Hey, guys! I had so much fun celebrating Nicole Trilivas and her awesome Girls Who Travel a few weeks back that I’ve decided to do it all over again!
Please welcome Penelope Douglas!
Penelope is a New York Times best-selling author and has written ten must-read novels, including the seriously addictive Punk 57. This novel gave me a raging book hangover—for days—and I developed quite the crush on bad boy Misha. I loved it so much, I was dying to have a chat with Penelope to ask her all about it.
Penelope’s been busy with her current WIP, but graciously took time out to answer questions and offer a signed copy of Punk 57 for a giveaway. Read on and learn more about Penelope and her books!
JM: Penelope, can you sum up Punk 57 in one sentence?
PD: A young woman doesn’t know that the new guy at school is the pen pal she’s been writing for seven years.
JM: Even in that one sentence, you can tell Punk 57 will grab hold of you and not let go! What inspired you to write Misha and Ryen’s story in Punk 57?
PD: I always try to reach into my own experiences, and I had a pen pal myself in 5th grade. Of course, we lost touch, but I thought it was a great hook with a little mystery. And I wanted to write about bullying again like I did in BULLY, but I wanted it from the bully’s perspective. What declines in their mentality to make them hurt others?
JM: You’ve mentioned that you were a shy kid who played it safe and worried what others thought. How do you think this ‘outsider/unpopular’ perspective served you in writing Punk 57?
PD: Well, I was Ryen. I was like her in grade school, and I flirted the line with “joining the crowd” and doing that I thought I had to to fit in. Delilah was also a real person. It allowed me to dive into the emotions and relive that sadness of feeling alone and left out or like all eyes are on you and no one wants you. That insecurity is real and it’s always there. You just learn to not care as much as you age.
JM: Is there a message you would like readers to take from Punk 57?
PD: Basically what I said in my author’s note [on my website]. It gets better. I swear it will. The world is a big place, and the chances that you’ll find your soulmates (friends and lovers) in the town where you grew up is slim. Give yourself a break and be patient. There is no other “you”.
JM: I love a book playlist and so do you! How does music influence your writing? With Punk 57, was there a particular song on its playlist (which is included at the front of the novel—love it!) that sums up Misha and Ryen’s story for you?
PD: Music is huge for me. I need to capture the “tone” I want for a book and songs help inspire me, my dialogue, and certain scenes. I really love “True Friends” and “Stupid Girl”.
JM: Your website is a treasure trove of extra goodies for your fans: bonus scenes, playlists, galleries. As a reading fan yourself, what do you like to see from your favourite authors?
PD: I would love to see more Pinterest boards, and I love to see graphics/teasers. They get me excited.
JM: Let’s talk about writing. When you’re creating your stories, do you start with a character first, a setting, or a situation?
PD: All of them, I think. Lol. I may devise a certain character I want to write, but I’l already have ideas about settings to include. My Devil’s Night series, especially is all about exploring interesting locations. For the most part, though, I think in terms of scenes I want to write, and I shape a story around it. I love thinking of conversations, love scenes, and fights and how that all should fit together.
JM: Punk 57 has an amazing twist at the end of the book! When you start a new novel, do you already have twists in mind, or do they come to you along the way?
PD: Usually, I have them in mind. Punk 57 was fun, because I really thought most people wouldn’t figure it out. Some did, but I loved exploring misdirection and hopefully I get better at it.
JM: Why did you decide to focus on romance as your genre?
PD: It’s where my interest lies! I love LOVE. Passion is exciting, although I am finding I love suspense, mystery, and thriller aspects, as well. I’m adding those into my stories more now, too.
JM: As the author of ten much-loved books, do you have any advice to aspiring writers hoping to have their work appear in print?
