Gail's Book Nook

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Welcome Inspirational Historical Romance Writer Penny Zeller

Penny will be giving away a copy of her latest book, Hailee. To enter to win a copy leave a comment and your email address.

Hi Penny, welcome. First, tell us a little about yourself. Hi Gail! Thank you for hosting me on your blog. It’s great to be here! I am a wife, mom, and author of several books and numerous magazine articles. I also write a humor blog “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author” ( I am an active volunteer in my community, serving as a women’s Bible study small-group leader and co-organizing a women’s prayer group. My passion is to use the gift of the written word to glorify God and to benefit His Kingdom. I devote my time to assisting and nurturing women and children into a closer relationship with God. However, all that being said, my greatest ministry is to, with my husband Lon, raise our two daughters for Christ. When I’m not dreaming up new characters for books, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and camping, hiking, canoeing, gardening, and playing volleyball.

Sounds like you have a full life, and it’s great that you can bring us humor. Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read? I was an avid reader as a child. I loved Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mysteries and read every copy of those books I could get my hands on! I also loved The Little House on the Prairie series.
This is funny and not something I have shared much, but beginning when I was 10 years old, I also loved the romance stories in the back of “Good Housekeeping Magazine.” In those days, the stories were wholesome and I would sneak outside with my mom’s copy into our playhouse to read. I loved the stories because they would have pictures of the characters drawn by an artist with a little tidbit under each picture, such as, “Lydia thinks she’ll never love again – that is until James unexpectedly walks into her life…” I laugh when I think of those early days reading those stories! I suppose I have always been a romantic at heart!
I remember those days too. Tell us about your latest book.

Hailee is the third book in my Montana Skies Historical Romance Series, which began with McKenzie and Kaydie. Following is a short blurb:
For years, orphan Hailee Annigan was just a ragamuffin in the Cincinnati streets, stealing food to keep her two younger brothers fed. Her thievery landed her in a home for delinquent youngsters, where her life was changed, thanks to her teachers. Now, nineteen-year-old Hailee excitedly heads to Montana to be a teacher, yet she's still plagued by her shameful past and the fear of never seeing her brothers again.
Based on his upbringing in high-society Boston, no one would have guessed that Nate Adams would attend seminary and become a church pastor in rugged Montana. Even now, Nate's parents refuse to put aside their own plans for his future and accept his calling.
When their paths converge, an immediate attraction draws Hailee and Nate together, even as the pressures and demands of others pull them apart. Can the unlikely pair come to terms with their pasts and face the future together?
Watch a Trailer for HaileeI’m excited about the new trailer for Hailee, which was just produced and can be found at
Are you a plotter or a pantzer? I am definitely a pantzer! *grins*
Does your faith affect your writing? How? My faith influences my writing 100%. In November of 2000, I gave my writing to the Lord. I quit my fulltime job with a social services agency to stay home with my infant daughter. That was the start of my writing career, beginning with magazine articles in national and regional publications. I am humbled that God has called me into a ministry of writing.
Because faith plays such an important role in my writing, I love the opportunity it has given me to share Christ with others. Being able to talk about my career has opened the door to sharing the Gospel in countless ways.
What are you working on right now? Next on the agenda is my historical romance series set in the post-Civil War era. I recently completed the first draft of the first book and am hard at work on the second.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? 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 speak from experience when I say that when He closes one door, He opens a (much better) one and I firmly believe that if God calls you, He will guide you.
I give more tips for writers, including sticking with writing and how to prepare for a writer’s conference here:
What would you be doing if you weren’t writing? If I wasn’t a writer, I would love to be a television talk show host for a Christian TV show. I think that would be a lot of fun!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us? I love to connect with my readers at my website
my blog,
on Twitter at, and
on Facebook
where I post updates about new books, giveaways, events, making a difference in the lives of others, and Just-for-Fun Fridays.
Thank you again, Gail, for having me as your guest! I’m excited to see who wins the copy of Hailee.
It was my pleasure, Penny


CarlybirdK said...

I have enjoyed reading Penny's previous books and this one sounds just as good. Please enter me to win a copy. Thank you!

June Foster said...

Hi Penny, This story sounds so compelling. You've laid the groundwork for the conflict that keeps the reader turning the pages. June

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

I think the post-Civil War era will be a fun one to write about. Good luck with your new book. Hailee sounds intriguing. I absolutely love the music to the book trailer. It makes you even more interested in the book.

L.A. Cecil said...

Penny, I love the advice you give to us to stick to writing. Sometimes it is hard, and the rejections feel like a personal strike, but they're not. Like you said, God opens another door. I firmly believe that too. But thanks for reminding me!

Penny Zeller said...

Thank you, Gail, for having me as your guest. It is an honor and a blessing to be here!

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Penny,

I'm a little late getting to the party, but I appreciate your being here and sharing with us. Having you is my pleasure.

Penny Zeller said...

Hi Carlybird ~ It's great to see you here! Thank you for sharing with me that you enjoyed McKenzie and Kaydie. I appreciate that so much!

