Friday, February 11, 2011

Author Interview and Giveaway - Penny Zeller

Hello readers! I am happy to welcome author Penny Zeller to Reviews By Jane this week!


First off, would you mind telling us a bit about yourself and something about you
that might surprise your readers?

Hi Kait! It’s great to be here.

I am a Christ follower, wife of 18 years to my wonderful husband, Lon, mother of two, and a Christian author and speaker. I am the author of several books and I have also written for numerous national and regional magazines. My work has also been included in several anthologies. I owe all my inspiration to the Lord – He truly is amazing!

Hmmmm…something about me that might surprise my readers? Something rather humorous is that I had two imaginary friends as a young child. They were two gray-haired grandpas (the ones from Sesame Street). I imagined they lived at the end of my street.

What inspired you to write McKenzie and Kaydie: The first two books in your Montana Skies Series?

My family and I were in a car accident a couple years ago where I suffered neck and leg injuries. During that time period of seven months, I was also hit with back-to-back bacterial infections. Because of the injuries and illness, I was pretty much homebound and my active athletic lifestyle suddenly became limited. I look back now and praise God that He gave me McKenzie, as well as two other manuscripts (another historical and a contemporary) I wrote in that seven month period of pain and illness. God took what was a difficult time for me and turned it around to something positive that can be used for His Kingdom – taking the time to write the books that I had always wanted to write.

He has since healed me and I pray daily that the path I have chosen in life will glorify Him. I think that’s why Jeremiah 29:11, which says, “’For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” is so close to my heart.

Wow! I am so glad the LORD saw fit to heal you! He is truly good. :-)
What prompted you to write in Montana Territory?


 Our family has traveled extensively through Montana on road trips. We have visited two well-preserved ghost towns, which provided me with so much inspiration! I love the scenery and the history of Montana and couldn’t wait to base my characters in that setting.

I've been through Montana several times and have found it to be one of the most beautiful states in the country; I'll bet it makes a great setting!
Has your faith influenced your writings?


My faith influences my writing 100%. In November of 2000, I gave my writing to the Lord. I quit my fulltime job with a social services agency to stay home with my infant daughter. That was the start of my writing career, beginning with magazine articles in national and regional publications. My first book, a children’s book titled Hollyhocks, was published in 2003. I am humbled that God has called me into a ministry of writing. I speak from experience when I say that when He closes one door, He opens a (much better) one and I firmly believe that if God calls you, He will guide you.

I pray God will use each of my books to impact the lives of others for His Kingdom. For instance, in McKenzie, I have shown how God can and does change hearts and just like in real life, McKenzie’s heart was changed gradually as she came to rely on and put her trust in the Lord. I love the verse in Isaiah 64:8 that says “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter…”

Because faith plays such an important role in my writing, I love the opportunity it has given me to share Christ with others. Being able to talk about my career has opened the door to sharing the Gospel in countless ways.

That is a great verse!
Did you base any of your characters on people you really know?


The characters in my fiction books are a potpourri of many different people. I love to people-watch, so this gives me a great resource for characters. For example, I will take the hairdo of the woman in the mall, the nose of the woman in the airport, the eyes of the woman in church three rows up, and maybe some personality traits of two or three people I know as acquaintances. I combine all of these attributes into one person to develop my characters.

Haha you're example "The nose of a woman in the airport" made me chuckle - but all in all, that's a brilliant idea!
Which book that you've written was your favorite to write?

Hmmm. Hard question! I loved writing McKenzie because the Lord gave me that inspiration while I was
recovering from our car accident. I have also enjoyed writing Kaydie because it is such a
testimony of how God can take something bad and use it for something good.

When you started writing, where did you begin? With an outline? Or did you just
jump into it and let the story form as you wrote?

Interestingly, I don’t write outlines for my novels. I dream up the entire book in my head as if I were watching a movie then write it down scene by scene. My husband and kids always tease me and ask if I’ve “watched” any movies lately *grins.*

Sounds a bit like how I operate. ;-)
You've written and published several books. Which one required the most research? Which took the longest time to write?

The book that took the longest to write was my second book, Wyoming Treasures. I interviewed 38 people – many of whom had experienced The Great Depression and World War II firsthand. I met some amazing people, many of whom are no longer with us. The book that required the most research was my most recent nonfiction book, 77 Ways Your Family Can Make a Difference: Ideas and Activities for Serving Others. For this book, I researched statistics and spent a lot of time in God’s Word correlating the Scripture verses with each project and the “Up for Discussion” questions at the end of each chapter.

Who would you have play McKenzie and Zach if "McKenzie" were made into a
movie?

I think that based on appearances, I would pick Hayden Panettiere for McKenzie and Geoff Stults for Zach.



Who is your favorite author?

I have several and couldn’t even begin to narrow it
down to just one!

 Haha I am the same way!
Do you have another book in the making? Can you give us some insight on what it's about? 