PD: I have lots of advice, but I can whittle it down 1. Write what you love, and don’t chase the market. Be original and show who you are. 2. Don’t sacrifice your peace of mind. Take more time with a book if you need to no matter if it makes readers angry, and don’t go for covers you don’t like simply to fit in. You’re not a copy. You’re a brand. Stand on your own. 3. Learn to log off the Internet. Learn how to mute conversations, and learn where you should and shouldn’t go on Goodreads. You need to stay in a good place in your head to do your job. Don’t let Anna Sue in some town you’ve never heard of in Iowa ruin your day, because she didn’t like your book and called you names to her friends. This all takes experience and time. Be patient with yourself.
JM: There’s advice we all can use. What are you working on now?
PD: It’s a secret I can’t tell yet.
JM: I can’t blame you for keeping it secret, but…the wait to find out is going to kill me. What are your favourite genres to read? Any fave reads you would like to share?
PD: My favorite genres are YA Paranormal, New Adult, and Thrillers. I love Jennifer Armentrout, J.R. Ward, Susan Ee, Kelly Creagh, Tijan, Chelsea Cain, and of course, my mentor (even though she doesn’t know it) Johanna Lindsey.
Penelope, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about Punk 57 and your writing process.
If you would like to purchase Punk 57—and I HIGHLY recommend that you do!—you can buy it from all major retailers including Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, and Indigo. Penelope is also a must-follow on social media. Check her out on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, and visit her website where she has tons of extras for you to explore.
**THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED**
**THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED—The winner, Nadine in Switzerland, has been notified. Thanks to everyone who entered** You can also try to win a signed paperback of Punk 57 right now! Penelope has generously offered to open this giveaway to INTERNATIONAL book lovers…so everyone can enter—here’s how:
Leave a comment below answering this question: If you could have anyone for a pen pal, who would you choose and why? Please note: comments on my website have to be approved manually, so if you don’t see your answer showing up in the comments right away, don’t panic! It’s just awaiting moderation and once that’s done, it will appear.
For an extra entry, head over to my Instagram @JaxMiddleton_Author, and do the following:
Like the giveaway photo (the Punk 57 shot you see above),
Follow me (@JaxMiddleton_Author), and @Penelope.Douglas,
Tag up to three friends who might be interested in this wonderful giveaway!
Entries will be accepted here until Wednesday, August 9/17 at 5pm ET. This giveaway is not associated or sponsored by Instagram. GOOD LUCK!
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Looking forward to this ❤
Thanks for this amazing chance! I love Penelope’a books ❤️ If I could have someone for a pen pal I would choose my favorite artist, so I can talk with her and ask her for advices. Or, well, even also say “hello” would be amazing ?
Thank you for your comment, Erika. 🙂 Great choice!
Jane Austen, she’s my favourite author, I’d like to ask her questions about her work and life
Thanks for entering, Anisah! Jane Austen—great choice!
I will choose Dodo as my pen pal. This is because,I want to know him better & improve my communication skill with him..Hopes we can be a Best friend!!??…Likes what have been written on the novel, “We were perfect together. Until we met”.
Thanks so much for entering, Annissa!
I truly loved Punk 57 and I’m so excited about Kai’ s story from Devil’s Night!! Thank you for the fun and interesting interview! ?
Thanks for entering, Sophie! Isn’t it the best feeling to be excited about an upcoming book? Penelope won’t disappoint!
Omg! Looking forward to it ?
Colleen Hoover is my favorite author, and I would like to talk to her about her incredible work she has done. I love all her books
Hi Rosie! Thanks so much for entering! I agree, Colleen would be an amazing pen pal.
Hey! Thanks for this chance. So, I would choose any of the Brönte sisters because I would like to learn their writing skills so much since I want to be a successful novelist. Every book of them is marvelous.
Hi Silvana! Thanks so much for entering. Great pick for pen pals, BTW!
Thank you so much for the chance love! I am @cristiinareads on IG and I tagged three friends just as instructed! ??
Thank you so much for the chance love! I am @cristiinareads on IG and I tagged three friends just as instructed! ?? And to answer your question, I would 100 percent chose Ben from “Where I Belong” by J. Daniels, and the reason being is because he has a lot of passion in him and has gone through life experiences that are worth sharing, especially with a pen pal!
