Edit 7:00 p.m.: I forgot to mention that Penny’s giving away a free story not included in the anthology to one lucky commenter. Please leave a note when you’re done reading.
I’ve known Penny Ehrenkranz for quite a few years now. She writes in a variety of genres, but I think my favorite are her ghost stories. Today I’m featuring Penny’s new short story anthology called A Past and a Future.
Here’s Penny’s official bio:
Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz has published more than 100 articles, 75 stories, two e books, a chapbook, and her stories have been included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and children. Her fiction has appeared in numerous genre and children’s publications and non fiction work has appeared in a variety of writing, parenting, and young adult print magazines and on line publications. She edits for three small independent publishers.
And now for the interview:
Kelly, thank you for hosting me today and giving me the opportunity to talk about my book.
Who is Penny?
I am a writer. 🙂 I am also a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. During my life, I’ve ridden motorcycles, taught yoga and meditation, traveled across county in a VW van, toured parts of Europe, Canada, and Asia, visited most of the United States, and lived in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, California, and Oregon. I’ve worked most of my life in office positions, first for big business and lastly for county government. In my “spare” time, I enjoy gardening, crocheting, walking, and spending time with family, friends, and pets.
Tell us your latest news?
My collection of short stories, A Past and a Future has been released by Sam’s Dot Publishing. I’m excited about this collection of fantasy and soft science fiction stories. Each one is different with unique plots, characters, and obstacles to be overcome.
A Past and a Future, is my collection of short stories, half of which are fantasy and half soft science fiction.
Ghost for Rent (electronic version), is a middle grade paranormal mystery. (Available in paperback at Amazon.)
Dragon Sight, is a young adult illustrated chapbook.
KAH: To read more about the books Penny has available — including two more releases later this year –check out her Web sites listed at the end of this interview.
When and why did you begin writing?
My dad used to tell me bedtime stories he made up for me when I was a child. Although the memory is vague now, I do remember thinking being able to create stories was so wonderful. I’m sure that was the impetus behind my own story crafting as a kid. I would write my stories, illustrate them, then bind them between shirt cardboard, and tie them together with a ribbon. I still have some of those stories which my mother saved.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I’ve always enjoyed reading, and it seemed a natural extension to write my own stories, which I did as a child and continued to do as an adult. When I first tried to write professionally, I didn’t know what I was doing and promptly got rejected. The wonderful support systems in place now through the Internet weren’t available to young writers way back in the stone age. It took me until my mid 40’s to try again. Once I did, I quickly became a published writer concentrating primarily on short stories, and non-fiction articles both for adults and children.
What inspired you to write your first book, Ghost for Rent?
My daughter actually was the inspiration for this. I’d been writing short stories and articles for a number of years, but she didn’t think I was a writer because I didn’t have a “book.” Her friends and my other family members acknowledged my accomplishments and congratulated me on my successes. To feel like a success, I felt I needed to write a book my daughter could hold. Thus, Ghost for Rent was born.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? (Has anyone ever realized it?)
I would say most writers include bits and pieces of people they know and events from their own lives in their writing. I am no exception. I have never created a character that totally resembled another person or myself. Although some of my animal characters popping up from time to time are animals who have been a part of our family. No one has ever said to me, “hey, were you writing about me?” I don’t think I would want to do that, although a few of my friends over the years have been such amazing characters I’ve certainly thought about it!
What are your current projects?
Right now, I’m trying to regain my rights to my first middle grad novel, Ghost for Rent. I’ve completed the sequel, Ghost for Lunch and have contracted to have it published with 4RV Publishing. I would like the series to remain with one house and 4RV has indicated an interest in having the first book. I am also working on a fantasy novella, “Weaving of Powers,” and a YA short story, “A Bit of Fairy Dust.” A lot of my time is spent editing other people’s work as I am a copy editor at MuseItUp Publishing and Damnation Press, LLC. I am also an acquisitions editor at 4RV Publishing.
Do you ever have problems with writers block? If so how do you get through it?
Writer’s block isn’t an issue for me as I’m not the type of writer who feels compelled to sit and write every day. I have found the system which works best for me is to write when I get inspired. That can be something I’ve read or something someone has told me or just an idea which pops into my head. I also don’t limit myself to one type of writing. My short stories for adults tend to be fantasy and science fiction, but I also write sweet romance and have two stories coming from MuseItUP Publishing at the end of this year. I also write non-fiction with an emphasis on parenting tips, teen self-help, and writing tips. In addition, I write for young adults and children. I have four books coming from 4RV in the next few years, a middle grade novel, Ghost for Lunch, and three picture books.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
The advice I give all new writers is to read in the genre in which you want to write, whether it is fiction or non-fiction. You need to see what’s out there and how the successful authors craft their stories. I also encourage writers to attend writing conferences. With the Internet, there are a host of free online conferences, so there is no excuse not to network with other writers. I also strongly urge writers not to give up, like I did when I first started. Since then, I’ve found it’s often a case of being in the right place, at the right time, with the right story.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I write my stories because I enjoy escaping from the reality of everyday life. When readers are engrossed in my stories, I hope they have a chance to escape as well. Many of my jobs have been working in situations which are distressing to say the least. I’ve worked for our local women’s shelter, a human dignity group, the juvenile justice system, and the district attorney. In these jobs, real life intrudes. By writing fantasy and soft science fiction, I can take myself and my reader to new places and new adventures far removed from reality. I have no lessons to teach, no ulterior motives, I only hope each reader can escape from their own life for the short time he or she has traveled with me to a new land or time.
How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.
To learn more about Penny, see other interviews and excerpts of her work at other stops along her blog tour, see Penny’s blog. Her entire tour is listed at the bottom of this post here.