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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