Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A Warm Welcome to Author Penny Zeller!

Leave our comment and email address, readers, for a chance to win one of Penny's lovely books!

Hello, Carole! Thank you so much for having me here!
Hi, Penny, it's so good to have you here this week!

How long have you known that you were a writer?

I was bitten by the writing bug at age seven when I began writing Bible stories in my own words. (I suppose you could call it grade-school commentary!) My second grade teacher, Mrs. Vernon, encouraged me to continue writing about Jesus. In fourth grade, I began to write fiction stories about a dog named Muffie and her adventures, as well as, other short stories neatly composed in homemade wallpaper-covered cardboard books.

Years later, my inspiration continues to come from the Lord and I pray daily that the path I have chosen in life will glorify Him. I get ideas from the Scriptures often and I build my book around certain biblical themes, such as, forgiveness and redemption. My Christian characters pray and seek God for direction. And as a writer I am in constant prayer for wisdom, guidance, and that my books would be life-changing – that they would bring others to the Lord or closer to the Lord. Writing is my ministry, and I have chosen Psalm 19:14 as my life verse: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

What is the genre you write in?

I have written historical Christian fiction romance, contemporary Christian fiction romance, children’s fiction, and general nonfiction. My favorite to write and to read is the historical fiction, but I love all four types.

Tell us about your new book. What is the spiritual message in it? What can readers expect to get from reading it?

My latest book is titled McKenzie and is the first in my Montana Skies Series. It is a Christian historical romance and was released September 1, 2010 by Whitaker House. My hope is that readers will find in McKenzie the power of God’s love, redemption, hope, and forgiveness. Readers will get a glimpse inside McKenzie’s life and see that God can and does change hearts.

Below is a short blurb:

Desperation to rescue her younger sister from an abusive husband prompts McKenzie Worthington to run away from her stately Boston home as a mail-order bride for a rancher in the rugged Montana Territory.

Desperation also prompted Zachary Sawyer to post the ad for a bride, and he eagerly awaits the woman God has chosen for his wife.

When they meet, McKenzie tries to keep her distance, but she can't help feeling attracted to Zach and his selfless ways. What will become of her plan to annul the marriage when she finds her sister?

Sounds great. How did the plot for McKenzie come to you?

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.

Isn't it marvelous how God uses our trials for good? Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through?

Writing is my passion and my ministry and I find so much joy in being able to share the love of Christ through the written word. It is a rewarding job and I feel blessed that God has called me to write. My fingers can’t type fast enough when I’m working on a new book and I love to create new characters! However, that being said, there have been two times in my career when I felt like giving up. One of those times was when I first started writing. The other was when I had a very bad experience at a writer’s conference that made me seriously consider giving up writing altogether.

I spent considerable time in prayer during those times of wanting to quit. I asked that the Lord make it clear if He has chosen a different path for me. His answer came in the form of a new idea for a new book. I was reminded once again with a fresh perspective why it is I love to write and to whose glory it is that I am writing - and what a blessing it is! As such, I have made it my goal to encourage other writers and have even started a new writer’s group/Bible study with a close friend. Through that study, writers at all levels have been brought together and we encourage, mentor, and pray for each other.

Who has inspired you the most?

I couldn’t name just one person who has inspired me the most. It has been a combination of many, including my husband, children, friends, editors, fellow authors, readers, and even bloggers (who, by the way, are some of the nicest people I have ever met!)

Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced? *grins*

No, I have found that the hardest and most consuming part of being an author comes after the book is published!

I'd say you're right about that. What are some of your hobbies and interests? Where would you most like to visit? Where would you like to travel if you could?

I love spending time with my family and friends and camping, hiking, canoeing, volleyball, and gardening. Some of the places I would love to travel to include Hilton Head Island, Alaska, and Glacier National Park.

Alaska's on my to-be-traveled-to list. Where can readers find your books?

All of my books are available everywhere books are sold. The specific links for McKenzie include:

What’s next on your agenda?

I am excited about book two in my Montana Skies Historical Romance Series. Kaydie is set for release in April, but is already available for preorder.

Below is the blurb:

For the first time in years, Kaydie Worthington Kraemer can breathe easily. Although she is still haunted by memories of her abusive husband, Darius, she takes comfort in knowing the man is dead. Staying with her sister McKenzie and brother-in-law, Zach Sawyer, at their ranch, Kaydie is still wary of men, especially now that she has another life inside of her to protect. As she looks forward to her baby's birth, she builds a protective wall around herself that won't be easy to tear down.

