Book and a Brew with Ritu – by Val Penny @valeriepenny @spellbound #NewRelease

Looks like this is a Tuesday thing now!!

Today, I am hosting prolific Crime writer and fellow Spellbound author, Val Penny, about her latest release, The First Cut!

Hello, and welcome to But I Smile Anyway, Val! Now, the first thing we do is get the drinks sorted.

Thank you so much for inviting me along, Ritu. It is always lovely to chat with you.

What is your beverage of choice? I know you have a Friday evening drink open on your Facebook page, but since it’s a little early, I was leaning more towards the hot kind!Coffee, tea, hot chocolate? I have green teas, too, or maybe you’d like to sample a masala chai from me?

I agree. I’d love a cup of Earl Grey tea, no milk, I’m a cheap date!

No problem at all!

And of course there will be nibbles. I have shortbread (a nod to your Scottish connection!) or we could do some samosas?

Why not start with the samosas and have shortbread afterwards, if it’s not too much trouble.

Sounds like a plan Val!

I always love to find out more about where a fellow author’s journey started. When did you realise you wanted to write, and how was your journey to becoming a published author?

I have been writing and telling stories all my life. When I was a child, I used to make up stories for my little sister after our Mum put the light out and told us to go to sleep. Later, I wrote documents, contracts, and courses as part of my job, but my time was well accounted for, so I did not create any fiction.

However, I took early retirement when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and there were times when I suffered severe side effects from my treatment. I could not go out, spend time with friends or indulge in many of my favourite hobbies, but watching daytime television got very old very fast, so I turned to reading. It was the only thing I had the energy to do and could do safely.

After a while, I began to feel a little better and I complained to my long-suffering husband about getting bored. It was then he challenged me: ‘If you know so much about what makes a good book, why don’t you write one?’ I did laugh. However, the challenge set, I have been writing police procedural crime thrillers set in Scotland ever since.

At present, you are a new to me author, (I have yet to delve into your books, but they are on my TBR pile!) but you have several other books out there. Could you tell us a little about your interest in crime thrillers?

I read voraciously; I always have. (Me, too!) I particularly enjoy reading crime fiction and thrillers. I indulged this interest with many novels, including those by Peter Robinson, Ian Rankin, Linwood Barclay and Joan Livingston. I decided to write the kind of book that I like to read, and so I write crime thrillers.

And do you have a favourite out of all your published books so far?

I dedicated my first novel, Hunter’s Chase to my mother. It always amused me when she read the second novel, Hunter’s Revenge and said, ‘Your first book was fine dear, but this one is so much better!’ However, for me, my favourite book is always the one I am working on at present. I am writing short stories for a collection to be published towards the end of this year. It is a lot of fun.

Fantastic! I have a set of uncompleted stories that, one day I would love to be made into picture books!

I always ask this one, but could you tell me where you like to write? Do you have a writing room/desk, or are you a writer who likes to take their laptop/notepad out and about?

I have a little writing desk in one of our extra bedrooms. I call it my writing nook. It’s not fancy, but I can really get into my flow there (but if we have visitors, it can revert to a guest bedroom). Do you have a special writing room, Ritu?

Oh, my readers here know this already, but yes, I do have my own writing room ever since we moved into our new home two years ago. In fact, it should have been my Hubby’s home office, and I had a smaller box room pencilled in as my room, but due to technical difficulties, he ended up down there, and I now have this gorgeous L-shaped room, with its own en-suite, too! I have. a little reading nook with an armchair, as well as my desk, and all my bookshelves, as well as a little open space where I can dance around like a loony if I wish!

Have you ever written a book you feel will never see the light of day? I know I have a few half-written ideas, but nothing I finished completely, then set to one side!

No. I have a few pieces of flash fiction, short stories and poems still looking for homes, but I’m quite disciplined with my novels, I write them until they are finished (and then edit the hell out of them!). Do you ever look through your partly finished novels and use them, or part of them?

