Author’s Bio: Penny Clover Petersen began writing at age fifty-nine on a dare from her husband. After years of hearing her complaints that "I could write a better story than this", he suggested that perhaps she should do just that. The result is her Daisy & Rose Mystery Series, modern cozies featuring cocktail loving sisters Daisy and Rose Forrest as small town shop owners who just can't seem to get through a day without tripping over a dead body.
Penny lives with her husband in Bowie Maryland. In addition to writing, she enjoys time with her children and large extended family and collect family stories and recipes for the ‘family cookbook’. She loves historic homes and is a docent at Riversdale Mansion in Riverdale, MD. She is also the author of several children’s stories, including The Last Elf and An Angel for Jenny and is just finishing her third Daisy & Rose mystery.
What inspired you to write your book?
Actually it started as a hobby; I had retired and was looking for ways to fill my days. I had written some stories for my kids over the years, and had toyed with the idea of someday writing a book. With time on my hands I decided to give it a try mainly to keep busy. But as I got into it I realized that I was writing something that I’d like to read.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Growing up in a family of writers and avid readers, I can’t remember when I didn’t have a book in my hand. My mother was a mystery lover and passed it on to me. The two I loved most were Agatha Christie, who had such a wonderful mind for plots, and Dorothy Sayers, who wrote such in-depth characters, both of whom set a high bar for the cozy.
Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
I’ve written two Daisy & Rose Mysteries and am almost finished my third. I am an incredibly slow writer, so each book takes me about two years to write.
Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
When I start I know the general plot, who did it and who got done, but I write the first 20,000 words or so without an outline. At that point I go back and summarize what I’ve written chapter by chapter. Then I make a general outline for the rest of the book. Then about two-thirds of the way through I make a firm outline and stick to it.
Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
No. I need quiet. I am so easily distracted that music would just have me singing along or dancing.
What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
I have to admit I really don’t know. I am a terrible salesperson and publicist. I am a very shy person and have difficulty putting myself forward. It’s just not in my nature. I do use Facebook. I tweet, and am LinkedIn.
What advice would you give to new authors?
Write for yourself and enjoy it. For me when writing becomes a chore I will stop. I would also say that anyone who wants to write, must read. Get to know your genre and read critically. If you like a particular book or author - or dislike a particular book or author – understand why and use it to improve your own writing.
How about sharing an excerpt from Roses Are Dead, My Love?
They (Daisy and Rose Forrest) got back to Champagne Taste, put Malcolm in the backyard, and entered the house through the private entrance on the far end of the front porch. Daisy threw the tote onto the small table in the entry hall, and she and Rose ran upstairs to get showers. Dressed and re-made-up Daisy came down the stairs and opened the door in the small hallway that led directly into the shop.
Roscoe (the cat) had pulled the tote off the little table and was batting it for all he was worth.
“What’s the deal, Roscoe? Is there a tiny, little mailman in there?”
As she lifted the cat and started scratching his tummy, the tote caught on Roscoe’s paw and everything spilled out.
Daisy muttered “Oops,” then let out an earsplitting scream as a sinewy, black body slithered through the letters toward her foot. She dropped Roscoe with a thud and jumped back up the stairs.
Rose ran down the stairs and collided with Daisy. “What are you screaming about?”
“Snake! Snake! Right there. It’s a snake,” screamed Daisy putting a vise-grip on Rose’s arm and pointing to the table.
“Hells bells! How did a snake get in here?”
“I think we carried it home in that tote bag. What do we do now?”
“First, you let go of my arm. You’re cutting off the circulation.”
“Oh, sorry. I don’t like snakes.”
“Well, where is it?” asked Rose as she cautiously crept down the stairs.
Daisy pointed and said, “Right there, next to the table.” Only it wasn’t. “Oh my God, where is it!”
“Holy mackerel, we have a snake on the loose. Where’s Roscoe?”
The question wasn’t out of her mouth when Roscoe walked in from the shop with something black and slinky wriggling in his mouth. He walked up to Rose and dropped it at her feet where it lay for a moment apparently contemplating its fate. Then it started slithering again.
“Roscoe, pick that thing up,” she yelled as she jumped back onto the staircase colliding with Daisy for a second time. Daisy screamed again even louder and tripped over her own feet almost knocking Rose down the steps.
“Oh for God’s sake, cut it out, would you?” cried Rose as she caught herself.
“Sorry. Again. I just really don’t like snakes,” said Daisy.
“And I do? We need to be calm.”
Roscoe gave them a baleful stare. Then he picked the snake up in his mouth again and sat there waiting for instructions.
“Okay, Roscoe. Outside. Take it outside.
NOW!” Rose ordered as she darted past the cat and
the snake and pushed open the outside door, then jumped back to the steps. But
Roscoe just hunkered down with the snake under his paw teasing the poor thing.
“Look. He’s grinning at us,” said Rose. “Go. Get. Take your friend outside.”
There was a tap on the door and a man poked his head in. “You need some help? I heard someone screaming.”
“Brad! Hi. A little snake problem. We seem to have brought one home with us and Roscoe apparently wants to adopt it. Daisy and I aren’t too hot on the idea, and we’re having trouble convincing him to let it go.”
He looked down. Roscoe had the snake in his mouth again and was heading back to the shop.
In a swift motion Brad caught Roscoe under the legs and pried the hapless reptile out of his jaws. Holding it behind its head, he took it outside.
A minute later he came back in. “All taken care of. Relax. It was only a little black snake. They’re harmless.”
“So I’ve heard. Still, snakes! Ghastly,” replied Daisy with a shudder.
What’s next for you?
I am just wrapping up my third mystery, Pushing Up Daisies. Next I am getting ready to publish a children’s story, Christopher’s Vacation Wish, the story of a little friend who gets left behind, beautifully illustrated by my sister, Christine Clover.
Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.