Hi Cristina! Thanks so much for stopping by and entering! I love the idea of choosing a fictional character as a pen pal.
Thanks for this wonderful interview! I’ve got ‘Punk 57’ on my kindle for a while now, but after reading this it just got pushed up my reading list. I loved every book I’ve read of Penelope so far!
If I could wish for any pen pal, I’d wish for my granny. She died recently with 90 years and even after having her in my life for 37 years, I still think I could learn a lot from her wisdom and faith. I really miss her very much!
Thanks for this chance ❤️
Hi Nadine. What a lovely choice for a pen pal. <3 Thank you so much for entering.
I would want to have Ellen Degeneres as my pen pal. I think she’d make an excellent person to write back and forth with. It would be fun and interesting to explore the differences in our lives and draw parallels with the commonalities. Her “vibe” has always struck me, and I believe she’d be a true inspiration.
Hi Nicole! Thank you so much for entering. No doubt, Ellen’s letters would always cheer you up!
There are so many people I would love to have as pen pals haha. But I have to xhoose one so I am going to go for Stephen King today he is such a great and diverse author. If I could pick anyone living or dead? Marilyn Monroe, I think she would be a really interesting person way ahead of her time!
Hi Laura. Great choices! Thank you so much for entering.
Colleen Hoover. Not only is she a phenomenal writer, but she’s freaking hilarious. I’d read her grocery list.
Hi Zoe! Thank you so much for entering! Colleen would be brilliant!
Love this book, and all of Pen’s books! I would love to have Tarryn Fisher as a pen pal. Thank you so much for the chance. I will tag on IG!! ❤️
Hey Katie! Thanks so much for entering and the Insta heads up!
I’d love to be Nora Roberts’ pen pal.
She was the first romance author I’ve read and to this day, I’m a fan of hers
Hi Paloma! Thanks so much for entering. Excellent choice!
Loved this interview! I just finished listening to the audio of it as a way to reread it and fell in love all over again!
As for my pen pal if probably choose Adele. Her music has always resonated strongly with me and I think she’s a pretty great person. She seems like she would be an awesome friend!
Hi Pam! I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview. Thanks so much for entering. Adele would make a great pen pal.
I thought about that. Several times. It would be nice to be able to talk to someone from another country. Being able to exchange some of my culture with him / her and learn about their culture. Exchange confidences.
It would be very good.
* If you want.. I’m here. ?
Hi Hursula! Thanks so much for entering! Someone should really start a pen pal swap for book lovers around the world. A great idea!
Great interview I love Penelope Douglas and all her books so thank you for the awesome giveaway. I would love to be pen pals with J.K. Rowling and thank her for giving us Harry Potter.
Hi Caitlin! Thank you so much for entering. Wow…another excellent choice! You guys are too good!
Thank you so much for this generous chance and amazing opportunity to learn about the authors. I loved the whole Q & A with Penelope Douglas❤❤
To ans your qstn- well no doubt I’ll take Vicious from L J Shen’s book as my pen pal writer.. his thoughts and thinking and everything appeals me and he’s hands down the first I want as my pen pal..
P.s. I entered on IG too and my IG handle is -@_bookish_affair_
Hi Afsha! Thank you so much for entering. I’m really pleased you enjoyed Penelope’s Q&A.
I’d really like to be pen pals with my favorite authors. I’m an aspiring writer, and it would mean so much if I could write to them (and have them write back) about my struggles and joys. 🙂
Hi Zairah! Thank you so much for entering. I agree…sharing writing struggles and joys would be wonderful!
Hey!! Thanks for this amazing chance. I would love it to read this book because there isn’t this one in my country.
If I had to choose a pen pal or a pen friend as they said in the UK, I would pick Colleen Hoover because I have so many questions for her.
Hi Minniebooks! Thank you for entering. That Colleen Hoover sure is popular—I love her, too, so I can totally see why everyone want her for a pen pal. 🙂
If I could have anyone as my pen pal, I would pick J.R. Ward to thank her for Vishous… true? This Q&A was fun, loved it! Thank you so much for the opportunity! Will also tag on IG.
