Megan's 5 star rated Contemporary Romance

Friday, 7 December 2012

Penny Estelle

A Warm Welcome to Penny
Hi everybody!  My name is Penny Estelle.  I was a school secretary for 21 years and retired in 2009.  We moved to our retirement home in Kingman, AZ and we live on 54 acres in a very rural area.  Actually we live “off the grid”.  We live on solar and wind.  A real adjustment for a city girl.  I must say – I love it.  Nothing like walking out your front door and hear coyotes howling in the distance and seeing a sky bursting with stars.  It is breathtaking!

 I started writing for kids right before I retired.  There is always material when kids are involved.  I am pleased to say I have several MG/tween books out and my debut book for adults was just recently released.  I also have a non-fiction story out about our life with solar.

 Here's the blurb for 'At What Price?'

Katherine Gardner is awakened at 6:30 in the morning with a call from a strange woman who claims to have her granddaughter, Rio. This woman is calling the police if Katherine doesn’t make arrangements for somebody to pick this little girl up.

Katherine is a fifty-six years old woman and all alone, since her husband died over three years ago. Her life takes a dramatic turn when six-year old Rio comes to stay with her. Rio is a scared little girl whose life is filled with uncertainty and fear. 

In her grandmother, Rio finds a safe haven and an unconditional love that she has never known in her six short years and Katherine has found a love to fill the void that has been absent for way too long.

Unfortunately Katherine’s daughter, who deserted Rio, has other ideas.

Before treating us to an excerpt, Penny Reveals:

From where do you get inspiration and what inspired you to write At What Price?
I honestly can’t say where my inspiration comes from.  I get a hint of an idea and I just run with it.  I was talking to a friend who had a mother (in her 60’s) and had been an alcoholic for as long as she could remember.  I also had a brother that was a druggie, but he finally beat it.  Addiction is a horrible thing.  An idea come to mind for my story At What Price and I ran with it.

And the heroine? How do you relate to her?
I probably would have done exactly what my character Katherine Gardner did.  She took in her abandoned granddaughter and protected her every step of the way.  I have seven grandkids and would do the very same thing.

Who controls the story – you or your characters?
In the beginning of my stories I am in charge – BUT not long into the story, they always seem to take over.

What do you like best and least about writing?
I have several on both ends.  I really like thinking up a unique storyline that I don’t think/hope hasn’t been done, especially for my MG audience.  I like letting my mom read it before sending it in, knowing she is going to rave about it, because she would do nothing else, even if it sucked.  I like when my plot completely changes because the characters do it their way and I really like typing THE END!   

I don’t like proofing a story for the 10th time because maybe I should add this or that.  Patience is not a word in my dictionary and the waiting game that is involved in submitting, waiting for an editor to get in touch, etc. drives me crazy.  When an editor points out I am head-hopping when I go to huge lengths not to do that and yet, there it is in black in white (which means I should have proofed 11 times – LOL) And sometimes I really hate typing THE END!

Do you have a writing routine?
No I don’t but I surely do wish I did have one.  I am a very early riser, so when I’m up at 4 am I will write.  I am a horizontal writer with paper and pen.  I can’t seem to stick to a schedule for writing, even though I am retired.  I need help in this area!  Send me help Megan!

What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
I almost hate to say this out loud, but some 35 years ago I wrote a historical romance.  I was sure it was a best seller.  I had actually just started reading myself when I decided to try it.  It took me 5 years on a Brothers typewriter.  I thought it was FABULOUS.  I sent out 2 query letters and was promptly rejected.  I put it in a box and it has lived in my closet since.  I am thinking of taking it out and trying my hand at romance…for real.  I took it out and read a few chapters and actually groaned.  Thank goodness I never sent the manuscript out.  I am hoping I have learned a few things since then and it could be a good story!

What was your favourite book as a child/teen/adult?
I never read as a child or teen – only what was given as homework.  When I got married and had babies, then I was looking for an escape.  My very favorite author was Rosemary Rogers.  It might sound pathetic, but her books are still my favorite today.

How do you like to spend your free time?
I love working and doing things outside.  We live very rural, so we are always exploring and four wheeling.  I always look forward to that.

What is your culinary speciality?
Cooking was/is not a strong point of mine.  Thank goodness my hubby is a fabulous cook.  BUT – that being said, I make a mean green chilli and a dish called pasta bake.