Penny Zeller said...

Hello June ~ Wow, thank you so much for that compliment! You made my day :)

cbalmony said...

Seek to please and honor Him. Love that. Love to see it in the stories I read as well. Please enter me. cbalmonyyahoocom.

Penny Zeller said...

Hello Linda ~ I totally agree with you about the post-Civil War era. So much history! Thank you for your compliments about the book trailer music. I love it because it's almost like a mini-movie :)

Penny Zeller said...

So true, L.A.! I'm so glad you were blessed by my writing advice. It is hard to remember sometimes and I find myself needing that reminder as well. May God bless you richly in your writing!

Finbar said...

Hi all... One more vote for the idea that if you are truly inspired to write, or do any else in life, then DO IT and don't worry about other things. All will be fine as you do His work in this world. Keep it up and best wishes for success.

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Penny, I am following you and hoping I can win Hailee. Read Kaydie and just loved it. Thanks for stopping by to chat and share with us.

misskalllie2000 at yahoo dot com

Miss Mae said...

I love your cover, it's gorgeous! And it's always great to meet another Nancy Drew fan! :)

Best on all your book sales and writing!

*I don't enter contests, so please bypass my name*

Thank you!

Debbie Clark said...

I would love to win a copy of Hailee. It sounds like a wonderful book to read. I also remember years ago reading the novel in the back of the Good Housekeeping Magazine. You are right that back then they were clean romanance. I am assuming that they are just as bad as the worldly novels today.
Thanks for the chance to win. Please add me to the drawing.
Debbie Clark

Teela said...

I have not read any of Penny's books, but would love to win this one. Hailee looks live a very inviting read! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy. teelayoung at hotmail dot com

Diana Flowers said...

Penny is not only a good writer, but a wonderful person as well! I would love a chance to win Hailee!

Charity U said...

I loved this book! Please enter me to win a copy! :)


Carmen7351 said...

I thoroughly love historical books around the Civil War times. Please enter me.

Linda at:
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Penny Zeller said...

Thank you, Cbalmony! I always think of that song by Aaron Shust with the lyrics "To God alone be the glory, to God alone be the praise, everything I say and do, let it be all for You. The glory is Yours alone." Have a blessed weekend!

Penny Zeller said...

Finbar, what encouraging words! I think we all need to hear that and be reminded of why it is we write and that when we do it for Him, all else will fall into place. Thank you for that great reminder!

Penny Zeller said...

Good Morning, Miss Kallie! It's always nice to see you :) I so appreciate Gail hosting me and giving away a copy. It will be exciting to see who wins (one of my favorite things about blog interviews!)

Penny Zeller said...

Thank you Miss Mae for your kind wishes. I appreciate that! And it's so nice to meet another Nancy Drew fan! My aunt passed me her copies and I couldn't read them enough times as a kid. Now my own kids are reading them. I love classics like that!

Penny Zeller said...

Hi Debbie ~ So excited to find someone who recalls those Good Housekeeping novels! I remember not being able to wait for the next issue, even though I was only 10 or so :) I'm so thankful that Christian fiction provides a wholesome and God-honoring alternative. Thank you for stopping by!

Laurean Brooks said...

Oh dear! Gail and Penny, I am so late. Due mostly to internet problems. Ugh!

Penny, I'm amazed at how you are so many things to so many people and STILL find time to write wonderful romances, too. (I read those stories at the back of Good Housekeeping, too. Sh-hh!)

Your books sound wonderful. To God be the glory. I turned my writing over to Him, too. He's helped me out of a lot of ruts, including writer's block. My motto is, "Without THE AUTHOR, the quill runs dry."

I would love to have a signed copy of "Hailee."

Keep writing for Him.

Faye said...

Hoping to read one of Ms. Zeller's books soon! I've heard so much good about them :)

crazi.swans at gmail dot com

Penny Zeller said...

It's great to see you here, Teela! I'm excited to see who wins this copy of Hailee!

Penny Zeller said...

Awe...thank you Diana! You are a sweetheart :)

Penny Zeller said...

Hi Charity ~ How nice to see you here! Thank you for your kind words about "Hailee." :)

Penny Zeller said...

Thank you, Linda, for stopping by. I agree with you - I enjoy books in the Civil War era too :)

Penny Zeller said...

Hello Laurean - Wow! I love your quote. I might have to borrow that sometime :) How fun to see another author here - and how neat that you're also a fan of those old Good Housekeeping stories. But don't worry, I won't tell a soul, lol! May God bless you richly in your writing!

Penny Zeller said...

Thank you, Faye, for your enthusiasm about reading my books. I appreciate that! :)

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read hailee's story ;)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

wfnren said...

Thank you for doing the giveaway, it's really appreciated.


Penny Zeller said...

Thanks for stopping by Karen! I hope you have a wonderful weekend :)

Penny Zeller said...

Hi Wfnren ~ I am so honored to be Gail's guest. She is an awesome host and I am thrilled to see who wins the copy of Hailee.