Ranch hand Jonah Dickenson views his boss, Zach, like a brother. He does not, however, envy Zach's new role as a husband. Deserted by his mother at a young age and forever despised and rejected by his own father, Jonah has few close relationships. But there's something about Kaydie that draws him to her and makes him question his decision to remain a bachelor.

When Cedric Van Aulst, an old friend of Kaydie's, comes to town, an unforeseen prospect of marriage arises. Cedric is someone Kaydie trusts. Will she settle for a safe union with him, or can she trust God to guard her heart and her life in the arms of Jonah?

I am currently working on the third book in my Montana Skies Series and just completed book one in another historical romance series set in the Civil War era.

Where can fans find you on the internet?

I love to connect with my readers at:

Thank you, Carole, for hosting me on your blog. It has been an honor and a privilege to be here!

And I've enjoyed having you, Penny! Best wishes!
Don't forget those comments and email addresses, folks. You won't want to miss a chance on winning her book!



Lisa Nelson said...

Please enter me in the drawing! I enjoyed McKenzie and I'm looking forward to reading Kaydie!
Lisa Nelson
storyreader617 @

Ann Lee Miller said...

I'd love to win one of Penny's books!

Michelle Sutton said...

Call me weird, but I love reading books that contain life issues such as domestic violence. It's more prevalent than people realize. Count me in. ;)


Merry said...

It's awesome to see God at work in our lives. I'd love to win Penny's book, thanks for a chance!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Sandee61 said...

Hi Penny...I enjoyed your interview and I'd like to read your books, which are new to me. Its nice finding new authors to read, and I'd love to be entered in this giveaway. I agree with Michelle, when it comes to domestic violence and other life issues.
I don't blog, but enjoy many of the book bloggers out there. I'm an avid reader of Christian books as well as other genres. Thank you for the entry.



Jo said...

Love the covers on your books and would love to read them. Another new to me author to add to my list. Please enter me in the drawing.


Wendy said...

This sounds like a good book and interesting how God gave her the stories and others while she was recovering.

Penny Zeller said...

Hello Lisa, Ann, Michelle, Merry, and Sandee!

Thank you for stopping by Carole's blog and for your sweet comments. I'm excited to see who wins!

I hope you all have a wonderful week.


Kathryn Page Camp said...

The Jeremiah passage is good for reminding us Who is in control. I have it on my desk where I can't help see it now and then.

Wendy said...

I would love to win one of Penny's books. They look really good.

Anne Payne said...

Enter me! I would love to read one of Penny's books.


Meredith said...

Please enter me! I love to read historical romances!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

rubynreba said...

I'd really enjoy this book. Please enter me. Thanks!

Ausjenny said...

I agree with michelle it is good to read books that are realistic and back then as it is today domestic violence happened alot. Its these books that help us understand why women dont leave.
I want to go to Alaska too but not in winter.
dont enter me I have access to the books.

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Penny, I have not read your books but love the story line of both. I love Christian fiction and have read many books by Christian authors and enjoyed all. Thanks for the great interview.

Pls enter me for the giveaway.

Carman sent me this time.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Katy said...

Wonderful giveaway, I'd love to be counted in! :-) Thanks

~ Katy

collettakay said...

I've had my eye on this book and would love a chance to win it!


Penny Zeller said...

Good Morning, Jo, Wendy, Kathryn, Anne, Ruby, Jenny, Kallie, Katy, Meredith, and Colletta!

Thank you for stopping by Carole's blog and entering to win a copy of my book :)

Kathryn - you are so right about the Jeremiah 29:11 verse. It is such a good reminder that God is in control!

Jenny - I agree with you about the domestic violence issue. I worked for a social services agency - it is a heartbreaking and all-too-common scenario. So true about Alaska - a summer trip there would be nice :) How about Hawaii? LOL

Wendy - So true - it was amazing how God took something bad (the car accident and bacterial infections) and used them for something good. It reminded me of the verse in Romans 8:28 and I am humbled He would use me to reach others for His Kingdom through my writing.

Thank you, Jo, Meredith, Anne, Ruby, Kallie, Katy, and Colletta for your kind words! You made my day :)

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week!

Hugs & Blessings,

noseinanovel said...

I've read several favorable reviews of "McKenzie" and have put it on my TBR. Please enter me in the drawing!