The pieces I have sketched out or started writing are very different to the current stories I am writing, so I can’t use them as such, but I do continue to jot ideas down for them, too, as one day, they will get completed!

Now, I invited you over to have a little chat about your newest release, The First Cut. The first in a new Scottish crime series. Tell me a bit about your inspiration behind this particular series.

Jane Renwick appears in my original series of crime novels, The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries but the main character is Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson. However, I really liked Jane, so when I decided to write a new series, there was no competition about who my new main character should be. I had created an interesting back story for Jane Renwick. She grew up in care and struggled against the odds to achieve her ambition of joining the police force, but she did manage to do this and is now a respected police detective in the Major Incident Team (MIT).

However, Jane has not been able to marry. She lives with her civil partner, Rachael Anderson, who is also a detective on the force. The First Cut is set in 2014 and marriage for the LGBTQ community did not become legal in Scotland until 2016. Maybe Jane and Rachael will marry in the future.

It’s great to have a female protagonist, in DS Jane Renwick, and one championing the LGBTQ community, at that!. Have you ever wanted to be involved in investigations like the ones you write about?

Gosh no! I’d run a mile rather than be involved in the day-to-day trials of police work. I don’t think I’m brave enough nor organised enough. I leave all that to Hunter, Jane and their teams.

However, something quite exciting has happened for Jane. I have been contacted by a TV scout who is putting together a list of authors whose books would be suitable for a new crime drama. The difference is that instead of making an executive decision they are having a public vote! Each person who registers with them will have 5 free votes. Voting starts 15 May and I’d really appreciate your and your readers votes.

Now that is exciting! Please Peeps, head on over in a couple days and give Val’s idea a vote!

And, as a sneak preview to my readers, what is coming next from you? Will it be the second in this thriller series?

Just now I am writing the second book in my Jane Renwick Thriller series, A Fighting Chance. It will be published next year, and I hope the readers will enjoy it.

Oh, I am sure all your readers will be chomping at the bit for the next Jane Renwick book!

Thank you so much for visiting, Val. I’ve enjoyed learning a bit more about you!

Thank you for having me, Ritu.

My pleasure 😊 Wishing this, and all your future releases much success, Val!

So, you have a fantastic book to read, my Peeps, and a second one following it, soon, too!

Now here is the blurb to whet your appetites! It sounds pretty good!

The Blurb

It’s hard to escape a brutal past.

A vicious killer is on the loose and victims include an academic and members of Edinburgh’s high society.

DS Jane Renwick is banished to the side-lines of the case and forced to look on impotently when the hunt for the killer ramps up, because the Murder Investigation Team finds out that the killer is her relative.

Has someone from Jane’s birth family returned to haunt her? Is one of her relatives be involved? Where will the killer strike next?

This gripping police procedural is set in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The exciting novel is the first in Val Penny’s new series of Scottish thrillers.  

Hunter’s Chase –

Hunter’s Revenge –

Hunter’s Force –

The First Cut –

Author Biography

Val Penny has an Llb degree from the University of Edinburgh and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer but has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store.

Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories, nonfiction books, and novels. Her novels are published by SpellBound Books Ltd.

Val is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and their cat.

Twitter: @valeriepenny

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Colleen M. Chesebro
    May 16, 2023 @ 20:10:32

    Sounds like a good mystery!

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Cindy Georgakas
    May 16, 2023 @ 19:20:21

    loved the tea and visit Riti and visit at Vals~. Nicely done! 💞

    Liked by 1 person


  3. 100 Country Trek
    May 16, 2023 @ 18:48:21

    Thanks for sharing this . 🙌
    Let’s follow our blogs Anita

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Val Penny
    May 16, 2023 @ 11:28:23

    Thanks for your support Ritu.

    Liked by 1 person


  5. beth
    May 16, 2023 @ 09:50:11

    thanks for introducing us

    Liked by 1 person


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