Welcome to my guest page. Here, every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation, over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, if they are not driving, with a friend about their work in progress, or latest book release. I’ll be talking to all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers.
Today, I’m welcoming Penny Hampson to the clubhouse tearoom to share a cuppa and a chat. Hello Penny. I hope the tea is to your liking.
Hello, Paula. Thank you for inviting me to the tearooms for a chat. It’s lovely to meet you at last.
And you too. I know you’re very excited at the moment as Darkstroke will be releasing your first novel with them very soon. First may I begin by asking you when you first began your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
Writing mystery/romance was a logical choice for me. Books had offered me the chance to escape from my problems on days when everything seemed to be conspiring against me. I knew I felt better after reading an uplifting and compelling story, with characters I cared about overcoming their problems, and – more often than not – finding their happy ever after. So, because I’m also passionate about history, my writing journey began with my traditional historical mystery/romances.
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
At the moment, just two. The first is a short story set in present day Scotland. Some years ago, my family and I lived in Scotland and a house that we considered buying at the time had a lovely rowan tree in the front garden. The lady selling the house told me that if I bought it, I ought not to get rid of the tree, because it was there as protection against witches. We didn’t buy that house, but I always wondered what might happen if the next owner did decide to chop down the tree.
My second project is a continuation of my Gentlemen Series, telling the story of Jack Ashdown, late of His Majesty’s Navy, and a charming French emigrée whom he has been ordered to keep under surveillance as she is suspected of being a Napoleonic spy. Expect lots of historical detail!
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter?
I only do a very sketchy synopsis, and things only start to gel once I’ve started writing. Generally, I have my two main characters in mind and I know where I want them to end up, but it’s the journey that is open to change. I never know where my characters will take me.
What did you learn when writing your book The Unquiet Spirit? In writing it, how much research did you do?
Gosh, I did quite a bit of research for this book, even though it is a contemporary mystery. A key element of the story is a missing early 19th century portrait, so I did a lot of research on portrait painters working in this period in Bath. You’d be amazed how many there were! I finally settled on one who isn’t too well known, but just famous enough to make his works reasonably valuable. You’ll have to read the book to discover who he is.
Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?
See my answer to the question below.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I do write under a pseudonym!
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
That’s difficult to answer. Sometimes I’m up early and can spend several hours writing before real life catches up. Other days I don’t get started until the afternoons and carry on working into the night. It all depends on what my ‘real’ life commitments are.
Do you set yourself a daily word count?
No. I’m just glad when I manage to make a reasonable amount of progress on the particular project I’m involved in on the day.
How many hours in a day do you write?
Some days my writing hours are restricted, other days, when I’m free to write and I’m ‘in the zone’, I have to be dragged off the computer. I’m very strict on meeting deadlines though.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
A first draft can take from between three to six months; then begins the long job of getting second opinions, checking references, re-writing, and editing, until I’m happy with it. The Unquiet Spirit started life back in 2018.
Thank you so much for joining me for this chat, Penny. I do hope you will join me again soon.
Amazon Author Page (UK): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Penny-Hampson/
Amazon Author Page (US): amazon.com/author/pennyhampson