I hope you’ll enjoy this post-Valentine’s Day interview with Contemporary Romance author, Penny Zeller. Penny writes tender and heartfelt romance novels where characters learn of love, loyalty, and God’s abundant grace and forgiveness.
She’s offered a giveaway of one paperback or ebook of her latest release, Love Under Construction, to a US winner or an ebook if the winner is outside the US. Comment by February 22 for a chance to win.
Hi, Penny. Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
Hello, Deena! I am honored to be your guest today. A little bit about me: I surrendered my life to Christ when I was 16 at a church camp, and rededicated my life to Him when I was 27 and going through an extremely difficult and high-risk pregnancy.
I was blessed to grow up in a wonderful household with parents who loved my siblings and me and taught us the value of good character and hard work. My husband, Lon, and I have two daughters, whom we were fortunate to be able to homeschool. We are all outdoorsy and love to spend time camping in the nearby mountains, hiking, kayaking, and canoeing. My daughters and I also enjoy riding our bikes, running, and power walking on the trails and bike paths near our home. My writing and blogging are my ministry, and I also am a fitness instructor.
Sounds like you have an active lifestyle. That’s great! Let’s switch gears and talk about your author world. What does your writing space look like?
At the moment? Two words: organized chaos. It’s been a whirlwind year so far with multiple deadlines, so it’s nearing time to go through and give my desk (if I can find it!) a thorough organizing, as I am truly most productive in an organized environment. Years ago, my husband revamped one of the rooms in our home into an office for me, which includes all of the usual office supplies, family pictures, and books, but also an electric fireplace, an exercise bike and an elliptical. It is definitely one of my favorite rooms in the house.
The electric fireplace sounds cozy, especially as cold as it’s been this year. I’d love to know how you incorporate Christ and hope into your writing.
Because my faith is such an integral part of who I am, I infuse it into every book, blog post, or article I write. How overt it is varies, but I could not write without incorporating God into my writing. Some of my themes are redemption, forgiveness, relying on God (as is the case in Love Under Construction), hope, mercy, and grace.
I love that! Are any of your stories inspired by true events or personal history?
I do have tidbits in Love Under Construction based on real events. For instance, when Max flings the chicken nugget across the restaurant. That was actually inspired by a true story that took place in a nice restaurant years ago. My husband and I were eating with our oldest daughter, a toddler. Even back then, she was destined to be athletic, as she took her crayon and flung it across the room. It landed in another customer’s coffee. I can still see my daughter’s face with her bright eyes, wide smile, and contagious giggle. As for my husband and I? We truly wanted to escape the restaurant as quickly as possible!
Hilarious. I can picture it vividly. What is one of your favorite quotes from Love Under Construction?
Wow, I really can’t narrow it down to just one. I actually have three favorite quotes from the book; one from Gram (main character Quinton’s grandma) and two from Cynthia (main character Irelynn’s mom).
“He is faithful. Always faithful.” ~ Cynthia
“I’m not saying you’ll find someone perfect, because you won’t. But you will find someone perfect for you.” ~ Gram
“Sounds serious. I’ll put the coffee on.” ~ Cynthia
Priceless quotes. What do you hope your readers take away from Love Under Construction?
The main theme in my book is relying on God in all circumstances. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that the One who created the entire world has everything under control: large worries, small worries, and all worries in between.
A timely lesson for us all with everything going on in the world. What advice would you give an aspiring author?
I would tell them to persevere. I know that sounds cliché, but it is so critical, especially in those moments when the obstacles mount and it seems like our writing is going nowhere beyond our own computer file. If God has called you to write, He has a purpose for that writing. We may never be best-selling authors, but our writing can still make a difference to those who read it. Joining writing clubs and groups both online and in person can be helpful a well.
God calls us all to do different things for His Kingdom. If He has called you to write, seek His guidance. Never give up, even when you feel like it or when someone has unkindly criticized you. Seek to please and honor Him in whatever you write, whether it be for the secular or non-secular market; whether it be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, song lyrics, or a screenplay. Find a mentor and be open to ideas and suggestions from one who’s “been there, done that”. One final note: join forces with other Christian writers. After all, we all work for the same Boss.
I add a hearty “amen” to your advice. There’s so much more to being an author than writing books. Do you enjoy the marketing and social media aspects? Which platform are you most active on?
I do enjoy social media and am most active on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
What’s next from you?
My Christian historical romance Love in Disguise is set for release later this month, as is a fun prequel to Love Under Construction titled Henry and Evaline. This book, which can be a standalone or read in conjunction with Love Under Construction, takes readers back to the days when Gram, main character Quinton Gregory’s grandma, fell in love with Quinton’s grandpa, Henry, in 1960.
Thank you so much for having me as your guest, Deena. It has been a pleasure to be here!
Thanks so much, Penny! It’s been fun learning about you and your writing. God bless you as you continue writing stories for His glory.
Join the conversation. Can you relate to Penny’s story about her toddler throwing a crayon across the restaurant? I’d love to hear your experience. Do you ever struggle with remembering that God cares about even your smallest worries? What comments or questions do you have for Penny?
Be sure to comment by February 22 for a chance to win a copy of Penny’s book! (Keep scrolling to find the comments section)
Love Under Construction by Penny Zeller
Click the book cover for purchase link
She builds websites. He builds houses. Together, can they build a family for two orphans?
Irelynn agreed two years ago to help raise her best friend’s twins should anything happen. When she is called upon to fulfill that agreement, there is only one problem—Irelynn must share the responsibility with the arrogant but handsome Quinton Gregory.
Quinton takes the role of raising his niece and nephew with all seriousness. He will do anything for the twins, even if it means putting up with the beautiful but stubborn Irelynn Brady.
When forced to be in each other’s presence far more often than is comfortable, things slowly begin to change. Will the unexpected attraction between Irelynn and Quinton become a love under construction?
Penny Zeller is known for her heartfelt stories of faith and her passion to impact lives for Christ through fiction. While she has had a love for writing since childhood, she began her adult writing career penning articles for national and regional publications on a wide variety of topics. Today Penny is a multi-published author of several inspirational books. She is also a homeschool mom and a fitness instructor.
When Penny is not dreaming up new characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, camping, hiking, canoeing, reading, running, cycling, gardening, and playing volleyball.
She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and loves to hear from her readers at her website and her blog, random thoughts from a day in the life of a wife, mom, and author.
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If you missed last week’s author spotlight with Alyssa Schwarz, find it here.