Monday, October 10, 2011

Birthday Bash Day One: Penny Zeller

pennyHello, Wonderful Readers! This morning I'm kicking off the Blog Birthday Bash with our first interview and giveaway.

Please welcome Penny Zeller, author of Hailee.

Hello Andrea, thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog. It’s great to be here!

What is something about you that is little known to your readers? 

Hmmm. Let’s see…I met my husband through a prank phone call I made when we were both teenagers. J I wrote a humorous post about it here:

Take a minute to click the link and read this story. You won't be sorry you did.

What was it that made you start writing stories? 

I have had a love for writing since I was in second grade and rewrote Bible stories in my own little second grade commentary.J Throughout my school years, I would write stories and “publish” them in homemade cardboard books. In high school, I wrote stories where my friends were the main characters.

Fast forward several years to November of 2000 when I surrendered my writing to the Lord. I quit my fulltime job with a social services governmental agency so I could stay home with my infant daughter. That was the start of my career, beginning with writing magazine articles. Writing is my ministry and my passion and I pray I will glorify Him with each word I write.

Hailee by Penny Zeller: Book CoverWhat inspired this particular story? 

I knew beforehand that I would be writing a third book in this series. Hailee Annigan’s character was inspired by a piece of mail I received regarding orphanages. I knew I wanted to write a story about a girl placed in an orphanage and how she came to find herself in that predicament.

I introduced my main male character, Nate Adams, in the second novel in my series, Kaydie, and was excited to expound on his character and follow his struggles in answering God’s calling on his life.

What scene in Hailee stands out as your personal favorite? 

I have several favorite scenes, so it’s difficult to choose. One that comes to mind is the humorous scene when Hailee first arrives in Pine Haven. She’s looking for Reverend Nate Adams, whom she presumes is an elderly grandfatherly sort of man “graying and crouched over-with a soft-spoken wife and several grown children.”

After stepping off the train, Hailee attempts to locate Reverend Adams when she trips and falls, literally, into a man’s arms. Chastising herself for being so clumsy, Hailee notices that the man who caught her is “extremely handsome, with sandy hair, striking blue eyes, and a gentle smile” who teasingly tells her it’s his job to “prevent the pretty female passengers from tripping and falling.”

Hailee proceeds to ask the man if he could help her find Reverend Adams. That’s when he introduces himself to her as one and the same. It’s quite a humorous scene because Nate has his own preconceived notions of what Hailee would look like – an elderly spinster with thick spectacles and a tweed dress. It’s such a delightful way for Hailee and Nate to be introduced for the first time to each other!

I thought you set the stage well with those preconceived notions. I was actually eager to see their reactions to one another. It was a great scene. 

Among your body of work, what would you recommend to readers as your favorite novel or your best work? 

Wow! This is a great question! I honestly can’t say I have a favorite book I’ve written. My Montana Skies Series (McKenzie, Kaydie & Hailee) is very close to my heart as the Lord gave the series idea to me while I was going through a difficult time recovering from a car accident.

As a multi-published author, what words of wisdom do you have for those of us trying to break into the writing industry? 

When I chat with an unpublished writer, I ask what he/she envisions themselves doing for God’s Kingdom and how can I pray and encourage him/her in that pursuit. One of the most important things to remember in being a writer is that if God has called you to write, He will guide you, one step at a time.

God calls us all to do different things for His Kingdom. If He has called you to write, seek His guidance. Never give up, even when you feel like it or when someone has unkindly criticized you. Seek to please and honor Him in whatever you write, whether it is for the secular or the inspirational market; whether it be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, song lyrics, or a screenplay. Find a mentor and be open to ideas and suggestions from one who’s “been there, done that.” Join forces with other Christian writers. After all, we are all working for the same Boss.

I give more tips for writers, including sticking with writing and how to prepare for a writer’s conference here:

Do you have a book trailer for Hailee? 

Yes, I do. J And I love the music the producer chose for my Hailee book trailer! It can be seen here:

Where can readers find you on the web? 

I love to connect with my readers at - (Facebook) where I include “Just-for-fun Friday chats and much more!

Thank you again, Andrea, for having me as your guest. Thank you also for all you have done to help me promote Hailee. I appreciate you!

Thank you so much, Penny, for joining Andrea's Take for our Birthday Bash! It's been wonderful having you.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Penny is such a sweet lady.  She has agreed to provide a bookplate, personalized to whomever wins this giveaway.

Thanks so much, Penny!


Leave a comment in the comment section to be entered in the drawing. You can get up to two extra entries by doing the following:

Follow my Blog


Like Penny's Facebook page (the link is above).

If you choose the extra entries please leave a separate comment for each entry. The giveaway closes at 11:59 pm on October 16. 


  1. Hi Andrea ~ Thank you SO much for having me as your guest at your birthday bash! Have a wonderful week :)

  2. Wow, that seems like a very interesting book. I watched the book trailer and loved it! Please enter me in the drawing. Dena at:

  3. Hi Dena ~ Thanks for stopping by. I'm thrilled you enjoyed the book trailer! Have a great rest of your day :)

  4. Dena, I enjoyed the trailer too. And I'm so glad you stopped by and entered my giveaway. It really is a good book

    Penny, I'm so glad you've been by today. I'm waving wildly. I can't wait to get your lovely book into the hot little hands of a new reader.

  5. I could have sworn I left a comment earlier today. I loved the prank call story, I only got up enough courage to prank call once--at a slumber party so the million giggles in the background surely tipped off the prankee. :)

    I love how you got your hero and heroine together.

  6. Melissa~ Thanks for dropping in, twice, apparently.

    Folks, this is the much-baleyhooed best friend who designed my lovely Blog Birthday Bash button.

    A round of applause, please.

    /the crowd goes wild/

  7. I love the prank phone call story. I remember a few myself as a teenager.

    I have been wanting to read Penny's books so thank you for the opportunity.


  8. Jo~

    You're in this one too. Thanks for entering.

    The prank call thing was funny, but what really got me going was the parachute pants.

  9. Hi Melissa~ LOL - I'm glad you enjoyed my prank phone call story! I hear you about the prank phone calls at slumber parties. We had our share of those! Looking back, why was it so funny for us to call a person with the last name of "Berry" and ask for "Straw?" My friends and I did that all the time! Hope your week is great :)

  10. Hi Jo~ It's nice to see you here! Thank you for stopping by and entering to win a copy of Hailee.

  11. Ha ha, Andrea! My husband still denies the whole parachute pants thing. If only I'd had a cell phone with a camera on it back then, lol!

  12. Penny,
    I loved the trailer for your book! Also, the way that Hailee & Nate first meet sounds like the start of a wonderful story - and funny too! I would love to win! Thanks for the opportunity.


    lovetoread205 [at] gmail [dot] com

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. I follow your blog via GFC, username: Megan (Celtic_Girl).


    lovetoread205 [at] gmail [dot] com

  15. Megan~

    Thanks so much for stopping by and for entering the drawing. And thanks even more for following. I'm new enough to the blogging world that I get excited every time I see that number go up. You've made my day.

  16. Hello Megan ~ Thank you for your kind compliments about my book trailer! I am blessed by Tinkertime Productions and their talented producer! Have a wonderful week!