Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Day Two of Happy Endings with Penelope Marzec

Penelope Marzec fell in love with happy endings at an early age. Two of her inspirational romances won EPIC’s eBook Award and another was a finalist in that contest. Her paranormal, Irons In The Fire, was a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award.  

She is a member of the RWA, the Liberty States Fiction Writers, and EPIC Authors. Mother of three daughters, and a retired teacher, she is married to an electrical engineer turned accordionist.

Welcome back today, Penelope! What do you consider the best resources for historical research?

The library is a wonderful place to start and so are historical sites and museums. Still, I’ve found books which are true treasures in yard sales, flea markets, and used book sales. Elderly people are fonts of knowledge and quite willing to share their stories of the past. The internet is great for fast facts, though I do cross check things there just to be sure.

What or who inspired you to write inspirational fiction?

First, I read a number of Grace Livingston Hill novels, which I found in the library. They were wonderful! But around the time I started to get serious about writing, suspense novels were popular. So I wrote Irons in the Fire.

An agent, Ruth Wreschner, took me on as a client after she read my manuscript. However, she had no success getting editors interested in it. At that time, few publishers were interested in paranormal romances. After a while, Ms. Wreschner suggested an inspirational romance and I wrote Sea Of Hope. However, she died suddenly of pneumonia and I could not get another agent interested my book. At the same time, ebooks came on the market and one of my writing friends landed a contract with Awe-Struck Publishing. I checked their website and discovered they were acquiring inspirationals. Since I had one ready, I sent it in. One month later, I had a contract for the book, which went on to win the EPPIE Award.  

What keeps you plodding ahead with your writing each day?

I keep plodding ahead because I know if I finish the book and edit it well, I simply have to find a home for it. I may get a lot of rejections along the way, but eventually, if I don’t give up, I will get the book published. I may not make much money, but I will be able to share my story with lots of readers—and that’s the important part.

What helps you maintain productivity as a writer?

One of the best boosts for my productivity is taking on a writing challenge. I’ve never joined in NaNoWriMo—because it’s in November. However, the NJ Romance Writers offers an alternative, JeRoWriMo—a February challenge. February is a perfect month for me to write. It’s cold, dreary, and snowy. I’ve found it much easier to push for a daily word count with a whole bunch of other writers cheering for me.

And what do you find most challenging about the business of being an author?

The most challenging aspect of being an author is promotion. Writing the book is the fun part. After that, as an author I pay for advertising, gather reviews, post blogs, and spend too much time on social media. There are book signings, newspaper articles, and library talks, too. It’s constant and it can take away time I need to write the next book.

Do you feel you are more of a character driven or plot driven writer?

I am a character driven writer. Once I find the right setting, the characters take over and write the book.

How do you think it comes across in your writing?

The emotions of the characters bring them to life on the page.

Would you like to share about what you are working on now?

I am working on the sequel to Patriot’s Heart, which will be titled Patriot’s Pride. It will be Margaret’s story, Agnes’s sister.

Do you have any last words of wisdom to share with aspiring authors? 

Keep writing. Don’t allow rejections to stop you. Never give up. 

Thank you, Penelope, for joining us at Novel PASTimes. It has been a privilege to interview you.

Please leave a comment by answering the question we are asking below for a chance to win her novel, Patriot's Heart. Don't forget to include your email address in the form of name[at]domain[dot]com before 8:30 a.m. EDT this Friday morning to qualify for the drawing. Penelope will send a paper back to a winner in the U.S. or Canada. International readers qualify to win an ebook. 

Do you prefer to read novels set during the Revolutionary War or the Civil War and why?


Laura Potter said...

I really would like a chance to read your books I'm very interested in christian fiction and I enjoy reading them that they are ban inspiration to me and they uplift my spirits.

Penelope Marzec said...

Laura Potter:

Thanks for stopping by. Nice to hear from you. :-)

traveler said...

The Revolutionary War interests me greatly since it involved the Colonies and was fascinating.

Penelope Marzec said...


I find the Revolutionary War era fascinating, too. Delving into the research was great fun!

Anonymous said...

I really do love books from both of these wars. I will choose Civil War tho for the fact that this was the one I think that I had a grandfather in my Ancestor line that fought in this war. I would love to win your new book. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

Penelope Marzec said...


Interesting that you had an ancestor fighting in the Civil War. None of my ancestors were in this country at that point. They came later. :-)