Patsy said...

This book sounds great. Looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the giveaway.

lgm52 said...

Sounds great! Would love to win it!

Diane Craver said...

Great interview, Carole and Penny!

I'd like to go to Alaska too!

I'd love to win your book, Penny! Your books sound wonderful.

Leanne said...

Oooh, I really want to read this one! Thanks for doing the giveaway!


Katy said...

That book looks really interesting! Please enter me :)


cas said...

Looks like a great book! Can't wait to read it :) Please enter me into the drawing. Thank you!

Charlotte Kay said...

I love the mention of the homemade wallpaper cardboard books! I made of few of them myself years ago!
Thanks for the opportunity to win this book, the first in a new series:)
chakasa58 at gmail dot com

Penny Zeller said...

Good Morning, Patsy, noseinanovel(love that name) lgm52, and Diane!

Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by Carole's blog. Isn't she just the sweetest person? :) What an honor it is to be interviewed on her blog.

I appreciate you all so much! Hope you all have have a blessed weekend.

Hugs & Blessings,

Amanda Stephan said...

I'd love a chance to win her book! Thank you for the opportunity!

kjv1611as at gmail dot com

karenk said...

would enjoy reading this fabulous novel...thanks for the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

apple blossom said...

thanks for the interview would love to be included in the giveaway.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Kait said...

I've wanted to win this book for a long time! Please enter me!


Penny Zeller said...

Happy Saturday, Leanne, Katy, Karen, Kait, Apple Blossom, Cas, Charlotte Kay, and Amanda!

Thanks for stopping by Carole's blog and for leavng your sweet comments about "McKenzie." It really is so fun to see who will win - that's my favorite part about blog interviews :)

So glad to hear that there is another cardboard book maker out there, Charlotte Kay! Wasn't life just the best when we discovered contact paper was so much easier than traditional wallpaper? LOL

I hope you all have a blessed weekend!

Hugs & Blessings,

Maureen said...

I love historical romances, and enjoy reading how God works in our lives. Thank You!


Jan Marie said...

I haven't had the chance yet to read anything by Penny Zeller but her books sound really interesting. I enjoyed reading her story about the accident and how God healed her - what a testimony! Please add my name in the drawing.



fredamans said...

Sounds like a wonderful story, and I love the cover. The lady on front reminds me of Faith Hill. Thank you for hosting and the chance!


angie said...

Sounds like a great book! I would love to be entered!

Cheryl said...

Please enter me and thanks for the giveaway.

Jan Marie said...

Hmm... I thought for sure that I had already left a comment for this book but I don't see it in the list so I will try again.

I enjoyed reading this interview and I think the premise behind the story is very intriguing. I haven't yet had the chance to read Penny's books but they sound quite appealing. Please add my name in the drawing.

Thanks for the opportunity!


Caroline said...

Yes, Jan Marie, you did leave a comment (yesterday?), but today was kind of busy, and I didn't have time to check comments until tonight. Thanks so much for BOTH of your comments! :)

Caroline said...

Thanks for all the comments!

Penny Zeller said...

Happy Monday, Maureen, Jan Marie, Freda, Angie, and Cheryl!

Thanks for stopping by Carole's blog and for taking the time to leave a comment. I so appreciate your kind words about "McKenzie."

Jan Marie - I remain humbled at how God healed me after our car accident. We serve an amazing God!

Freda - You know, you are right, McKenzie does look a bit like Faith Hill! Thank you for the compliment :)

As we near the end of the giveaway, I just want to thank everyone who has stopped by and left a comment and thank you to Carole for hosting me on her blog.

May the Lord bless you all!

In Christ,

Lynn said...

I just found this today, the final day of the contest. I would be delighted to win this book. As a Christian it is always wonderful to find sincere Christian authors.
I have a blog and this year I will be writing book reviews and doing author interviews, so it would be wonderful to do the same for this book and Penny should I win. Thank

polilla.writes at gmail dot com

Penny Zeller said...

Hi Lynn! Thanks for stopping by Carole's blog (and just in time to enter the giveaway :)

How exciting that you are beginning to do book reviews. We authors so appreciate all the time and effort that goes into scheduling interviews, giveaways, and writing reviews.

God Bless,

Break Time!

In Case Anyone is Wondering What's Going on with few posts lately-- I'm taking a short hiatus. Deciding where I want to...