Interview with Penny Hooper

What is your writing process?
Well, after I have thought of an idea, I write that idea down, first of all. More often than not, it comes to me when I'm busy and I cannot develop it right away. Either I'll write it down on a notepad, on my phone or I'll create a Word Document straight away and write down exactly what I've got. It can either be just an good idea or a scene.

After I've got past the idea stage I think about what the plot can be, what happens in it? How does it start? How does it end? Does something else happen in the middle?

Then I think about if it's going to be a short story? Will it work as a short story? Or is it better off being a novel? Or is there room for being a series? (Who doesn't like a series?)

Then I start writing, usually characters develop along as I write and I may have to alter a few things along the way.

Sometimes a story can come to me and it's easy and usually good fun to write! Like when I wrote 'It's My Mistake', others are more complex and can take time to develop a plotline and character's backstories, like 'Rose Garden Sanatorium'.
How do you approach cover design?
Cover designs are good fun! I like this question! I actually wrote a blog post about this recently.

I actually do this myself, and I sometimes find myself making random ones just for fun.

First of all, I use, if you haven't heard of it, go check it out! It's good fun for Facebook Pages and Twitter banner covers too!

Creating a cover design for my book 'It's My Mistake' was easy, I used everything there was in Canva. The picture used, that's a stock photo from Canva, I just added a bit of colour to it, added my name and added a title in a big eye-catching font. But, nothing too overpowering.

One of the issues I wanted to avoid, was using a real person's face, most romantic-style books seem to have a woman or man or both on the front cover, and although I have used a woman's arms and hands on mine, I didn't want to add a face or anything too 'sexy' as I find these aren't professional enough.

Rose Garden Sanatorium was slightly different mind you, I've spent a few times going back and forth with that one, trying to find the right photo for the cover - going to different websites to look at stock photos, and altering the title to have it eyecatching and professional. I'm now at the stage that I am happy with it! Finally!
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I've been reading since I was very small, my mother would read to me at night, but when I really got back into reading after school and college (of course, reading wasn't cool when you're a teenager!) I got hooked on Harry Potter.

I first read Harry Potter on holiday, my mum had actually bought it for herself, and after she read it, she gave it to me. That was it, I was hooked. I would wait for the next one and the next one to be published and I remember when the films came out (although, not a huge fan of the films).

But Harry Potter means a lot to me because not only this was where all my reading and book collecting started, but I loved the idea of it transporting me into another place. Somewhere more interesting than my shy and boring life. Plus, the way JK Rowling has made it really realistic and, makes it sound like it could really be happening in real life, really got me. This is why my 'Rose Garden Sanatorium' is a little like this. No, ulternative universe, this really could be happening right now and we not know it!

Another book, 'The Amulet of Samarkand' by Jonathan Stroud, again, it is a young adult book, but I absolutely loved the humour in it. I'm English, I love my sarcastic humour, and if you ever read it, you will see why I love the book so much! Ironically, a waterstones staff member suggested it to me, so, thank you to that guy!

Another book, not really a favourite, but something that really struck me that I can enjoy most books is, 'Thursdays in the Park' by Hilary Boyd, she's not as well known as JK Rowling, but after reading this book, I was surprised with myself that I actually really enjoyed it! I got it free after winning a competition on Goodreads and when I got it, I wasn't overly bothered about it, but hey, it'll look good on my bookshelf! But when I started reading it, I got hooked and spent many nights staying up and reading 'one more chapter'.

Another well known author, Dan Brown, I've read every one of his books, and I love all of them, I couldn't give you a specific book, but the idea that I have read 'Deception Point' and 'Digital Fortress' and not many people know he has these books (They're his earlier ones before 'The Da Vinci Code') makes me feel like a real Dan Brown fan! The fact he add in real historical and religious contexts and got me interested in subjects I never thought I'd be interested in, really gives me an appreciation for the author - again, something that I have tried to do in my books too, well, mainly Rose Garden Sanatorium!

One last book, Bible of the Dead (or The Lost Goddess outside the United Kingdom) by Tom Knox (or Sean Thomas Knox), I came across his book in a bargin bin in B&M or somewhere similar, and again, something that got me hooked. It has almost everything, history (Khmer Rouge and Cambodia), suspense, action, a creey element, and romance.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I haven't actually invested in a Kindle or iPad, I actually use either my mobile (unless I'm worried it'll drain the battery too much) or I'll sit on my laptop and read via the Kindle app.

Although, I'm old-fashioned, I much prefer a real physical copy for my bookshelf! Hardbacks preferably, although I'm usually tight on money, so paperpacks are usually bought!
Describe your desk
A mess. I can't even say it's an organised mess.

It's usually full of pens, paper, notepads, a disgarded tea, my mobile somewhere on there if it's not on charge, but it's usally hidden under piles of notes and I also have things like make-up, multi-vitamins and deodrant lying around as it doubles up as a vanity desk while my laptop is loading up in the mornings.

