Find out where Peni Jo gets her inspiration, and more!
Thanks so much for agreeing to be with us today! What 5 things should readers know about you?
- I spent most of my childhood and teen years indoors writing stories.
- I’ve been happily married since 1986 to a wonderful man.
- Getting an historical novel (or 2!) published was my lifelong dream—come true!
- I observe strangers and audition them for characters in my imagination.
- I love cats.
Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? 😉
Daniel, my 8th great uncle, actually means well, but kinda goes about things the wrong way. He’s been dealt a bad hand in life despite the efforts of his loving mother. He figures his family would be better off without him, and so abandons them for that reason—not out of meanness. Daniel would be happy with a bottle of rum and his best buddy, Riff, on that desert isle.
Mary is the good minister’s daughter who has always been told what to do and how to think, and is easily smitten by the roguish Daniel. She’d want her little sister with her on that isle.
Absalom Hart has a strong sense of justice. His past is filled with loss and sorrow, and he’s the quiet, brooding type. He would be content on that isle with a loving wife.
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
After the publication of Puritan Witch, most of my readers wanted to know what happened to Daniel. Not much is known about him after the Salem Witch Trials, so that left me lots of room to play! I didn’t intentionally plan to write a series, but I’m happy that that’s what has come to be!
I like it!
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
I have 2 big cardboard cartons filled with all my old stories written when I was a kid. That’s pretty much all I did; write stories! I had a fantastic English teacher in high school under which my writing just flourished. Then I grew up, got married, and life happened. The Muses, for whatever reason, seemed to hush. I lost my desire to write for over 20 years. And then online I met a 3rd cousin of mine who does genealogy. She told me about Rebecca Eames, among other common ancestors of ours and their fascinating true stories. I said, “Wow. That would make a great historical novel. Too bad I don’t write anymore.”
“Then write it,” my cousin said.
And it was like a switch had been turned on and my passion for writing has been restored ever since!
Family genealogy as inspiration—unique! Hmmm…there’s some pretty interesting stories in our history as well, come to think of it… 🙂
What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?
I write for the enjoyment of it. It’d be really great if my books took off, but if they don’t that’s all right too. The most challenging part about writing is after you get all your research done. The research is fun, but then you have all these FACTS to deal with; and how are you going to successfully balance fact and fiction? That and my horrible habit of procrastinating are my two main challenges.
Procrastination? I’m sure I have no idea what you’re talking about! 😉
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?
I am currently researching the Cocheco massacre of 1689 for the 3rd book in The Puritan Chronicles series. This event is mentioned briefly in Letters to Kezia and another branch of ancestors were involved in that event. I plan to take my time with this one (Letters worked up pretty quickly) so I can’t give a timeline on when this next book will be available. Hopefully by 2016!
What authors and/or books have inspired you?
Gone with the Wind is my all-time favorite. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have the patience to write a long piece of work like that. I myself have a short attention span and want to move on to the next thing, so I could not spend years and years writing the same book! Other favorite authors besides Margaret Mitchell are James Alexander Thom and Ken Follett. I really admire their writing styles.
Loved GWTW! Ken Follett too—talk about epic stories!
What are you currently reading? What are your thoughts about it so far?
I just started reading Lisa Gardner’s Crash and Burn. I like her suspense novels. I’m already on Chapter 6 and I’m hooked!
Haven’t read that one…yet… 🙂
If you had to “sell” this book in a single Tweet, what would you say?
Family secrets discovered in Colonial Connecticut. …..I don’t know…the character limit always gets me anxious!lol
Thank you, Peni Jo!
Keep reading to find out more about Peni and her latest book—LETTERS TO KEZIA!
PENI JO RENNER is the author of the IPPY award-winning novel Puritan Witch: the Redemption of Rebecca Eames. Originally from North Dakota, Peni now lives with her husband in Maryland where she is currently researching for the third book in the Puritan Chronicles series.
Publication Date: January 14, 2015
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Series: Book Two, The Puritan Chronicles
Genre: Historical Fiction
It is 1693 in Hereford, Connecticut, when Mary Case, the spinster daughter of a Puritan minister, finds herself hopelessly smitten by the roguish thief, Daniel Eames. Betrothed to a man she does not like or love, she is soon compelled to help Daniel escape from jail. Suddenly, she finds herself on the run, not only accused of being Daniel’s accomplice, but also of murder.
The fugitive pair soon finds solace-and a mutual attraction-among the escapee’s Algonquin friends until two men from Daniel’s dark past hunt them down. After Mary is captured and returned home to await trial, a tragedy takes the life of her younger sister, revealing a dark secret Mary’s father has kept for months. But just as Mary learns she is pregnant, she makes a horrifying discovery about Daniel that changes everything and prompts her to develop an unlikely bond with his mother, Rebecca, who soon saves Mary from a shocking fate. It is not until years later that her daughter, Kezia, finally learns the truth about her biological father and family.
Letters to Kezia shares a courageous woman’s journey through a Puritan life and beyond as she struggles with adversity and betrayal, and discovers that loyalty can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.
Praise for Letters to Kezia:
“In the tradition of author Peni Jo Renner’s gripping debut novel, Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames, Letters to Kezia recounts the tale of courageous, compassionate, and relatable Mary, whose connection to Rebecca and her family is unforeseen and profound. The reader is captivated at the very first page, as Letters to Kezia is a story of forbidden love, deep family secrets, intrigue, murder, and atonement. Another beautifully written triumph for this author, whose immense gift for story-telling transports the reader into each scene so deftly, one can almost smell the wood smoke and hear the crackling of the fire in the hearth.” – Kelly Z. Conrad, award-winning author of Shaman
“Peni Jo Renner enthralled readers with Puritan Witch, the ordeal of Rebecca Eames, who was condemned to hang from Salem’s gallows as a witch. Now the Eames saga continues as Peni uses her special brand of witchery to bring Mary Case and Daniel Eames to vivid life, and shows us just how much a young woman will risk for love. Letters to Kezia is a poignant, true-life tale from colonial New England’s heartland which will captivate you, and keep you guessing until the end.” -JoAnn Butler, author of Rebel Puritan and The Reputed Wife
Buy the Book:
Letters to Kezia Blog Tour Schedule:
Monday, March 9
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, March 10
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Wednesday, March 11
Guest Post at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Thursday, March 12
Guest Post at Mythical Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Friday, March 13
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, March 16
Interview at Becky on Books
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Tuesday, March 17
Review at Deal Sharing Aunt
Wednesday, March 18
Review at Quirky Book Reviews
Thursday, March 19
Review at Book Nerd
Interview at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Friday, March 20
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Monday, March 23
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Friday, March 27
Review at Book Babe