I just finished the third book in the series, Hailee, which is scheduled for
release later this year. Here's a little teaser about what's to come:

Times in Pine Haven have changed over the past few years. The town has doubled in size and Montana has become a state. Bethany Ethel is now the older sister to spunky seven-year-old twin brothers who find great delight in providing trouble for the new teacher, Miss Hailee Annigan. The Sawyers have added to their own family with daughter, Chloe; and Lucille Granger continues her antics as the town busybody.

Faith. Love. Hope. Forgiveness. This recent installment of the Montana Skies Historical
Romance Series explores all four in the continuing saga of a peek into the lives of those who call Pine Haven their home.

I'm also working on a historical romance series that takes place in the Post-Civil War Era.
I've finished book one in the series and have started writing book two.

Sounds intriguing!
How can our readers reach you?


I love to hear from my readers and can be found on the web at www.pennyzeller.com
(website)
www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com (my blog – a Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom,
and Author) http://www.facebook.com/pages/Penny-A-Zeller/96391560959?ref=ts
(Facebook) http://twitter.com/pennyzeller (Twitter)

Thank you, Kait, for inviting me to your blog. It’s been an honor to be here!



Not only has Mrs. Zeller been gracious enough to allow me to interview her, but she is also willing to giveaway her upcoming release - Kaydie - to one lucky commenter! One winner will receive a copy of Kaydie when it releases in April. USA ONLY!

REQUIRED ENTRY:
Follow this blog via GFC


For Extra Entries:
Subscribe to this blog(+1)
Post about our giveaway on your blog(+2)
Twitter this giveaway(+1 per tweet per day)
Follow me on Twitter(+1)



Hurry and enter! This giveaway ends on Friday, February 25th!

51 comments:

Lisa said...

Would love to win this one!! Sounds GREAT!!
bluejay(at)hwyman(dot)com

Charity U said...

Please enter me! I follow . :)

photographer4ever832[at]gmail[dot]com

Charity U said...

Blogged: http://giveawaysgalore82.blogspot.com/2011/02/penny-zeller-book-giveaway.html

photographer4ever832[at]gmail[dot]com

Charity U said...

Blogged entry 2: http://giveawaysgalore82.blogspot.com/2011/02/penny-zeller-book-giveaway.html

photographer4ever832[at]gmail[dot]com

Penny Zeller said...

Thank you, Lisa and Charity for stopping by! Thanks Lisa for your kind words about my book and thank you Charity for blogging about it :) Thanks again, Kait for hosting me on your blog. I love the picture of the mountain scene.

I hope you all have a blessed weekend!

Blessings,
Penny

Jo said...

Great interview and the books sound awesome. I definitely have them on my wish list. I enjoy reading historical romance.

Blessings,
Jo
ladij040(at)aol(dot)com

Charity said...

Please enter me in this giveaway! I already have McKenzie but do not have Kaydie and I love giving McKenzie away to my friends. Penny is an awesome author and a great friend:) Thanks for entering me.
I follow your blog via GFC.

esterried[at]yahoo[dot]com

Ann Lee Miller said...

I'd love to win!
Ann_Lee_Miller@msn.com

Meredith said...

GFC follower.

I'd love to win!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Meredith said...

Email subscriber

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Meredith said...

Twitter follower @tessaa99

meredithfl at gmail dot com

diana said...

I am a GFC follower and a subscriber via email. I am particularly interested in this book because it has always been my dream to live on a horse ranch in Montana. That will probably never happen, but I love books where the setting is in Montana. A lady can dream can't she? lol


dianalflowers@aol.com

Penny Zeller said...

Good Saturday Morning, Jo, Charity, Ann Lee, Meredith, and Diana!

Thank you so much for stopping by Kait's blog and leaving a comment.

Wow, Jo, I'm honored that you have my books on your wish list :)

Charity - thank you for your kind words - it has been a privilege and blessing to be a guest on your blog :)

Meredith and Ann Lee - I love your enthusiasm!

I so agree with you, Diana, it would be awesome to live on a horse ranch in Montana. It is absolutely gorgeous there and our family once was able to go horsebackriding in the mountains during our vacation. And yes, dream big because you just never know!

Blessings for a wonderful weekend,

Penny

rubynreba said...

I am a follower and would love to be entered.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

Subscribe by email
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

diana said...

I had a comment that I posted twice and each time it flew and disappeared. GRRR! I just wanted to thank you for sharing about your illness and how God used that time to fulfill some of His plans for your life. It's hard to go from being fit and active to being in the house alot and that is what I'm going through right now! It seems as though it will never get better. Please pray for me and thank you for inspiring me today with that! Your books are also on my wish list; I have them written down along with some others b/c I have some giftcards to spend for my birthday!


dianalflowers@aol.com

Debbie Clark said...

I have not read any of Penny Zeller's book, but would love to. Please add me to the drawing. My husband and I also fell in love with Montana. I have visited that wonderful state three times and would love to go back again.
Thanks for the chance to win Kaydie.
Debbie
debbiemcla[at]msn[dot]com

Penny Zeller said...