In a few words, how would you describe yourself? How do you think your husband/partner would describe you?
I am not a disciplined person, unfortunately.  I will tell myself – tomorrow I am getting 5 chapters done – but if a better offer comes along, I’m out of there.  I like to play, travel, gamble, and I love being with family.
I just asked him and he said, “You’re a pain in the…” Then he restated.  This is a second marriage for both of us.  We have been married for 16 years.  He describes me as the person who has made his life the best it’s ever been.  Can I get an “OOOOHHHHH”?

And what can we look forward to from you in the future?
HMMMM – exciting?  I am finishing a 5th story for a book that will be titled The Wickware Sagas – Volume One.  It will consist of 5 short stories about kids of today doing a little time travel to meet some historical legends.  Miss Wickware is the history teacher and each student draws a name out of a box.  An oral report is due the next day.  Somehow, some way, one of these students travels back in time and comes nose to nose with their drawn subject.

Now A Taste of Penny:

When she first came to live with me, Rio was a frightened little girl who cringed at every loud noise. She chewed on her fingernails and was terrified to sleep by herself. After two weeks had gone by without hearing from Lacey, I decided school was in order.

We went to the school and, after explaining the situation, I was able to fill out the paperwork. Rio seemed excited about the prospect, but when it was time to take her to class, she was as pale as a hen’s egg and had a death grip on my hand. The fear in her eyes was heartbreaking. I gave some flimsy excuse about school already being in session for the day so we would start fresh tomorrow.

The receptionist said, “It won’t be easier tomorrow. I can assure you, she will be perfectly fine if you allow us to take her to class now.”

This bitch had no heart. “I’m aware and thank you for your concern. We will be back tomorrow.”

I took Rio to the store to buy school supplies and a few new dresses, but she seemed to retreat back to the scared little girl I found in the plane.  At dinner, I talked about the new friends she would meet and all the stuff she would learn in first grade. I was babbling about riding the school bus when she interrupted me.
“Mimi?” she whispered, “where will I go if nobody picks me up from school?” She bit her lip, as if to keep it from quivering, and her eyes seemed to fill her entire face.

I pulled my chair next to hers and ran my hand down her mass of tangled curls, physically hurting for my granddaughter. “Rio, as long as you are with me, I will pick you up – always! That’s a promise. I love you and you will always be safe with me.”

For  Hike Up Devil's Mountain click here  A Float Down the Canal   click here  Billy Cooper's Awesome Nightmare click here
Thank you so much Megan for letting me come by and visit with you.  I can always be reached on my website  or my blog  I am thrilled when people stop by and leave a comment. 
Pleasure to meet you, Penny!
Now leave a comment for the chance to win an ecopy of 'At What Price?' (don't forget to include your email address)


  1. Hi Penny, and welcome. This book looks sure to tug at the heartstrings.

  2. The children you've known have certainly given you good plots, Penny. They say write what you know and you've done that. Out of your experience, mixed with a little imagination you've invented a dish worth baking by the sound of things. Keep writing.

    1. Hi Francene and thanks for stopping in. When writing for/about kids there is always an endless supply of ideas.

  3. This plot sounds riveting, Penny! And yes, most every grandmama I know would do the same thing. I hope you do re-work your historical romance, I think you'd amaze yourself now! Epecially when your characters take over!

    1. Hey, Gail! I just finished a project of short stories for the Wickware Sagas, so I really do think I will try my hand at reworking this romance. It makes me a little nervous - but ya never know unless you try it!

      Thanks mucho for stopping!

  4. Hi Penny, nice post. Children are the most precious things in our life, although I know some parents don't see it that way. Each has a story to tell, and I'm sure you do it well with the experience you have had.

    I agree, rewrite the romance. You never know.

  5. Wonderful interview. Children are a blessing, cherish them.

  6. Enjoyed the interview. I always like getting to know an author and her writing process. I think it's cool you wrote MG stories and now into adults. Aren't we lucky to be authors in this day and age so we can play with all kinds of stories? Best wishes...

  7. I want to thank you all again for stopping and of course to Megan for having me. I drew the winner and it was Francene. I would love to send the rest of you a copy if you would like it. email me @ and put send me a copy in the subject line and I will get it to you.

    Thanks again, all!!

    Merry Christmas...