Welcome — or welcome back — to another Author Spotlight! If you’re new and want to know more about how the series got started, go check out the introduction post.
Today the spotlight is on Hidradenitis Suppurativa Warrior and prolific writer, Pen W.
– – –
Let’s start with the most important. What’s your most recent/next book, and where can we go to learn more about it and you?
My most recent book is Eight on a Blade. It is fiction in which eight people with the debilitating skin illness, Hidradenitis Suppurativa take drastic measures to raise awareness. (If you Google the words Hidradenitis Suppurativa, please be advised: images can be graphic). Before Eight on a Blade, I wrote HS Warrior, essays on my personal experiences with Hidradenitis Suppurativa. I am currently working on a sci-fi time travel series. I have actually self-published somewhere around 30 titles. I gave up keeping count.
Do you have a favorite book/story among the one’s you’ve written? Why is it so special to you?
Nero’s Fiddle is my absolute favorite, a post-apocalyptic thriller/sci fi. It’s kind of a Tom Cruise/Bruce Willis action except the heroes are women. It is detailed and descriptive in its portrayal of America after an electromagnetic pulse attack and it has quite a few unexpected plot twists. I also like the Sword of Tilk Trilogy, a young adult fantasy. It was so much fun writing the real world, then writing the fantasy world.
Do you know how all of your characters look and sound?
Before I put pen to paper (or get on the computer) I visualize my characters: how they act, how they dress, talk and move, and how they interact. I run dialogue in my head until I have it memorized then I’m ready to start writing it down.
Can you read other things when you’re working on a book, or do you have to stick with writing?
I stick with the writing, so much that dishes don’t get washed and laundry doesn’t get done until I can pull myself out of the world I am creating to get those things done. Nothing else exists except what I am working on. I don’t read anything because I don’t want what I’m reading to influence what I’m writing.
What is the hardest scene you’ve ever written?
The running scene in Nero’s Fiddle. It was set in Washington DC. Even though my best friend and I visited DC, I didn’t go the route of the scene because I hadn’t written it yet. I relied on maps – street maps as well as satellite maps – to determine the route.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
No tombstone for me. My ashes will be buried in a bio-urn and I’m coming back as a Japanese Maple tree.
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
One reviewer said about Nero’s Fiddle that it was “better than a Saturday night date!” The best compliment I can think of is for someone to tell me, “I didn’t want to put your book down,” or “at the end, I wanted more.” I have been told, “your story made me cry.” Though I don’t intend to make anyone cry, it means that I must be doing something right.
What are you most nostalgic for from your childhood?
My father waking us up about 5:00 on a Sunday morning and driving to the north Georgia mountains. My mother and brother would fall asleep and it would be just me and my dad awake. It was quiet and peaceful. I stayed awake because I didn’t want to miss anything and my Dad depended on me to keep his coffee cup filled from the thermos he brought.
What is one question you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview?
Where does your inspiration come from/where do you get your ideas? The answer is everywhere and everything. For instance, I wrote Project Moreau from a story I heard on the news. I got the inspiration for Nero’s Fiddle from another book. Inspiration and ideas are everywhere, you just have to be open to them.
– – –
Alright, thanks to Pen for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. Have you read any of her books before? Do you know anyone afflicted with Hidradenitis Suppurativa?