Monday, December 14, 2009

Author Interview: Penny Watson and Cookie Contest Giveaway

Debut romance writer, Penny Watson is author of the newly released e-book, Sweet Inspiration. She gets to incorporate her wide array of interests, including gardening, cooking and travel into her light paranormal stories. Penny lives outside of Boston with one fly-fishing crazed husband, two lively Filipino kids, and a wiener dog.

Book Blub:
What if the legend of Santa Claus is in fact, true? What if Santa has five big strapping sons who help him run his empire? Five single, sexy sons looking for romance...

Nicholas Klaus is a master pastry chef, a strict disciplinarian, and the eldest son of the legendary Santa Claus. One look at cafe owner Lucy Brewster sends him into an unexpected tailspin of lusty desires. When Lucy is injured, Nicholas makes a decision that catapults their lives into turmoil...

Lucy Brewster, the free-spirited proprietor of Sweet Inspiration, has a flair for concocting sugary confections but no time for adventure. She gets more than she bargained for when she awakens in the North Pole...rambunctious elves, a fitness-obsessed Santa, and the man of her dreams. Does she have what it takes to become the next Mrs. Klaus?

Penny, welcome to Outlandish Dreaming, and congrats on your new book and I wish you much success! Now, on to the interview!

Julie: Penny, I loved it how you portrayed all your characters, but what gave you the inspiration for Nicholas’ parents to be so wild and bohemian, a hippy mother and buffed up Santa?

Penny: I knew I wanted to play around with the accepted legend of Santa Claus. I figured the complete opposite of a round-bellied Santa would be a fitness buff obsessed with marathons. Mrs. Claus always looks like a sweet little grandmother-ly type, so I decided a sexy bohemian would be a nice twist on that. Just trying to keep it fresh and fun!

Julie: The obvious questions – are you a baker yourself? If so, what do you like to bake most? If not – why did you write about two bakers? LOL!

Penny: I do love to bake, especially around the holidays. My husband is Filipino, and his family creates huge feasts that are really fun and delicious. So, we spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Cooking is a big deal in our family. My daughter also wants to be a cake decorator when she grows up! My favorite thing to bake is chocolate chip cookies with my daughter...she is a great little assistant.

Julie: Why is Lucy a redhead? How did you decide on that? Did you have her fixed in your head already as a redhead?

Penny: Have you ever watched the 1970 animated Christmas special Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town? Kris Kringle falls in love with Jessica (who obviously becomes the first Mrs. Claus). She is a red head! I think I watched that movie about 10 million times when I was growing up. There is an incredibly romantic scene in that movie where the two of them are married outside in a forest of evergreens with all of the animals as witnesses. Love it!

Julie: What’s the story behind Nicholas wearing glasses?

Penny: I totally dig Amanda Quick's heroes who are super-intellectual, spectacle-wearing guys. I personally find that very sexy. And of course, the standard Santa Claus image is of an old man with a beard and glasses. So, I just decided to take that image and make it younger, sexier, and throw in a hot tattoo for good measure! :)

Julie: Who’s next on your Klaus brother list?

Penny: I am not writing the brothers in chronological order...I am working my way to the final brother's story, who of course will become the next Santa Claus. (Not telling!) Oskar Klaus, the youngest brother who is a snowboarding punk and Director of Elfin Resources at the North Pole, is next in line. His book, Sweet Magik, will hopefully be coming out Christmas 2010.

Julie: Do we ever get to hear about Gregor’s New Year’s Eve party?

Penny: Yep! In fact, the first scene of Sweet Magik is at Gregor's Manhattan apartment, during the New Year's Eve party.

Julie: How do you decorate your Christmas Tree – is it like the one Nicholas had for Lucy?

Penny: I wish! Our tree is a huge hodge-podge of lights, home-made and store bought ornaments, crocheted snowflakes and gold bead garlands. Fun and festive, but pretty crazy. For the tree that Nicholas got Lucy, I had a vision of a a gorgeous 9 ft. tree covered in all glass ornaments and sparkling white lights. Something really magical and incredible. If I had a tree like that in my house, all the glass ornaments would be broken within 10 minutes!

Julie: Which scenes in SI did you enjoy writing the most? Why?

Penny: I love writing the scenes with all the brothers together. I get a big kick out of the testosterone-fueled banter that happens with a group of guys. It's fun to write, and flows very quick and easy for me.

Julie: What do you think readers might be surprised to know about you?

Penny: I have a master's degree in turfgrass science (yes, frighteningly, there is a science to turfgrass!) I still love horticultural science, and I spend a lot of time gardening in the summer, especially culinary herbs.

Julie: What’s the most important advice you can give to other aspiring authors who want to publish their first book?