Hey Grey! Thanks so much for entering! Great choice!
As a penpal, I would pick Trent Reznor. I actually wrote him a letter over 20 years ago, but it wasn’t one I could ever send him. It would have been too embarrassing. I think I said I wanted to have sex with him. Nevermind that I was maybe 13 at the time.
Hey Becca! Thanks so much for entering and your comment. Aw, to be 13! 😉
When I first got the Internet, I was on an Alanis Morisette buliton board, (it was 1995 obviously!). I made a friend, Matt. (At least I think it was a boy called Matt!) I’d love to get back to being pen pals! Though I thought no our awkward conversations would be different now!
Hey Nicky! Thanks so much for entering! Loved your story!
This is amazing
If I could choose a pen pal I would choose someone from a different country so I can learn they’re beliefs and traditions and lean and discover new things from a person living a different experience
Thnx for this chance ❤
My Instagram is @brisacampos73
Hi Brisa! Thanks so much for entering (and the heads up about your Insta name—much appreciated!)
This is so wonderful! Penelope Douglas is my favourite author and she’s the one I’d love to be pen pals with <3
Hi Irma! Thanks so much for your entry. Yeah, Penelope is amazing!
I would love to have Will from Corrupt as my own pal. He seems funny and moody. You never know what you’re gonna get with him. Thanks for the chance 🙂
Hi Julie! Thanks so much for your entry! I’d love to be pen pals with my favourite fictional characters, too.
Tarryn Fisher, because she is just such a cool and intriguing person. Thank you for the giveaway.
My Instagram username: @gemiinii90
Hi Betul. Thank you so much for your entry! Much appreciated!
I would choose Rose Calloway from Kiss the Sky by KB Ritchie. She’s badass, feminist, super inspiring, and would have lots of advice.
Hi Beatrix. Thanks so much for entering! I’d love a badass pen pal.
Thanks for your interview ! But… WHAT’s that end twist you’re speaking about ?! *stressed out*
“If you could have anyone for a pen pal, who would you choose and why ?”
==> It would be an enigmatic stranger guy (it’s not fun if I currently know him) who shares some of my interests (but not all of them). “Stranger” so that I can take my time learning about him and tell him whatever I want without being too much afraid of the conséquences. “Guy” so that I can ask him ridiculous questions about guys in general (decoding a guy’s reaction for example =p).
Thanks for this opportunity !
Hi H! Thanks so much for entering! Great pick!
I would chose my dad, because I never got to really know him…well I did, but not as an adult woman. I miss him so much. Tomorrow would have been his 64th birthday. He’s been gone 10 years now.
Hi Laura. Thanks so much for your comment. I’m so sorry for your loss. I miss my parents too. It’s really tough, isn’t it? Sending you hugs.
If I could have a pen pal I would I would choose Someone I didn’t know. Someone who I can open up to without me being shy about looking at them knowing they know everything about me, and them being the same with me. It’s easier to open up to someone you barely know because you know their not going to judge you.
…. liked both twitter accounts too 🙂
Hi Kerry! Thanks for your comment—you are so right, too!
Thank you for this amazing chance! I read all Penelope’s books and it would be wonderful if I could have the signed paperback! I have only the ebook.
If I could choose a pen pal I would choose someone from Asia (Japan, Korea, China..). I like their culture and it would be nice to talk about our differences. 🙂
Hi Elisa! Thanks so much for entering! Great pick!
This is amazing , thank you so much for the chance!!
If I could choose a pen pal, I choose someone from another country like Ireland or Norway , to know more about our cultures, I would love share the love of the books with that person.
Now if I choose a pen pal (fictional character) I choose Ben from November 9 by Colleen Hoover, I love his poems and the form of writing, it would be amazing share letters with him.
Thank you so much for the giveaway!! I’m so excited, I love Penelope’s books.
Greetings from Mexico!!!
