Wittier Word Weavers

Writers' Club of Whittier

Interview with Nancy Pennick, Author

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Cover_Waiting for Dusk

Read a book.
Fall asleep.
Meet a boy.

Is it real or just a dream?

Katie’s everyday life suddenly turns exciting when she travels back in time and meets the boy of her dreams. Thinking of nothing else, willing to leave the real world behind, she’s determined to find out if it’s all a dream or not. Returning again and again, Katie almost has her answers until one day her precious book goes missing.

An Interview with Author Nancy Pennick

What process did you go through to get your book published?

It took about two years to get my book published. I gave up trying to get an agent and follow that route to a big publishing company. Instead I began to research what else was out there. I found out about small press and on-line publishers. Thank goodness for them! I sent my manuscript to four or five places and heard back from two with offers. That made my day.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I find writing descriptions of scenery, clothing and people’s appearance are the hardest. Searching for the right words without going into endless details is difficult. What I see in my mind and then try to put on paper isn’t the easiest thing for me to do. I want to give the reader enough information to picture the scene for themselves. It’s a balancing act.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

Writing the “dream” sequences were the most fun. While I was writing the first draft I knew Katie was time traveling and she didn’t. I loved writing about the year 1927. My favorite chapter is when Katie meets Andrew. That is the beginning of their love story through three books and three years of their lives.

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

The most useful thing I learned was how to edit my own text. I’m not an expert, but I am much better than when I first began. Quotes were difficult at first, like when to use a comma or a period. For example: “I am going to the store,” she said. Or “I am going to the store.” She waved and walked out the door. Also, repeating someone’s name or calling them a pet name over and over can get annoying to a reader. “Really, love, you don’t have to do that. Come with me instead, love.” No one talks like that in real life.

Least useful is trying to adopt someone else’s writing habits. I read blogs and articles for information and writing tips. One post told how every writer needs an outline before they start their book. I decided to make one for the book I was starting. I found I was searching my mind for ideas instead of letting the story flow as I usually do. Outlines were not for me.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I guess I don’t have a particular writing style. It starts all in my mind. I map out my main characters, their names and relationships first. That’s kept in a folder I call “Notes”. Most research is done on-line and I keep those things in a folder with the book’s title. I know my major plot points, how the story will end, but I plan out each section as I write. Sometimes things change for the better. A secondary character may take on a life of his/her own as in Waiting for Dusk. Erin was just a means to an end when I created her. Suddenly she was whispering in my ear that she wanted a bigger part. Tyson wanted to be darker, not the nice kid next door. That’s the fun of writing.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

From my previous answers, you can probably tell I just write!

How did you come up with the title/premise for your series?

Waiting for Dusk literally happened overnight. I’d just returned from a vacation at the Grand Canyon. I was watching a PBS series on National Parks that contained a lot of history. I thought it would be fun to have a girl move between the past and present. The story stuck in my head. The next day I began to write.

The title? Well, Katie has to wait for the sun to set for her book to “work” so I thought Waiting for Dusk was the perfect one.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

I use a lot of real-life facts in this series. All of the places Katie visits are real. If you’ve been to the Grand Canyon, you expect it to be accurate. Every author is entitled to artistic license where they can bend the facts or truth. It wouldn’t be fun to write, if you couldn’t!

Katie is a Harvey Girl at the El Tovar restaurant. I did research on Harvey Girls and found it interesting. Fred Harvey brought well-educated girls out west to be servers in his restaurants. They had to be eighteen so that’s where I used the license because Katie is only sixteen. El Tovar is a hotel at the Grand Canyon. You can stay and still eat there. In 1927 a person had to pay to use the Angel Bright path to the bottom of the canyon. Readers will learn a little history, but not too much that it overpowers the story.

Some of the things that happen to Katie are based on personal experiences. Some are embellished to make them darker or more interesting. One of the characters, Carl Sr., is based on my grandfather who I never met. The Swedish influences in the book are from my childhood. I grew up with a Swedish grandmother and mother.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I added to my knowledge of how important family is. I tried to stress in the book that a bored teenage girl grew from an experience which involved family members and close friends. She learned lessons of loyalty and friendship.

In my real life, I didn’t realize how supportive my family could be. They have been there through the ups and downs of this experience. It’s been a wonderful ride.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Write every day. Don’t give up. Ask someone you trust to read your first draft. Tell them not to go easy, tell the truth. Learn how to edit. Take criticism in a positive way. Love what you do.

An Excerpt from Waiting for Dusk

“Drew!” Katie felt butterflies in her stomach.

He held out his hand. “Come on. I won’t let you fall.”

She slowly stepped onto the rock, and inched towards him. Her heart pounded but she felt safe. He put both arms around her, holding her tight as they both faced the canyon.

“There is nothing like it, is there?” He whispered softly in her ear.

Katie could have stayed like that for the rest of the day, but knew she had to get back to work. The magic had to end. “I have to go.”

“Yes, I know.”

They stepped back a few feet until they were on what Katie thought was more solid ground. She knew the rock was just an extension of the land but it felt as if she was miles from El Tovar. She turned to run back to the hotel, then stopped.

“Drew, I…” She looked into his eyes, his sparkling emerald eyes. Her heart flipped. “I hope to see you later.”

“You will. You definitely will. Tomorrow is Saturday.”

Katie ran up to the brush next to the hotel, grabbed the pails and headed to the back of El Tovar. Saturday couldn’t come soon enough. For now, she needed to finish her shift and then head to the boardinghouse and go to sleep. She knew the only way to get back here was through her dreams. How confident am I? Will I be able to return? I’ll just have to believe, like in all good fairytales.

Author Pic 1Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, Nancy currently resides in Mentor, Ohio with her husband and their college-age son, plus a delightfully entertaining lovebird. Her writing is influenced by all the years of working with young people as a teacher and raising her own son. When not writing, Nancy loves to travel with her husband and enjoys a good cup of tea. Waiting for Dusk is the first in her three book series. Call of the Canyon and Stealing Time continue the story of Kate and Drew.
Links:

Twitter- https://twitter.com/npennick @npennick

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/nancypennickauthor

WordPress blog- http://nancypennick.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page- http://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Pennick/e/B00AKX0MZ0/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Buy links:

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Waiting-Dusk-Nancy-Pennick-ebook/dp/B00AF47ELO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401300929&sr=1-1&keywords=waiting+for+dusk

Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/waiting-for-dusk-nancy-pennick/1114286882?ean=9781612355238

Publisher: Fire & Ice – http://www.fireandiceya.com/authors/nancypennick/WaitingForDusk.html

Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/351844

Kobo – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/waiting-for-dusk-waiting-for-dusk-book-one

Nancy will be awarding a $10 Amazon Gift Card and a PDF or mobi copy of Waiting for Dusk to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $10 Amazon GC + book! A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2014/06/virtual-nbtm-book-tour-waiting-for-dusk.html

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5 thoughts on “Interview with Nancy Pennick, Author

  1. An interesting interview.

  2. Thanks for having me on your blog!

  3. Great interview, thank you.

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