Good Afternoon, Diana, Debbie, and RubynReba! Thank you for stopping by :)

Diana-I am praying for healing for you. I hope you feel better soon. I am thrilled that my books are on your wish list. Thank you so much!

Debbie-I agree with you, Montana is a wonderful (and beautiful) state.

RubynReba-I'm glad you stopped by and entered to win a copy of Kaydie.

I hope you all have a Christ-filled week!

Blessings,
Penny

Jordan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jordan said...

I am now following this blog and I've subscribed by email.

This book looks great! And it was a great interview. :)

lizzielaura17@yahoo.com

apple blossom said...

I'm a follower thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

PriviesAndPrims said...

Thanks for offering the book as a giveaway!
I'd love to win!

Carman sent me. :)

Blessings,
Doreen

Pam said...

I just became a follower and a subscriber of your blog. Carman sent me to your site.
I'd love to win this new book by Penny. Thanks for the interview and the book giveaway.

pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

JoanneTroppello said...

Great interview. Love your books covers.

Anne Payne said...

I'd love to win this book. Montana is a place I've always wanted to go. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.

I'm a follower & subscriber.

homesteading[at]charter[dot]net

windycindy said...

What a delightful author interview!
Her book sounds very interesting...
I can identify with Penny and her bacterial
infections! My mom and brother both had
staph infections which cost their lives,
four months apart.
I follow you via Google Friend Connect.
(windycindy)
Many thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

windycindy said...

I am an email subscriber to your blog!
Again, many thanks to you and Penny...
Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

windycindy said...

"Tweet!"
http://twitter.com/cmh512/status/38990115208577024.
Thanks bunches!
Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

windycindy said...

Also, I follow you on Twitter.
Thanks, Cindi
cmh512
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Penny Zeller said...

Good Afternoon, Jordan, Apple Blossom, Doreen, Pam, Joanne, Anne, and Cindi,

Thank you for stopping by reviewsbyjane. I appreciate your kind comments about "Kaydie" and my interview. I appreciate you all so much.

I was sorry to hear about your mom and brother, Cindi. Our family has dealt with staph infections as well, and it's such a scary illness.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and thank you again for your comments!

Blessings,
Penny Zeller

karenk said...

would love to read this novel...thanks for the chance :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

email subscriber :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Ann Lee Miller said...

I'm a follower, and I'd love to win Penny's book. :) Ann_Lee_Miller@msn.com

diana said...

I forgot to mention Carman sent me...and Penny thank you for the beautiful prayer. You are as lovely on the inside as you are on the outside. I love Montana settings...oh, my!

dianalflowers@aol.com

jdjmcc said...

I follow via GFC- please enter me!
Carman sent :)
Thank you! jdjmcc@aol.com

Renee G said...

I'm following as Renee G on GFC and would love to read this.
rsgrandinetti@yahoo(D0t)com

Charlotte Kay said...

I am a GFC follower
Charlotte Kay
charlovesmark at gmail dot com

Charlotte Kay said...

I subscribe to your blog:)
Charlotte Kay
charlovesmark at gmail dot com

Charlotte Kay said...

I tweeted this giveaway today
@CHAKASA58
Charlotte Kay
charlovesmark at gmail dot com

Charlotte Kay said...

I follow you on Twitter
@CHAKASA58
Charlotte Kay
charlovesmark at gmail dot com

Sherree said...

Awesome, would love to win this one. Came by way of Carmen. I enjoy reading and doing reviews.

Leanne said...

I'd love to win this! Carmen sent me. I'm a new follower of your blog.

leanniegehrke at hotmail dot com

Leanne said...

I'm a subscriber of your blog.

leanniegehrke at hotmail dot com

Sheila said...

Sounds like a great read. Carmen sent me.

true_sheila at yahoo dot com

Penny Zeller said...

Hello Karen, Ann Lee, Diana, Sheila, Jdjmcc, Renee, Charlotte Kay, Sherree, and Leanne,

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment for a chance to win "Kaydie." Time is winding down and I'm excited to see who wins!

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week :)

Blessings,
Penny

LadySaotome said...

Following this blog via GFC - Check!

Subscribe to this blog(+1) - Check!
Twitter this giveaway(+1 per tweet per day) - Check!
http://twitter.com/#!/ladysaotome/status/41217416939839488
Follow me on Twitter(+1)- Check!

diana said...

The odds are definitely not in my favor here. Guess they are the same as everybody else's though...that's one way of looking at it!

dianalflowers@aol.com

Nancye said...

This sounds like a great book! I'd love to win a copy! Thanks for the chance.

I am a GFC Follower.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

email subscriber

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Tweet! Tweet!
@NancyeDavis

http://twitter.com/#!/NancyeDavis/status/41344908912623616

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

I follow you on Twitter
@NancyeDavis

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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