Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Penny Warner in my Hotseat!

Meow! Today I'm pleased to welcome the author of the popular "Killer Party" series, Penny Warner!

Penny has been writing ever since she got hooked on Nancy Drew in the 6th grade! Since then, she's had over 50 books published, fiction and non-fiction, for adults and children. Her books have won national awards, garnered excellent reviews, and have been printed in 14 countries, including Russia, France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, India, Israel, Poland, Japan, and China.

Penny has a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development and a Master's degree in Special Education, and she's taught child development at the local college for over 20 years. She also teaches writing tips at conferences across the country, including Pikes Peak, Whidbey Island, San Francisco, Jack London, and dozens of others, and is a member of not only Mystery Writers of America, but Sisters in Crime, SCBWI, Women Writing the West, and California Writers Club.

R:  Hello, Penny, and welcome to my hotseat! Hope it's not too warm!
P: Thanks, Rocco!

R:  Tell us about your "Party Planner" series. What was its inspiration? 
P: The HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY series features Presley Parker, a reluctant party     planner who seems to invite trouble along with her guests. She hosts parties about the San Francisco Bay Area, including Alcatraz, the Winchester Mystery House, and the Napa Wine Country. I was inspired by my own background. I’m the author of several party-planning books for kids and adults, and love to party!

R: You write both fiction and non-fiction. Which do you prefer and why?

P: They both so different. I like to work on fiction during the morning and throw myself into that venue, which I think is right-brained. Then in the afternoon I tend to write non-fiction, which is more left-brained. It’s a nice balance so I like both.

R: You, like the Human, love Nancy Drew.  How did she inspire you? Which of her adventures is your very favorite and why?

P: I grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries and thought she was a great role model. There were very few books for girls featuring female protagonists back in the day, so we didn’t have a lot to choose from. I loved her because she was so independent, smart, and brave.

R: You are also a teacher. Which profession is the more challenging and which do you prefer?

P: I teach child development at the local college and love it, mainly because it gets me out of the house and away from the computer. The students are wonderful – I learn so much from them. And it keeps me on my toes.

R: Is there a writing genre you have not yet attempted that you would like to try your hand at?

P: I prefer mysteries. I don’t think I could write sci-fi, fantasy, or romance. I enjoy the puzzle, and the structure of the mystery novel. And if I did try to write in another genre, I think I’d still make it a mystery.

R: Every writer has an “agent” story. How did you get your agent, and what is your advice to aspiring novelists querying agents?

P: I did a lot of research looking for the right agent for me. Then I sent her a query and she asked to see my proposal. She took me on and sold the series within a month or so. It doesn’t always happen that way, but doing the research first helped. I wanted someone who enjoyed mysteries. One of the best ways to find an agent is to look in the acknowledgments page of your favorite books and see who the agent is, then send them a query.

R: What book is on your TBR shelf you can’t wait to get to?

P: I have a lot of middle-grade books right now. My new middle-grade series, THE CODE BUSTERS CLUB, features four kids who solve mysteries by deciphering codes. THE MYSTERY OF THE SKELETON KEY just came out in paperback, and THE CODE BUSTERS CLUB: THE HAUNTED LIGHTHOUSE, will be out in November. I’m having a great time speaking at schools and teaching the students codes!

R: What advice would you give new writers just starting out?

P: Perseverance pays off. Even after receiving dozens of rejections, I didn’t give up. Along the way I became a better writer. Now that I have over 60 books publishes, I’m glad I stuck to it!

R: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

P: Oh jeeze. I’m not a very crazy person. I let my characters to crazy things for me. I think the craziest thing I ever did was get a third cat….(R: That doesn’t sound so crazy to me, meow!)

R: What do you most hope readers will take away from your work?\

P: I just hope they have fun reading the story.

R: Finish this sentence:  If I had just one wish, it would be________________________________________

P: To have more hours in the day so I could write more books.

R:  And now, Just for Fun:

Your Favorite:
TV show - HOUSE
Actor – William Powell (The Thin Man)
Actress – Bonita Granville (the original Nancy Drew)
Night or Day – Day, when I have energy
Mountain or Lake – Ocean or Forest
Hawaii or Alaska – Hawaii, Maui
Book or Nook - Book
Cat or Dog? – Too many cats  (R: One can never have too many cats, IMHO!)

Folks, if you’re interested in learning more about Penny Warner and her books, visit her website:

all her books can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

Penny will be giving away a copy of her “Killer Wine” book to one lucky reader!  Just leave a comment below with your email address (entries without email addy’s will be disqualified, sorry).  To get extra entries, you can:
Friend the Human, Toni LoTempio, on Facebook
Friend Penny or follow her on Twitter
Follow moi on Twitter @RoccoBlogger
Tweet or FB about this blog and contest (gets you 3 extra entries!)

Be sure to mention all you’ve done when you leave your post! Winner will be chosen using random.org.  Contest open to US residents and closes midnight, September 30, winner announced October 1!

The winner of our Angie Fox giveaway is:  Maggi Shelbourne! Watch for an email from Angie to claim your prize.

And coming in October:
Sheila Boneham
Vicki Lewis Thompson
Nina Bangs

Wow! Meow!



  1. Toni,
    I LOVE Your blog! I have three cats -- how could I not? Thanks for including me.

  2. Great post. Love finding new to me authors. The book looks great. I have about 7 cats. I have a new litter of kittens. There mom died, we have been bottle feeding them. 2 have now died, and only have one left. She is so tiny. She fits in the palm of my hand. We call her blueberry, because she has beautiful blue eyes, like 2 blueberries.
    Friends on facebook and twitter
    Shared on twitter

  3. Continued success to you,Penny.I enjoy reading kids' books and I have three grandchildren,so I am exposed to more and more.
    (Gee,Rocco, 3 cats isn't very crazy, you are right!)Rocco always finds interesting people for us in so often different genre.

  4. We would also like to add the below folks who contacted the Human on Facebook to enter: