Hello my readers:) I am very excited to share with you my first collaborative interview with the amazing Sophie, from Beware of the Reader. We chose to learn everything about Penelope Douglas who was so kind to answer all our silly and curious questions. We love her books, style and characters and of course this interview brought us immense joy. Hope you’ll love it as well, because we really put our heart in making it real:) Sophie, we did it:D:D:D
R&S: How was little Penelope? Shy? Outspoken? Walk the line? Daredevil? What were her dreams? And who is grown up Penelope? How would you describe yourself in five words?
Penelope: Well, I’m certainly not shy about my childhood and the things that have shaped who I am. I was very shy as a kid. I walked the line, never broke rules, and I never really peeled back the curtain. I never asked myself “what will happen if I break a rule.” I never gauged consequences. If someone told me not to do it, I didn’t. As an adult and the mistakes that come with freedom, I learned to take chances and stand my ground, even if I stand alone. I’m not sure how I would describe myself. I want to be brave and kind, but also hard-working, adventurous, and helpful. I’m still working on some of those.
R&S: What are your weaknesses? Say I would love being your beta reader (totally random…) or having very early ARCs what should I do to convince you? Offer a 500 Sephora Gift Card? Send gallons of Ben and Jerry? A night out at a male stripper bar? Horse riding (the real horse you naughty girl! )? Tell us what you kryptonite is 🙂
Penelope: Ha! 😉 Well, I don’t use betas too much. I trust my editor, and if you have too many cooks in the kitchen, they’ll all tell you something different. And then you’re more confused than before you started! I’d say, just be around. If I see you enough to recognize you online, I’ll recognize your name on the sign-up sheet.
R&S: If I do recall correctly your husband has a thing for redheads. What’s your type Penelope? Brooding and commanding like Michael Crist? Mysterious like Jared? Other? Do they need to be muscled? Intellectual?
Penelope: Yes, he loves redheads. I tried to dye my hair once, but I ended up not liking it. Personally, I write my types. I like jerks in my books. It’s a fantasy and love/hate is full of passion and great banter. It keeps my interest. In real life, I just love men who are self-sufficient and go with the flow. I appreciate men who are different from me. My friend has a husband who vacuums, and she hates to do that. That’s great. I love to vacuum, and my husband hates to. I like someone who’s everything I’m not.
R&S: Where do you get your inspiration from? From some past experiences? From people watching? Reading other books and authors? Movies? Something else?
Penelope: Everywhere! I always write stories inspired by my life. Write what you know. That’s the advice, and it’s served me well. But I also take inspiration from other artists. I love writing intense situations, most of which I’ve never endured, but I love seeing how my heroines fight back.
R&S: Among your books there is a recurring theme about bullying (Bully, Punk 57, Corrupt…) why is this theme so dear to your heart? Were you bullied as a kid? Or the bully? Or was it your teacher experience that inspired this theme?
Penelope: I had experiences as a kid, but mostly, I just write love/hate, and I can see how that resembles bullying. Readers often only see the hero’s behavior, but when I write, it’s the heroine I’m concentrating on. Her pain, her reactions. For instance, Damon attacks Rika in Corrupt. This caused an uproar with some readers and that’s fine. For me, though, it was simply a catalyst to see what she was going to do in that situation. And she stabbed him! That had me cheering. That’s what I saw. I just want to write women who are driven to the edge.
R&S: You never stay in a comfort zone. Bully was provocative and a real revolution in the genre; Corrupt provoked strong reactions among your readers kind of “hate it or love it”. With Punk 57 the female character was not someone we could admire and love at least not right away. We love and admire you for this audacity but what are the taboos or controversial topics you would never feature in your books? Or are you fearless and ready to write about everything in the hope to open some minds maybe? What is motivating these choices?
Penelope: Thank you! That’s good to hear. I’m always nervous I’ve gone too far, but if I love it, others will, too, so I just stick with that motto 😉 There are really no taboo subjects I would never write. Never say never. Things that I find hard to process in TV, books, or film are drugs and prison rape. It’s not my cup of tea, so I might not ever write something like that.
R&S: What genre is more fun to write? Romance or dark romance?
Penelope: Definitely dark. I love writing the insane characters.
R&S: I don’t recall reading about parents in your books or maybe as an after thoughts or being abused. Why is that? Your characters are either teens or young adults and all the attention is centered on them. No real family support or inspirational parents. Is it a conscious choice? Is it inspired by your experience, personal or as a teacher? Totally random?
Penelope: I wanted to write young love stories for adult women. Having gatekeepers (parents, teachers, etc.) constantly around makes that hard, because they would curb the behavior of the characters. But I also find it’s perhaps an unconscious, personal choice, too. I write what I know, and I was the oldest of five kids, and my mother was an addict, so you can imagine how I grew up early without a lot of support.
R&S: I’ve recently written a post about indie authors vs traditionally published authors. I think you experienced both publisher and indie. What motivated your choice to go all indie on us? Was it total control on your creative work? A bad experience or unmet expectations with the publisher? Something else? And could you become a publisher for other authors.
Penelope: I consider myself a hybrid. I still have a great relationship with my publisher, even though I’ve decided to go my own way for the time being. As I said, I write mostly young love books for adult readers. That’s hard for a publisher to market. Contemporary is still more popular, because it appeals to a wider audience. I could change, but I decided I like what I write, and I’m not inspired to do that yet.
R&S: What are you the proudest so far related to writing your books?
Penelope: I guess I hope that they’re original. I may not sell as well as others, but I sleep easily at night knowing that my covers aren’t copies of a copy of a copy. My stories are exactly what I want them to be, and I don’t cater to demands. I enjoy making people talk about the books even if it’s angry talk.
R&S: Do you dream of collaborating with other authors or are you more of a lone wolf? What would be your dream collaboration?
Penelope: I like to work alone. I don’t want to be a slave to someone else’s timeline. BUT…I am working with another author eventually, simply because the idea was just too great. I think readers are going to flip. Can’t wait!
R&S: What book of yours would you like to be turned in a motion picture and why?
Penelope: Corrupt or Punk 57. My work, I feel, has gotten better, so I’d prefer my more recent books. Plus, they’re almost the only ones with a solid sub-plot outside of the romance. It would make for a more well-rounded story.
R&S: Who do you consider being your most complex character? And do you get angry with your characters? Maybe shout and rant? Talk to them? Do they make you all hot and bothered (I was totally hot and bothered with the sauna scene! Panty combustion)
Penelope: Jax and Damon. They’re the more tortured ones, and while it’s frustrating to justify the things they do, their moments of weakness are rare and all the more special. They’re crazy but rewarding and fun to write. And no, I don’t really shout at them. I AM them. I go through every emotion they go through as I write the scenes, so I can get the feeling right. I’ll be crying, breathing hard, fisting my hands…I’m pretty exhausted after a day of writing.
R&S: Among your male characters who would you:
-discuss books and movie with? Madoc
-call to change a tire? Jared
-go to prom with? Kai
-ask to win a business deal? Michael
-have a one night stand? Damon
-marry and have baby with? Will
R&S: What superpower do you possess? And what other power do you dream of ?
Penelope: I can find things my family can’t. And I dream of being able to fly!
R&S: Who do you want to be when you grow up? 🙂
Penelope: Really, I’d love a spell doing something where I move around. Candle-making, wood-working, anything…I’m so sick of sitting on my butt!
R&S: And what would you plan on doing if writing would no longer be part of your life?
Penelope: I’d be back teaching. I miss it and miss feeling like I’m making the world a better place. Of course, I think putting art out there does that, too, but teachers are invaluable, and I do miss contributing in that way.
For more info on Penelope please access the links below:
Official Site: http://penelopedouglasauthor.com/
Goodreads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7139136.Penelope_Douglas