One of these days I would love to get a real nice desk, something antique with lots of fancy draws! (To match my antique book collection I will hopefully have at that point too!)
When did you first start writing?
My mother tells me all the time that I used to write 'stories' for her, and get her to read them. She would say I was about 8 years old.
I don't remember this too much, that was over 20 years ago! But I have dedicated my book 'Rose Garden Sanatorium' for her, for this reason.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Ah, spoiler alert!

The main reason why I started writing 'Rose Garden Sanatorium' was mainly because I just stopped and realised, hang on, I have a love for the supernatural (paranormal things, not the TV show, but that's not too bad though!) and I realised that most of my 'ideas' were either sci-fi or horror. So, I decided to set myself a challenge, and what a challenge it has been!

In terms of the story, well, it's long and complex. Book 1 is just an introduction to a much larger complex story, one that has been giving me a headache for about eight months now. But without giving too much away, let's just say that if you like theorising about where religion came from, you may very well like this series!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My bucket list and the fact that life is too short.

Because I have loved writing for so long, I have always told myself that one of the things on my bucket list (probably number 1) is to write a book. I've done that now, I will admit, but because I like physical books, it's got to go physical otherwise it doesn't, personally, count.

Plus, after my uncle John died, I realised life is too short. I can't wait around for tomorrow, or the next day, or the next year, I just need to do it.

In a small way, I also would love the idea of being a successful author, to be able to use my power as a public figure to do good! I love helping people, bringing a smile to faces, or just surprising people. The world is fully of too much negativity, I like to try and balance that.

Also, I'd like to try to make this, on my own - as an indie author, rather than having to rely on publishers, agents, etc, and I'm starting to realise how difficult that is! I may have to get over this stubornness and reach out to publishers and agents with my new book, Rose Garden Sanatorium, as I want it to be big, I want people to read it and enjoy it as much as I have writing it and thinking up the storyline!
What are you working on next?
Well, after Rose Garden Sanatorium, I have a few ideas. Although, I've already thought up another book in the Rose Garden series - call it an Epilogue to the series, if you will.

But I've also got plans to write a horror story about a girl called Bee who has nothing but bad luck all her life, but it turns out it wasn't bad luck, it was paranormal. Of course, with lots of my signature penny-twists!

I've also got another story about an alternative universe / future world, where women rule the world, not men. I liked this idea as it highlights the way things are going at the moment. I understand there is still sexism, I get it myself, a lot. But there is also a risk of it going the other way. Women getting too much power. And this brought out this story idea!

And, I have another one which, is, although I have said I'm not keen on alternative universes, I am also extremely interested in the idea of parallel universes, so I came up with another one where these parallel universe are brought together - it's more of a spacy sci-fi book this one.

I did also think up an idea to write a steampunk book too, originally I thought up the idea as I love steampunk and it'll be ace to write a steampunk novel, only because I'd like to see it turn into a film and I don't see enough decent steampunk films! But, then I had the idea of telling friends that I was going to turn them into characters in my book, and I decided after a while, that was a terrible idea, especially because relationships change all the time in my life, so after deciding I was going to make one friend into this character in the book, my relationship changed with him and I was worried it'll make things awkward. I'm hoping he will forget he was going to be this character and I'll write it anyway and hope he doesn't notice it. It'll still make an interesting book, especially since it's got lots of Penny-twists in it too!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
At the moment, I'm actually a student. I'm currently completing a BSc (Hons) Degree in Psychology. After that I hope to move onto Postgraduate as I love learning new things!

Other than that, not much is happening in my world around writing, marketing and studying. I live in an isolated village at the moment, in Scotland. I had to move back in with my parents a few years ago after a very messy breakup and I've been concentrating on just getting my degree finished (and now writing) and once it's complete, I'm moving on again. But I do get out walking, hiking and the occasional trip to costa in the nearest town!

I'm looking at buying a car again soon too, so hopefully, if money permits, I will get out and go on more adventures again soon! I love photography and travelling, so I love seeing new places. Especially something with history!
Published 2017-08-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

I Fell in Love with a Psychopath
Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off until Jan. 23!) Words: 142,720. Language: English. Published: September 29, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Romance » Suspense
When she first moved to the city, Jo met Liam. She had a small crush on him from day one. Finally, one day Liam asks Jo out on a date and she is stupidly nervous and surprised he even likes her! Jo meets Xander in a bar. She keeps bumping into him, sometimes deliberately and she finds herself craving more of him. The problem was, one of them is a psychopath and he now has an obsession with Jo...
It's My Mistake
Price: $2.99 $0.99 USD. (67% off until Feb. 11!) Words: 117,520. Language: British English. Published: August 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Suspense, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Alice wants a career change. Her dream job would be to work in a hotel. But after messing up an interview at a well-known hotel chain in London, she wasn't expecting to hold the attention of the Global Business Manager. That interview day would be the day that changed Alice’s life. But is this alluring Global Business Manager as amazing as he seems? And who is that handsome man at the hotel?