my writing, that’s okay with me. When I do have time to write, I make the most of it. My family comes first. I’ve never felt I have to write every day to consider myself a writer, although it certainly helps if I can do that. I do know most experts tell you that if you are to be successful, you need to set aside some time every day to write. While that may work for a lot of people, it doesn’t always work for me. I don’t want to feel guilty if I can’t get to my WIP. There is enough stress in life without worrying about whether or not I’ve written a page.
GO: When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?
PE: I’m retired and enjoy spending time with my family, especially my grandchildren. I also enjoy crocheting, gardening, and cooking. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time reading!
GO: What advice can you give new writers?
PE: The best thing you can do is have faith in yourself. I found a long time ago, it often comes down to being in the right place, at the right time, with the right story. Of course, that being said, it’s important to understand the English language, grammar, and spelling rules, and the basics of good storytelling. Be sure to be professional and read submission guidelines.
GO: What are you currently working on?
PE: Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time promoting my children’s picture book released through 4RV Publishing, Boo’s Bad Day, rather than writing.
I am, however, working on a fantasy novella. I’d also like to do a sequel to my middle grade novels, Ghost for Rent and Ghost for Lunch, too, so that’s a back-burner project.
GO: What drives you to write?
PE: I’ve always been comfortable writing and would rather receive a letter than talk on the phone! I’ve written stories for my own entertainment since I was a child and had dreams of becoming an author since I was in my teens. I finally realized my dream when I had my first short story published. I love to read and get lost in a story. I think the ability to share a story with someone is just an incredible high. The first time I saw my byline, I jumped for joy.
GO: How do you deal with obstacles in your work or places where you feel stuck?
PE: I tend to write in a lot of different genres and for different age groups. I write both fiction and non-fiction. I’ve written stories for adults, teens, middle grades, and picture books. I believe that kind of diversity helps me from really getting stuck. If I find myself at a place where I can’t think of what to write, I switch gears. Eventually what was presenting itself as an obstacle will clear up. Taking a break and then coming back later works for me.
Well, Penny, it was great having you here today.
Till next time,