My Instagram is: pame.mae
Hi Pamela! Thanks for entering. Ben from November 9…must admit, I still have a crush on Ben! Great choice.
I would love to have a pen pal from a different country than me, someone to discuss books and culture with and really get to know in a different way, without all the facades of social media. Someone like Freddie 🙂
Hi Chrissi! Thanks so much for entering. Someone really needs to start a bookish pen pal group! And cheers for loving London Belongs to Me’s Freddie! 🙂
I think Ellen DeGeneres would be a great pen pal because she’s funny and kind and a really interesting person (can I have two? because I’d pick Conan O’Brien for the same reasons). Penelope’s book sounds great (I’ve read some of her Fall Away books), would love to win a signed copy!
I also completed the Instagram entry.
Hi Kristy! Thanks so much for entering! Great choice! Lotta love for Ellen! 🙂
Carrick from Revved by Samantha Towle. He has such a great sense of humor, I’d love experience it ?
Hey Lea! Thanks so much for your comment. LOVE a good sense of humour! Great choice!
If I could have any pen pal I would choose to be my own pen pal. Somehow through the power of magic, I’d write to my younger self. I wouldn’t want to stop myself from making every mistake I’d ever made because that wouldn’t teach me anything. We need to make mistakes sometimes to grow and learn. I would just talk about feelings and emotions. I’d try to get my younger self to think about why something hurt my feelings so badly or try to teach my younger self that it’s ok to not be perfect. I’d want to help myself understand certain situations. Mainly, I’d only focus on the parts of my childhood where I currently look back and say “man, I wish someone had told me about that.”
Hi Kaileigh! Thanks so much for entering & leaving your fantastic comment. 🙂
There’s no rule saying that the pen pal has to be real, so I’d choose Klaus from the Originals. I think I’d make a decent vampire. Plus Klaus is good looking, charming and funny.
Thanks for entering, Caitlin!
Jake Malone from Love the One You’re With by Lauren Layne.
He is so laid back,charming and has such a great sense of humor,it will be wonderful experience 🙂
Thank you for sharing this amazing Q&A with Penelope Douglas,enjoyed reading and Thank you for the amazing opportunity to win such a fantastic book gift 🙂
Thanks so much for entering, Bube! I’m so glad you enjoyed the Q&A.
Hi! So I would love have a pen pal who has different cultural values than mine. Because I’d love to know about a new culture from the person. And obviously I’d like to know the person too! And strangers I think,makes the best pen pal! 🙂
P.S.- Thank you for the chance!! ❤ I’d loveee to read Punk 57! 🙂
Hi Himanshi! Thank you so much for entering!
Thank you for the opportunity to win! I would want to pen pal, Harriet Tubman. I have been fascinated by her story since I was young. How someone with so little could do AMAZING things! Thanks again for the chance!!
Hi Shonda. Thank you for entering!
I’d probably pick J.K. Rowling, aka my original fave author.
Hi Ally! Thanks so much for entering.
I love Penelope Douglas! Great Q&A! If I could choose a pen pal it would be a high school kid….would love to offer guidance as an adult to a young person going through all chaos of high school. Thanks!
Hi Susan! So glad you enjoyed Penelope’s Q&A. Thanks so much for entering.
If I were to have a pen pal, I would choose Jennifer Armentrout. I’ve never met her but I LOVE the way she writes and her witty comments.
Hey Genesis! Thanks so much for entering!
I would love to have my mom in my age to be my pen pal. I think it would be very interesting to read about how they lived at a time, how she felt at my age and etc.
Hi Aleysa! Thanks so much for entering. Your pen pal pick is wonderful!
The pen pal I would choose would definitely be Chevy Stevens. She is my favorite author and I love how down to earth she is on facebook. Love her posts on motherhood and her daughter.
Hi Kathleen! Thanks so much for entering! Love how many people are choosing their fave authors. 🙂
Maybe an author? But which author, I think that’s a harder question! ?
Hi Taranjit! Thanks so much for entering!