Joining us today is Penelope Marzec. She started reading romances at a young age even though her mother told her they would ruin her mind, which they did and she became hopelessly hooked on happy endings. This award-winning author is a member of the New Jersey Romance Writers, the Liberty States Writers Fiction Writers and EPIC.
Who, or what, is your inspiration to write?
I am inspired to write as I listen to peoples’ personal stories. I encourage everyone I meet to tell me their entire life histories. Of course, most of them have no idea that I am tucking every bit of information deep in my memory bank to pull out whenever the need arises. Visiting old houses also inspires me. There are so many stories attached to historical houses!
When did you start writing?
I started writing one summer at the age of nine. I wrote a paranormal romance. At the time I did not know what genre it was, but now I do. I suspect I was a rather unusual child.
When did you realize that you wanted to become an author?
When I wrote my first book—the paranormal romance, I knew I wanted to keep on writing because I enjoyed the process so much. Watching the pages pile up was a big thrill.
What is your advice for aspiring authors?
Aspiring authors should never give up. They should never quit. They should never listen to those who would discourage them. However, they should get a good day job and realize that making a lot of money isn’t going to happen—not right away. Everyone should write for the love of writing. They should write because they must write. They have to make sure the stories are recorded.
Do you do research for your books/stories? What kind of research do you do?
I’ve always had to do research, even for my contemporaries. I’ve never worked in law enforcement, but one of my heroines is a policewoman and one of my heroes is a state trooper—so I needed to research those occupations. For my historicals, I had to delve deeper to be sure I had a feel for the time period—the clothing styles, the mode of transportation, weapons, and most importantly the words people used during the era.
Do you outline before you start writing?
I write up a simple outline before I begin. I have most of the details in my head—so I already know where the story is headed, I know the climax, I know the characters involved, but I feel more secure having a road map—though there is always the possibility that the characters may lead me off in another direction, for the most part I stick to the original plan.
Do you plan ahead before you sit down to write, or do you let the story take you where it wants to go?
I usually edit whatever I wrote the day before and then proceed from where I left off, following my outline and fleshing out the story.
Do you write at a desk, or do you have a laptop that you drag around the house with you?
I usually write at my desk on my Mac. However, I sometimes wander around and type with my Alphasmart—free of Internet distraction.
Besides a pen/pencil/notepad/computer, what is a must-have while writing?
I’ve found the Alphasmart to be an absolute must for my writing. It’s lightweight, runs forever on batteries, and aside from preventing me from checking out my Facebook or Twitter, it also prevents me from any compulsive self-editing when I’m supposed to writing. The editing should come later.
How did it feel to sign your first publishing contract?
I went through twelve years of rejections before I signed my first contract. By that time, I felt as if I had climbed Mount Everest. But even after nine books, signing a contract is a very special moment.
What is your favorite genre to write? Your least favorite?
I have enjoyed writing inspirational romances, but I have equally enjoyed writing paranormal romances. Recently, I wrote a sweet chick-lit novel, which I found to be a great deal of fun. I doubt that I would ever write a sci-fi romance. Outer space is just too far away!
Is there a genre that you haven’t written yet, but you want to try?
I haven’t tried my hand at women’s fiction yet and I have a few stories circulating in my head that would be a perfect fit. Also, I really should do a series one of these days.
Tell me a bit about your books? What do you think makes them stand out from the rest?
My inspirational romances are edgier than some of the books in that genre. Three of them won the EPPIE award. Though some of my paranormals are dark and brooding, some of them are light and fun—actually a little wild and crazy, with a wonderful touch of magic. Irons in the Fire was a nominee for Best Small Press Paranormal in Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards.
There are many fascinating historical places in Charleston, South Carolina. Are there any within your books?
I visited Charleston once and enjoyed my visit very much. I bought a book of ghost stories as a souvenir. I love ghost stories!
Old houses and other historical places fascinate me. Philadelphia from the 1890s is one of the settings in The Fiend of White Buck Hall. Historical places are part of the inspiration for many of my stories. A visit to Batso in south Jersey started the initial idea for The Fiend of White Buck Hall; a visit to Grey Towers in Pennsylvania gave me the inspiration for The Beast of Blackbirch Manor.
And for fun, if you could be anyone for a day – real or fictional – who would you be?
I’d like to be the First Lady—just for a day so I could see the inside of the White House, not just the rooms that are open to the public. It is a very old house and I’m sure I’d get a story idea from the experience.
The link to Penelope Marzec’s website is: http://www.penelopemarzec.com