Interview with Katie Penryn

What's the story behind your latest book?
"Christmas in Mazita" was written because I wanted to write a Christmas story featuring Bob Dukes and his three children, Poppy, Suze and Charlie.The three children and their father are loosely based on my younger sister, brother and me, and our father who was Commercial Officer for the British High Commission in Mombasa, Kenya. This is the only one of the Mazita stories to have a factual base. I took several incidents from our childhood and combined them in time and space to write the story. Everything that happens in this story did actually happen but not all at the same time. I can't say any more without giving away the story.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have always wanted to write and did write two novels in the '8o's while I was living in Saudi Arabia. Although some interest was shown by a publisher at the time, they did not accept either novel. Once I was back in Europe and working again, I didn't have the time to continue. Now my children are grown up and so I have the time. Self-publishing has done away with the gatekeepers in the traditional publishing houses and anyone can write and publish.
What are you working on next?
In the Mazita series I am working on a murder mystery in which poor old Bob Dukes is once again called upon to perform a task for which he is ill-equipped - private detective for the Governor. What he would do if he didn't have Poppy to help him, I just don't know.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I run a holiday home business in the South West of France. That keeps me busy with guests in the summer and the maintenance out of season. It is a wonderful place to live and I feel blessed to be here after thirty years in Africa.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
In several different ways: sometimes I surf for free books, sometimes books are recommended by friends, and sometimes I buy books for research into different genres, especially those in which I write myself.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was way back in 1983 - a romance. The male protagonist was based on my then husband. The editor I sent it back, saying the hero's mood swings were unbelievable! I ended up using it for scrap.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My Kindle. Sometimes, I will use the e-reader on my PC, but only for non-fiction.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Kenya. My father was the Commercial Officer for the British High Commission in Mombasa and my mother had a dairy farm up-country, outside Nairobi. Mombasa was a marvellous place to be a child in those days. The downside was that I had to go to boarding school up-country when I was eight. My Mazita stories are based on that time.
Published 2014-02-13.
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