PENELOPE WARD: THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN ROOMHATE WAS TO SEPARATE THE STORY FROM MY OTHER BOOKS
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Penelope Ward creates another big hit with her new novel RoomHate. The book was released few days ago, but already received well deserved positive feedback. So far 270 reviewers gave the decent average of 4,6 Amazon stars.
Our next guest is NY Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Let me introduce to you lady Penelope Ward.
– Penelope, what is your book RoomHate about?
– RoomHate is a story about two estranged friends who inherit a summer house and must share it. The story follows the evolution of their reconnection with several plot twists thrown in.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– Before starting a story, I outline in a notebook and slowly build upon the character’s traits and the storyline. I have always liked stories that involve friends to lovers. This story is set in Rhode Island where I live, and I loved the idea of having a beach setting as the backdrop to the story.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– The biggest challenge for me is to make the story fresh and separate from my other books. When writing steamy scenes for example, you need to make them different and exciting each time. It also gets harder with each book, because you feel as though you need to top yourself, even though each story should ideally be taken separately and not compared to the others.
– Tell us something more about your main characters – Justine and Amelia? Are they close to someone from your real life?
– They are not based on anyone from my real-life at all. Justin starts off as hot-tempered and angry, but becomes more sensitive throughout the book. He is a passionate musician. Amelia is a good-hearted, loyal woman who is a little lost in the beginning as to what she wants to do with her life, but eventually finds her way.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– I started writing this book at the end of October and completed it at the end of January. So, it took a full three months.
– Did you expect the success of Stepbrother Dearest and how you feel when you saw the title in NY Times Bestselling list?
– I did not expect the success of Stepbrother Dearest, actually! That book ended up spawning an entire sub genre of “stepbrother” books in its wake. Stepbrother Dearest was an impulsive writing decision—a detour— in between two planned books and ironically, became my most popular book and is now set to be published in several countries.
– Your co-writing production with Vi Keeland Cocky Bastard became a big hit. How different is to write in a team compared to single writing?
– I actually enjoy the writing process much more when co-writing! Because it’s half writing, half reading and very improvisational and challenging. We alternate chapters and I never know what she is going to come up with. It is thrilling to see where she takes her parts and where she leaves off for me to continue. I love the mystery in not knowing where I will have to pick the story up. Writing alone is a solitary process. Co-writing with the right person (and finding that compatibility can be quite rare)…is quite fun.
– Who are you?
– I am a city girl (from Boston) from a large family who had a blessed childhood. I am a former television news anchor, who never really found her true passion until she randomly started to write in her mid-thirties. I’m also the mother to a severely autistic daughter and a son.
– What are your writing habits?
– I actually just fantasize about a new story for about a month before I start writing anything down. Then, I do a very rough outline in a notebook. Once I have that pretty clear, I neaten up the outline into a Word document and use it as a road map to the story. I set a goal of about 1500-2000 words per day once I start writing and vow to get something in each day, even if just a little. I edit a lot as I go (chapter by chapter) so that I am not left with a mess once the first draft is done. After each chapter, I send what I have to my kindle and read it once or twice before continuing. I really try to put myself in the place of the reader as best I can. If I am bored writing something or reading it back, chances are the reader will be too.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your books?
– Yes. When I first started writing, it was just for fun and to alleviate stress and as an outlet for my creativity. I never set out to sell a lot of books because I never thought it would be possible to make a business out of it. I am still amazed every day that people buy my books.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– The promotion aspect of being an indie author is a bigger job than the writing itself and more time-consuming. Every day, I am on Facebook, interacting with my readers. Every. Single. Day. I don’t miss a day, nor do I really want to. I have a private fan group and a main page. I also work on accumulating newsletter subscribers and try to respond to each and every inquiry/piece of feedback I receive. I make my own teasers and graphics as well and promote my book via those in advance of every release.
– When we will see your next novel and would you unveil something more about it?
– My next novel is a second standalone in my co-written Cocky Bastard series with Vi Keeland. It will be another story about a couple who meets via a chance encounter, but will feature all new characters separate from the original Cocky Bastard book. The release date is April 11.
– Why the romance books with sexual content are so popular these days?
– I truly believe that Fifty Shades of Grey got a lot of women into reading again. New authors emerged, writing more contemporary or new adult stories and women discovered something they never knew they wanted. The sexual content is a fantasy and an escape for them. I think women fantasize by nature and this is a new outlet by which to engage in that.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– I suppose I would ask myself, “What is the secret to your success and advice for other authors?” My answer is: good old-fashioned hard work. I rarely take breaks. I still have a part-time non-writing day job and two kids. I write whenever I can around those two things. Also, study the industry. Make original story choices. Market your book with the elements that you know your readers like because you have paid attention to their feedback and you know who your readers are and what they expect. There are no short cuts. Other authors can’t really help you either. You are responsible for your story and for your choices. And those individual choices can make or break a book, regardless of how well-written it is. Some of the best written books probably never get discovered because their packaging is not inviting or the authors haven’t reached their readers. And while that’s a shame, authors can learn from their mistakes and shouldn’t be discouraged. You should always keep writing if you love it.