Interview with Penelope Merrell

When did you first start writing?
As a serious creative endeavor, more than three years ago. The creative work for most of my life has been in painting and sculpture.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Last year, the Southern California Society of Children's Books/Writers & Illustrators gave "SQUAWK!, A Story in Fowl Language" the 2012 Sue Alexander Award for the best unpublished manuscript. My manuscript is the graphic art form (comic book style). An agent and editor showed immediate interest and discussed revisions which I made. Within a couple of months, both dropped my book from consideration.

In following months, I contacted a number of other agents and editors. None were interested. Finally, I asked myself: What do you want to do with your graphic art stories? Research brought me to Smashwords and Mark Coker's business model. I decided this is for me.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Maybe "success" is premature. My graphic books are available. They have received good reviews. Mostly, it has been encouraging and I am working on other books to publish.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The sense of accomplishment of combining story and art.
What do your fans mean to you?
I assume "fans" means readers. I want readers to see how picture and dialog work together to tell the story. The sequential panels are much more than super hero Wham - Bang - Pow.
What are you working on next?
I have several stories that I'm noting, revising, and imaging. One will soon present itself more fully and I'll take off with it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I walk each day, love to see films, lunch with sons and family, go to the beach in Santa Monica, attend my writing group.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I randomly cruise pages on the various sites, check out highest rated, check out authors interviewed on PBS or other radio programs, note books that friends recommend.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
For my Life Stories group: wash day on the farm where we were living and my father's battle to start the gas engine of the old Norge washing machine.
What is your writing process?
I start with a very simple story line and begin mental images of how I will panel the story. I imagine the setting, who the people are, and how all look; then introduce the dialog of each that carries with the story panels.
How do you approach cover design?
I design my own covers with two specifics in mind. [1] simple colors with picture coordinated to actual graphics of the story. [2] I double check to make sure the cover title and text are readable at thumbnail size.
Published 2014-07-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Boy Puppet
By
Price: Free! Words: 40. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2014. Category: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Fantasy
Mums and Pops are planning the best for their boy; so Boy gives them his best. A fable with a twist on the Pinocchio story. A graphic book in 40 pages.
Twilight of an Artist
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 40. Language: English. Published: December 17, 2013. Category: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Literary
As a young man, Leon Bell and six artists formed an emerging art group dubbed the "Gritty City Seven." Leon is the sole survivor of this group which has long dispersed. He's had a lifelong, successful career at Brunnel Gallery. Now an aging artist, a crisis forces him to confront the end of his painting career. A 130 page graphic novel.
Squawk! A Story in Fowl Language
By
Price: Free! Words: 40. Language: English. Published: August 17, 2013. Category: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
A venturesome chick falls in a hole and needs help from the barnyard fowl. A 10 page graphic style story
Death
By
Price: Free! Words: 30. Language: English. Published: July 16, 2013. Category: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Comics
If you could have a conversation with Death, what would you want to know?
Nigel & Jinx
By
Price: Free! Words: 10. Language: English. Published: July 5, 2013. Category: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Graphic novel
The dog, Jinx, is not very happy when a stray cat comes to stay.