When did it dawn on you that you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t think I ever wasn’t a writer. As a kid, I used to weave stories even before I knew how to write. When I was two or three, I was in the car with my mom and her best friend. Evidently, I was babbling away, telling an intricate tale. Impressed, my mom’s friend turned and said, “Penny, are you listening to her?” My mom shrugged. “She talks all the time.” “But she’s telling a story!” “Well, she does that all the time too.” My mom, however, has always encouraged my imagination, and she has meticulously kept the paragraph-length tales that I scribbled down in early childhood.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid of rejection. Put yourself out there and try to get published earlier.
Since Wild on My Mind takes place within the Sagebrush Flats Zoo, what type of animal would you be? Why?
That’s a hard one, but I think I might like to be a sarcastic African grey parrot. They’re clever like honey badgers, but they can also boogie in time to music and talk. Just the other day, my husband was reading me anecdotes about the species that he found on the internet, and it seems like the birds have a wicked sense of humor.
How do you plan to celebrate the publication of your first book, Wild on My Mind?
I’m generally very low-key. I’ll probably go out to a nice dinner with my family.
What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?
Happy endings. Strong women. Swoon-worthy heroes.
What is your writing kryptonite?
My toddler handing me a book and looking at me expectantly.
Would You Rather...
Be able to control the weather or be able to control time? (Because I totally want to time travel.)
Never eat candy again or never drink soda again? (I’m a practical sort. Caffeine in colas help when I have a migraine, and ginger ale soothes upset stomachs.)
Go to the pool or go to the beach? (There are shells there and a sense of endless adventure. If you’re lucky, you may see a porpoise.)
Be invisible or be able to read minds? (The ability to read minds sounds both exhausting and heartrending.)
Take a one-week trip around the foreign country of your choice or a four-week trip around your own country? (I love traveling overseas, but there is something magical about a road trip in the United States.)
Be the clown that distracts the bulls or the cowboy who rides them? (It’s more dangerous to be the clown.)
Fill in the Blank...
My favorite book is: Lisa Kleypas's Dreaming of You.
My favorite cartoon character is: Dimitri from Anastasia.
My favorite sport is: badminton.
If I had to eat one food for the rest of my life, it would be: cheese.
I love to: dance.
If I could be a dinosaur, I would be a: Spinosaurus (The largest known meat-eating dinosaur. Because I don't fancy being eaten by another predator.)
The best superpower would be: self-healing/regeneration.
Coffee or tea
Black and white or color
Drawings or paintings
Winter or summer
Spring or fall
Comedy or mystery
Silver or gold
Dancing or singing
Smile or game face
Bracelet or necklace
Cats or dogs
Pancakes or waffles
Roller coaster or Ferris wheel
Beads or pearls
Hardwood or carpet