Name: Penny Richards
Book(s) Title: More than 40 titles. Recent: An Untimely Frost, Though This Be Madness, Murder Will Speak (April 2018, Available for pre-order on Amazon)
Series Title: Lilly Long Mysteries
Have you written any other books that are not published?
When I started out, I co-authored two books with the late Sandra Canfield. We sold two as Sandi Shane and two are gathering dust. I also have 2-3 partials for a contemporary mystery series I co-authored with the late Suzannah Davis that have never sold.
Pen or type writer or computer?
I use a pen and yellow legal pad when I’m developing characters, ideas, etc. When it’s time to get down to work I use the computer.
Music or silence?
Silence. I even have the sound turned off on my computer. I’m a tad ADD, so anything “shiny” can get me off track. If I played music, I’d be singing along.
What tactics do you have when writing? (For example: outline or just write)
I’m one of the few strange ones who loves writing a synopsis, and mine are usually long and detailed. I have studied screenwriting extensively and plot using the 3-act structure to make sure I have the insight and connections I need. When I wrote my award-winning mainstream I had two timelines. One for the main plot and one for the character’s personal journey and tied them together.
What have you put most of your effort into regarding writing?
Character development and researching, to make sure my historical information is factual.
If you were running the 100 yard dash with a new writer. What writing, publishing wisdom would you bestow upon him/her before you reached the 100 yards?
READ, READ, READ the genre you want to write and also every “how to” book you can get your hands on.
If you could spend time a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day? (PG-13 please :) ONE OF MY FAVORITE QUESTIONS TO ASK.
I think that would be Sir Pierce Wainwright, the well-educated, high-born Brit with a murky background, who raised Lilly after her mother was killed. (FYI, he just might be her father.) While walking in a restful cottage garden and sipping tea, I would ask him about his past in England and what happened to bring him to America and never return to his homeland. I would also ask him about Lilly’s mother, Kate, and why he loved her.
What has been the best compliment?
When people tell me they feel like they are in the scene and can smell, feel, etc. the world I’ve created.
Who is your favorite author?
I have several, and they are the ones who write books that really speak to me on some level or another, but the two historical authors who influenced my desire to write historical mystery are Margaret Lawrence and Ariana Franklin.
Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?
Lilly, the heroine of my historical Lilly Long Mysteries is a young Shakespearean actress who becomes a Pinkerton agent because of two incidents that have profoundly affected her. She wants to help other women who have been taken advantage of, and tackles age-old problems and crimes against women, who were held in low esteem in the minds of many men during that time. There are no new crimes, just new ways of perpetrating them. In fact, many like human trafficking, are still around in various guises today.
Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years?
I hope that I can grow my readership more and more and keep writing the Lilly Long books for a few more years. Basically, I’ve had to start over, reinvent myself. We’ll see what else comes my way. I’m open for new writing experiences.
Where can we find you online?
Any website or resources that have been helpful to you as a writer?
Though I own and have read dozens of how to books, my favorite remains, Tecniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain.
What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?
I started out writing contemporary romance, but currently I write historical mystery. In the past I’ve written historical romance, inspirational contemporary and historical romance, one mainstream novel, a screenplay with Christian suspense author, Terri Blackstock, a stage play, lots of poems, and a short story. I just like seeing if I can “master” a new genre. So, I guess the answer is “yes.”
Who is the most famous person you have ever met?
In 1991, I had the privilege of working on a fiction book with scientist, Dr. Simon Ramo. He is the “R” in TRW and was one of the scientists who created the intercontinental ballistic missile. He had the book idea, but didn’t know how to execute it, so our agent at the time put us together. Dr. Ramo flew me to L.A. for four days and I got to stay at the Four Seasons while we worked on plotting the book. At that time, he was talking to President Bush about the Gulf War daily, and if I had a problem with the book, I could call his office and get right through. (Boy, did I feel important!) Meeting him was my brush with true fame.
Genre(s): contemporary/historical romance, inspirational, mainstream, historical mystery
Amazon Author Page Link: https://www.amazon.com/Penny-Richards
Twitter Handle: @pennyRwrites
Facebook Page Link: https://www.facebook.com/Penny-Richards-Author