I’m thrilled to host debut author Penny Frost McGinnis. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know more about her and her Contemporary Romance novel, Home Where She Belongs. Penny has offered a copy as a giveaway so be sure to comment on this post by May 10 for a chance to win!
Welcome to the blog, Penny! Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
My husband and I live in southwest Ohio with our two dogs. We have five amazing adult children, four wonderful in-laws and eleven beautiful grands. We stay busy following the grandkids’ activities. Along with being a writer, I enjoy embroidery, wool felting, flower gardening, and of course I love to read. I also enjoy exploring God’s creation, and visiting lighthouses. I retired a few years ago from working in libraries.
You lead a busy, full life. That’s great! As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was young, I wanted to be a veterinarian. That is until one day I was watching our vet work on our horses and I found out how messy the job could be. Let’s just say the vet’s head was near the horse’s tail, and well… you can imagine what happened.
That’s hilarious. Tell us what genre you write and what inspired you to write that particular genre.
I am currently writing romance. I like to add some mystery and will always include an element of hope. I chose romance because I enjoy happy endings, and I want the books I write to uplift and encourage the reader.
Speaking of including hope, how do you incorporate hope and Christ into your writing?
Hope is a huge part of my writing. I have a blog, Hope for Today’s Heart, where I post devotions. I believe writing the devotions prepared me to write fiction and infuse the hope we have in Jesus in my books. In Home Where She Belongs, Sadie is afraid to trust, but through friendships and memories of her grandparents, the hope they have in Jesus encourages her.
I love reading about generational impact in families, especially grandparents, since I hope to influence my grandchildren for Christ. Do you have any pets? Do they find their way into any of your stories?
We have two dogs. Olive is a corgi/dachshund mix and Rosie May is a Golden Retriever. Our first retriever, Tater, passed away a few years ago.
When I wrote Home Where She Belongs, I wanted Sadie to have a dog, so I modeled Rosie in the book after Tater, never thinking I’d have my own Rosie. I met our Golden, Rosie May, in November 2021 at Thanksgiving, when she was a few weeks old. She looked just like the puppy my publisher put on the cover. And by the way, Rosie is named after my great aunt who I adored.
Such a sweet puppy story. Who was your favorite book character as a child and why?
I loved Jo March. She was courageous and plucky while I was anxious and shy. I think she influenced my desire to write.
Great choice! What is the setting of your current novel? If it’s a real location, have you visited? Tell us about it.
My husband and I enjoy visiting Kelleys Island, Ohio. It’s a lovely place to relax with all the parks, hiking, and water. On one of the visits, I told Tim I wanted to set Sadie’s story there. I did change the name to Abbott Island and have used some of Kelleys Island’s features, but have fictionalized much of it also. Fun footnote, Kelleys has no apostrophe.
I enjoy any outdoor setting that includes water. What do you hope your readers take away from Home Where She Belongs?
I am praying readers who relate to Sadie’s situation find courage and hope. Sadie has trust issues, so I’m hoping her story will encourage readers to trust in God. As for Joel, I hope his struggle opens the door to readers as they see God’s forgiveness at work.
We can all use more courage and hope. Which character in Home Where She Belongs was easiest for you to write and why?
I enjoyed writing Sadie’s character. As I wrote her story, it was almost like she was telling it herself. As I write, I like to listen to my characters as they tell the story to me. Sometimes they reveal something I didn’t expect.
Which character presented the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was Bryce. He’s just such a terrible person I wanted to put a big X over his character. But he is necessary to the story.
Even in the fictional world we have to deal with people who oppose us or rub us like sandpaper, right? Who is your favorite fiction author? Favorite novel?
I have several authors I enjoy reading, but my favorite novel is Christy by Catherine Marshall. I’ve probably read her book more than ten times. I first read it in high school and last read it a couple of years ago. Other favorite authors include, Deborah Raney, Denise Hunter, Irene Hannon, and Colleen Coble. I’m also looking forward to reading Crystal Caudill’s debut book, Counterfeit Love.
Wonderful authors! And I’m looking forward to reading Crystal’s book, too. What advice would you give an aspiring author?
Keep at it. If the dream of publication and the call to write rests on you, put in the time, the work, the tears, the laughter, embrace the love of the written word and be faithful.
The time-line between my desire to write fiction and actual publication has been twenty-five years. During that time, I wrote devotions and had some published. I also started a blog where I post devotions, book reviews, and encouraging thoughts. I penned ideas and I read, a lot.
So many great books have been written by amazing authors who want to help new writers. I joined the American Christian Fiction Writers and got to attend one conference where I connected with seasoned authors. I found smaller conferences to attend and connect. The encouragement spurred me along.
I invested money and time for many years because I knew God called me to be faithful to Him and write, and I eventually learned publication was up to Him. I pray you are surrounded by encouragement.
Solid advice! Kudos to you on your perseverance and following God’s plan for your writing. What’s next from you?
I’m currently working on book 2 in the Abbott Island series, featuring Marigold and Johnny in Home Away from Home.
Thanks so much for sharing with my readers, Penny. Congratulations again on your debut novel! May God continue to bless you as you write for Him.
Join the conversation. Do you love stories featuring cute puppies? What about those that highlight generational impact? Could you use more courage and hope? What questions and comments do you have for Penny?
Be sure to comment by May 10 for a chance to win Penny’s book! Keep scrolling to find the comments section.
Home Where She Belongs by Penny Frost McGinnis
Click the book cover for purchase link
Small-town romance with a dash of mystery and the promise of hope.
Tired of being a pawn for her father and an emotional punching bag for her ex-boyfriend, Sadie Stewart escapes to Abbott Island where she spent summers with her grandparents. Would the love and faith she learned from them be enough to fuel her new life? She wants to believe God’s promises, yet broken trust holds her back.
Joel Grayson left the island long enough to train at the Police Academy. The community trusts him, even though he’s failed. When he finds Sadie at her grandparents’ cottages, his heart skips a beat. He’d love to get to know her again, but no one needs to share the hurt he harbors.
When Sadie discovers someone is sabotaging her future, she seeks Joel’s help. As they are drawn together, will Joel let down his guard and let her in? Will Sadie trust the man who loves her and the Father Who cares?
If Penny Frost McGinnis could live in a lighthouse or on an island, she would. Instead, she and her husband are content to live in southwest Ohio and visit Lake Erie every chance they get. Blessed with five children, their spouses, and a passel of grandchildren, she adores her family, indulges in dark chocolate, enjoys fiber arts, and grows flowers and herbs in her tiny garden.
Penny has been published in Chicken Soup and The Upper Room. She blogs at Hope for Today’s Heart and believes God has called her to bring hope to people’s lives through the written word.
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If you missed last week’s Zoom interview with K.D. Williams, find it here.