Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Welcome to Penny Zeller, author of Hailee

Welcome to Penny Zeller, whose latest book, Hailee, released September 2011. So, let's dive right in to our interview with Penny.

First, Penny, tell us a little about yourself.

Hi Pam! 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.

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.

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?

I’m excited about the new trailer for Hailee, which was just produced and can be found at

Pam again: I can so relate to the character Hailee because my heroine in Stealing Jake was a former pickpocket and street urchin, much like Hailee. Shucks, the two might have even known each other except for the fact that Livy hailed from Chicago and Hailee grew up in Cincinnati.

So, next question: Are you a plotter or a pantzer?

I am definitely a pantzer! *grins*

So, you just open a Word document and let 'er fly, huh? lol Sometimes that's when all the fun starts! 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.

How exciting that you were able to stay at home full-time and write. That lets me know that there should be lots more Penny Zeller books in the works, and I know your readers are chomping at the bit for the next one. So, give us a taste of 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.

Post-Civil War era? Oh, that sounds exciting! You've been at this writing gig for a while now. 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?

Being a writer has been my dream since the time I was seven. However, 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, Pam, for having me as your guest!

Thank you for being here, Penny! I enjoyed your visit and look forward to having you again. Congratulations on your lastest release. The reviews are pouring in and I know readers are enjoying reading all about Hailee and Nate.

Penny Zeller’s passion is to use the gift of the written word to glorify God and to benefit His Kingdom. She devotes her time to assisting, encouraging, and nurturing women and children into a closer relationship with Christ. When she’s not dreaming up new characters for books, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and camping, hiking, canoeing, gardening, and playing volleyball.

Penny has graciously agree to give away one copy of Hailee. Commenters who leave an email address and/or sign up for Pam Hillman's mailing list will be in the drawing for Hailee.

Penny and I will be in and out all day to keep you company, so drop by, sit a spell, and let's chat about ragamuffin street kids who grow up to be beautiful women and marry men of their dreams!


Pam Hillman said...

Yay! So glad to have Penny here! Don't forget to comment and leave your email address to be in the drawing for her book Hailee. Or sign up for my mailing list, and you'll be in the drawing too!

Pam's Mailing List

Pam Hillman said...

Penny, when you stop by, I wanted to ask a question about Hailee.

The heroine in Stealing Jake is a former pickpocket from Chicago, and Hailee grew up on the streets of Cincinnati stealing to provide for herself and her brothers.

Now she's a respectable school teacher.

So, does Hailee fear having to steal again to survive?

wfnren said...

Great interview, thank you for hosting this giveaway. Hailee is on my wishlist.


Pam Hillman said...


So glad you stopped by! You're definitely in the drawing to win a copy of Hailee!

Penny Zeller said...

Hey Pam! I am so excited to be here! I so agree with you that Hailee and Livy would have been friends.

Hailee is a respectable school teacher now, but more than fearing she'll have to steal again to survive, she fears someone (especially the cute pastor with the gorgeous blue eyes in Pine Haven) will discover her past. What would she do then? Surely she would be unable to keep her new job.

Pam Hillman said...

Ah, it's understandable that Hailee fears rejection from the community, especially the man she's falling in love with.

I'm sure you take the readers on a rollercoaster of emotions right along with Hailee and Nate!

Ausjenny said...

Hi Pam and Penny, When I saw Penny was on your blog I instantly thought your heroine I forget her name and Hailee have alot in common. (I have read a few books in the past few months with a heroine with a similar past all good all different)
I love both Stealing Jake and Hailee.
I have to say Hailee is special.
Oh dont enter me I have read and loved Hailee.

on a side note Pam an Aussie friend had just finished stealing Jake after hearing about it from my blog and send me a message saying how she loved it and it was as good as I told her it was.

Pam Hillman said...

Jenny! Hearing that your friend loved Stealing Jake makes me VERY happy! Thank you for sharing that.

Hailee is on my TBR list, and I can't wait!

Even though Hailee and my heroine in Stealing Jake's formative years were similar, I know their stories are totally different. You can give two authors a premise and it's anybody's guess what will happen next.

Ausjenny said...

Pam that is so true as I mentioned I have read about 6 books with the heroine being a street kid, pickpocket or orphaned and left on the streets to fend for themselves in the past few months and all books are totally different which is so cool. now I need to get back to bed.

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Penny, I am still following you and hoping to win a copy of Hailee. Thanks for another chance.

Pam, I read Stealing Jake and loved the story and how well you have written of love, hope and redemption.
I am a GFC follower

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Illene Stewart said...

Beautiful cover. Would love to enter the contest.
Illene Stewart

Pamela J said...

Pam, I am a follower AND I signed up for your newsletter AND I have read your book, Stealing Jake and loved it.
When I first heard about Hailee, I thought... I already read about a girl orphan but then realized it is a totally different book.
I'd love to win Hailee and read it too, have heard many say how wonderful it is (no doubts, just would like to read it for myself). Thanks for hosting the drawing for Penny and all us wanna-read-Hailee fans.
Pam Williams
purensimplenatural (at) gmail (dot) com

Pam Hillman said...

MissKallie, so glad you stopped by and that you enjoyed Stealing Jake. It's my pleasure to give readers an enjoyable story.

Penny Zeller said...

Hi Wfnren~ Thank you for stopping by Pam's blog. I am honored that Hailee is on your wishlist. That is awesome! Have a great day. :)

Penny Zeller said...

Hey Jenny! It is always nice to see you! And thank you for the awesome compliment about Hailee and about Pam's book too! We were just saying how Hailee and Livy would probably have been friends. Have a wonderful week. :)

Penny Zeller said...

Hi Miss Kallie ~ Thank you for your perseverance in trying to win Hailee. That is truly a compliment! May God bless your day!

Penny Zeller said...

Thank you so much, Illene, for your sweet compliment about the cover of Hailee. I am blessed by the talented graphics department at Whitaker House. They have done such a fantastic job on my books! God Bless!

Penny Zeller said...

Hey Pam ~ I just have to say I got a chuckle out of your post on the ACFW loop :) Hope you're having a fantastic week!

Pam Hillman said...

Illene & Pamela J! So glad you both stopped by.

And Pamela, thank you for the kind words about Stealing Jake. I totally enjoyed writing it, and am happy you enjoyed the end result!

Pam Hillman said...

And the winner of Hailee by Penny Zeller is Pamela J!

Congrats Pamela!

Penny Zeller said...

Hi Pamela J ~ Congrats on winning a copy of Hailee! Thank you for sharing that you've heard many good things about my book. I appreciate that! I'll be in touch with you soon about the details of your win. Again, congratulations!