Penny's Latest Release:
(available now in ebook format)PW: Rita, thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog. Merry Christmas!
RJ: What did you experienced emotionally as well as professionally with the completion and publication of 'Sweet Inspiration'?
PW: It was a rollercoaster, for sure! Sweet Inspiration was my first completed novel. I pitched it to an agent at a writer's conference, and I was shot down in a blaze of glory! (She informed me that my book was basically "unpublishable" because of its short length and the holiday topic). I was crushed, but determined to find a home for it. I soon discovered that a lot of smaller e-publishers were looking for shorter, holiday-themed romances. I was lucky enough to find a home for Sweet Inspiration at The Wild Rose Press. Happy Days!
RJ: Why don't you tell me and the readers a little bit about 'Sweet Inspiration' from the author's point of view?
PW: Well, I obviously love Christmas. I also love romance novels. I decided that a sexy Santa story might be something fun for the holidays. As I brainstormed this idea, Santa's family began to expand, and soon I had created a world with elves, magic, and five sexy sons of Santa Claus. It's a grown-up twist on the legend of Santa and the North Pole.
RJ:Where did the inspirations for your plot, characters and setting come from?
PW: One source of inspiration was the animated film Santa Claus is Comin' To Town. Even as a young girl I was enchanted by the love story between Kris Kringle and Jessica. I especially love the wedding scene where Kris and Jessica are married outside in an evergreen forest with the birds and animals looking on. So romantic!
RJ:What challenges or difficulties did you face during the writing process for this book?
PW: Since I was a new writer, I had a lot to learn. My critique group, The Quirky Ladies, was a huge source of support and encouragement. I basically got on-the-job training as a writer. Also, it's tough to write about Christmas all year long, especially in the summertime when it's 90° and muggy outside!
RJ: Lets talk about your Hero and Heroine (Nick & Lucy). What are their flaws and what are their redeeming qualities? Also, why are they attracted to each other (aside from physical attraction)?
PW: At the beginning of the book, Nicholas is a very rigid and inflexible pastry chef, totally absorbed with his work. He pays little attention to his workers. He is very loyal to his family, especially his four younger brothers.
Lucy is more relaxed in the kitchen, and is quite involved in her worker's lives. She is fearful about breaking out of her small town world, and longs for adventure and passion.
When Nicholas and Lucy first meet, there is an instant physical attraction between the two of them. Their mutual love of cooking brings them together, in spite of their different culinary approaches. Lucy is impressed with Nicholas' worldwide travels and expertise, and Nicholas is touched by her thoughtfulness towards her employees and customers. She teaches Nicholas to be more thoughtful of others, and Nicholas gives Lucy the courage to take risks in her life.
RJ: This latest book is from the Klaus Brothers series. What is the premise for this series/where did the idea for it come from? And also, how does Sweet Inspiration tie into/contribute to the series?
PW: Sweet Inspiration is the first book of the Klaus Brothers Series. Each book in the series will focus on one of the brothers. The over-riding arc for the series is the question...Who will be the next Santa? Their father is getting ready to retire, and one of the sons is supposed to step up and fill the role of Santa Claus. We'll find out who the next Santa is in the final book of the series, Sweet Destiny.
RJ: How did your writing journey begin and how did you get here? Tell me and the readers a bit about your road to publication.
PW: I always loved to write stories. Even as a young girl, I was making up stories with illustrations. After years of working in education and science, I adopted my son from the Philippines. I started reading romance novels for fun, and became enamored with the idea of writing my own book. My first attempt was a werewolf romance, which has yet to be completed! My second attempt was Sweet Inspiration. I was lucky enough to get it contracted within 6 months of sending out query letters. It was incredibly exciting for me!
RJ: Romances has transcended many different sectors of pop culture. I think the Beatles said it best, "All you need is love". This being a Romance Blog, I've got to ask: what are your favorite picks from the following: Favorite Love Song? Favorite Scent on a man? Favorite Romantic Comedy? and of course, Favorite Romance Novel?
Favorite Love Song: I don't think I have one, but I do love the song Love's Divine by Seal. It's a lovely song.
Favorite Scent: No cologne, just his natural scent is yummy!
Favorite Romantic Comedy: Strictly Ballroom, such a great romantic film!
Favorite Romance Novel: Lord Of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase--this book is as close to perfection as you can get!
RJ: What's coming up next for you (book-wise or otherwise)?
PW: The greatest thing in the world is to hear from happy readers! I love getting emails, messages on twitter and goodreads, and comments on my blog. Please stop by and say hi!
(see on the web links)
RJ: Final Question: What is the most shocking or most interesting thing you've ever done? Or if you can't think of anything specific, name something daring that you've always wanted to try.
PW: A lot of people are surprised to hear that I used to be a dolphin trainer! It was really cool. I worked with a team of volunteers at the Pittsburgh Aquazoo when I was in high school. We trained an Amazon River dolphin named Chuckles! I don't think I'll ever top that job!
Penny's Question:What is your favorite Christmas film?
RJ: I can't wait to devour 'Sweet Inspiration' in the next few days! Sounds like a sweet holiday read! Thanks for a fabulous blog visit, Penny!
~*~Giveaway Details~*~Penny Watson has generously offered to give away a digital copy of her holiday romance, 'Sweet Inspiration' to one (1) lucky commenter. The giveaway will end on December 23rd, and the winner will be announced on Christmas Eve (yes, I am a hopeless romantic as well! lol). Please follow the guidelines and leave a valid email address to be in the drawing.
Giveaway Guidelines: To be entered in the giveaway, all you have to do is comment! Answer Penny's Question and leave your email address in your comment and you'll be added to the drawing!
Extra Entries: Do one or more of the following to recieve extra entries for the drawing:
+3 'Friend' Penny on Facebook
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+5 Spread the word: Tweet on Twitter, Post a Facebook status, or blog about this interview and giveaway (provide a link in you entry comment)
[+1 Sing a christmas carol to yourself right now and tell me which one you did ;)]
-Tell me in your comment which extra entries you are entitled to or they won't count!
Hope you enjoyed this interview and goodluck to all the giveaway participants! Happy Holidays, all!