Penny: Don't give up! Even if you write something that is outside of the box of the standard publishing world (like a 55,000 word light paranormal Christmas-themed romance about Santa Claus!) it is still possible to get it published. There are a lot of paths to publication, and it's worth exploring all the avenues. Most importantly, have fun! If you're not having fun with your writing, then you're doing something wrong.

Thank you Penny for taking the time out of your very busy schedule for this interview! Everyone, please check out Penny's sites below, and you can purchase her e-book below at:

Sweet Inspiration

Penny's Other Sites:

Penelope's Blog

Penny's Website

Now for the contest!

In keeping with the spirit of Penny's book and the whole theme of baking cookies, my good friend Kate, real-life baker extraordinaire of Aunt Cake's Cookies will ship to the winner of this contest an assortment of some of her famous and truly delicious and remarkable homemade Christmas cookies to anywhere in the U.S. (sorry for those of you outside the US). Each person who comments on this post will be entered into the giveaway once! Please post your email for me so I can contact the winner who will be randomly chosen when the contest is over at midnight December 16th!

Thanks again Penny for the fun interview, and everyone check out her book, it's a lot of fun and perfect for the season!


Mary said...

Very nice interview.

I read Sweet Inspiration last week and loved it -"sweet, spicy, a little salty (those elves are crazy!) and a lot of fun!" Can't wait for Penny's next book :D


Juju at Tales of said...

I would love to be entered. Thank you.

PS Great questions!


Penelope said...

Hi Mary! Thanks soooo much for reading Sweet Inspiration! I'm thrilled you liked it.

Hi Juju...thanks for stopping by!

Hey Julie...thanks for the fun interview. Your friend's cookie website looks fantastic (and the cookies look delicious!). Please thank her from me! :)

Sandra Sookoo said...

Nice interview! This book is on my purchase list :-)

Marie Tuhart said...

Great interview, and I'm off to buy the book, it sounds like so much fun and I look forward to seeing the other brother's books. Great Job.

Marie Tuhart

Maggie Lou said...

What a fun interview! The book sounds like a riot.

tetewa said...

Sounds like a good read, enjoyed the interview!

Penelope said...

Hi Sandra...thanks for visiting. Hope your Christmas novel is doing well, too!

Marie--thanks so much. I hope you enjoy it!

Maggie and tetewa...hope you have a great holiday season.

Andrea said...


Congratulations on the release of Sweet Inspiration. It's going on my TBB list. I can't wait to buy it, but it will have to be delayed until my budget allows more book purchases.

Skhye said...

Horticulture is cool! I almost went into forestry but decided on geology. Then bioarchaeology. I think Lucy should be a redhead because she's farther north than the Sami, the original occupants of Europe (think glaciation) at, and often have red hair because of all that gene flow! And red hair would be colorful to people in a world of white. But I'm with you on the original Santa Claus is Coming to Town! Oh, I just dated myself.

Great interview. :)

Huge prize: a cache of Time Guardian treasure. To enter, join me at: You might be the winner of some Native-American Good Medicine tea, cinnamon oil/flavoring, voodoo doll keychain, AN ENGLISH LADYMASS: MEDIEVAL CHANT AND POLYPHONY, Scottish tea time recipes, and the wee-est scrimshaw sailing ship pendant...

Penelope said...

Hi Andrea! My "book budget" has surpassed my husband's "fly-fishing" budget, which is a bad thing. :) So, now he's talking about taking a big fishing trip this spring!

Hi Skhye...bioarchaeology sounds fantastic! I am also into ethnobotany. And, I am a geology nut. I am praying one of my kids decides to be a geology major. I LOVE all those old Christmas films.

Tiffany Green said...

Penny, your book sounds great! I love "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town." My son made me watch it over and over (but secretly I loved it!) I wish you the best of luck with your book.

Carolyn Crane said...

I'm not entering, but this was such a fun read! I can't wait for the next.

Penelope said...

Thanks, Tiffany. I love "Rudolph" too!

Hi Carolyn...thanks for stopping by! :)

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Thanks everyone for the enthusiastic responses to Penny's interview! Penny, I must admit, I don't think I've ever seen "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" *blush* though I've seen Rudolph a million times as well as Charlie Brown, those were my two favorites growing up! Thanks again for the fun interview!

Mary Ricksen said...

This was a great interview. I love the premise of your book and I wish you the very best of luck with sales. Santa has five sons, wow!

Patti said...

Great interview - I like how she's doing them out of order and the last will be the next Santa.

And turfgrass science? Who knew there was such a thing? ;)

Penelope said...

Hi Julie! You have to rent Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and check it out. It's a classic!

Penelope said...

Hi Mary!--thanks so much.

Hey Patti...I must admit turfgrass was not my favorite part of horticultural school. But, I got to take plant taxonomy and lots of other cool plant science courses, so it was all worth it. ;)

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