Welcome to Three Questions with Van Heerling. This is where you get to meet authors, actors, painters and anyone else that is bent toward the arts, but on a more personal level.
Today I have Penny Grubb author of Like False Money, The Jawbone Gang and The Doll Makers.
VH: For what are you grateful?
PG: I’m grateful for being born when I was and where I was. A generation earlier and I’d have been constrained by society’s views on women and not been able to have the family and working life I’ve enjoyed. I’m grateful, too, for living in a temperate climate, in an advanced society. I don’t have to worry about where my family’s next meal will come from or whether my home will be swept away in a hurricane. I live in a society where health care is free at the point of delivery and I’m grateful for that, too. My parents lived through ‘interesting times’. My father had travelled 1000s of miles as a refugee before he was five and when he was a young man – younger than my sons are now – he lost his family for two years when war swept through Europe, after which the new political boundaries stopped him ever seeing his mother again. If none of that had happened, I wouldn’t be here. But I don’t feel the need to feel grateful for that. That was just chance. What it comes down to is that I’m grateful to be here.
VH: After a difficult day what do you do to recuperate? Does it work?
PG: I come home. That often does the trick all on its own. If the difficult day means there is fallout to deal with I either deal with it, plan to deal with it or put the detail aside to look at when I need to. The thing I’ve learnt not to do is dwell on bad stuff. I know people who dwell to the extent they refuse to acknowledge happiness because there’s bound to be something bad on the way. I prefer the other side of that coin. Why dwell on bad stuff when there’s always something good on the way? Basically I just leave bad stuff behind me. If and when the time comes to have to face it again, a solution usually presents itself – that’s the magic of the subconscious.
VH: If a zombie virus took over the world, how many days do you think you could last before you were infected? And what would you do to postpone the inevitable?
PG: The way I see it, I can already operate as a zombie at the drop of a hat. When I’m focused on something I’m a bit too good at missing the obvious – the bus that I ought to board, the thug with the knife who I shouldn’t push past, the glass door that I ought to open not just walk right into... I had something else on my mind the time I downloaded One Day to my e-reader and started reading it to see what all the fuss was about. I registered that it was *nothing* like I’d expected, but I was several pages in before I realised the e-reader had done something odd and I was actually reading Treasure Island. I feel that anyone who can mistake Treasure Island for One Day has nothing to fear from a Zombie virus.
VH: Thank you Penny.
Like False Money
Can fledgling PI Annie Raymond cut it on her own when faced with an impossible job, a boss who hasn't a clue who she is, and a schoolgirl who is ready to blacken her name to save her own skin? Annie has resolved to do her best for grieving mother Martha Martin and keep the sordid details of her son Terry’s life hidden, but when conflicting stories around Terry’s last days surface, Annie is quickly entangled in a web of rumor and deceit. Pretence and distortion have become accepted as integrity and truth—but who is a fraud and who is an innocent victim? Annie desperately needs a third case on her books to secure her future, but when it arrives, her future career is the last thing on her mind. Not only has Annie herself walked into a trap but she has also led a young girl into mortal danger. Can she make things right before it’s too late?
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The Jawbone Gang
Her man’s a convicted murderer, but Brittany Booth is determined to save him from incarceration in a secure mental hospital by flushing out the witness who failed to come forward. The murdered man’s lover and friend are equally determined to see his killer declared insane. Unluckily for private investigator Annie Raymond, both sides land in her lap. Annie has her own troubles. Her relationship with Scott has ended and he is engaged to local detective Kate Ronsen. Annie tired of Scott long ago, but Kate does not believe it and is in a position to make life very difficult for Annie. With a boss ready to grab credit for her work when it goes well and lay blame when it doesn’t, Kate’s antagonism could make things impossible. It’s a tangled nightmare, and the last thing Annie needs as she fights to find a way out of a stalled chapter in her own life.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The Doll Makers
PI Annie Raymond's dreams of being a successful insurance fraud investigator start to look precarious when she is accused of corruption. She decides that it is time to come clean, both to her aunt who raised her as her own, and to her estranged father, a police sergeant in rural Argyle. However, neither wants to listen. Her father is swamped by a murder enquiry and her aunt is full of conspiracy theories and gossip. Suddenly, news from London has Annie racing south, but the case is not the lifeline she hoped for—or is it? After all, it wouldn't take much to fake the evidence and deliver the miracle. Annie knows she has to clear her head and concentrate, yet echoes from Scotland resonate, and when a witness in London provides a horrifying revelation, the loose ends in her case become entangled with events hundreds of miles north. All at once, Annie realizes that she must get back to her father before it is too late.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Where There’s Smoke
When Annie’s arch-critic, Barbara Thompson, goes to extraordinary lengths to get her help, Annie doesn’t have to play along, but curiosity wins and she has to know why. It’s when someone gets to Barbara first that Annie realises Barbara was playing a dangerous game. And now it’s too late to walk away. She’s left with guesswork, supposition and the knowledge that whoever silenced Barbara now thinks Annie herself knows too much.
Pre-order for only £17.99 including
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Co-authored with Danuta Reah
The Writers’ Toolkit – http://www.thewriterstoolkit.blogspot.co.uk/
Both Where There’s Smoke and The Writers’ Toolkit are currently on offer with reduced international postage (and free UK postage) at the above links but can also be obtained through Amazon.
Penny Grubb is a novelist. She writes a contemporary crime fiction series set in England and Scotland, featuring Private Investigator, Annie Raymond. Penny won the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger for her novel, The Doll Makers, and was nominated for the CWA John Creasey Dagger for the first book in the series, Like False Money. The fourth book, Where There’s Smoke, came out in October 2012. A fifth is underway.
Penny’s has had a day job in British universities since the 1980s, and has enjoyed a diverse academic career that started in a Science Faculty, moved through Social Science and Business and now lies in Health Care. She spent a decade at the leading edge of Health Informatics research, but now specializes in teaching and research in active-reading and critical-writing as well as teaching creative writing techniques.
She has a second day job as Chair of the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society which is a multi-million pound not-for-profit organisation that collects secondary royalties for writers. With over 85,000 members and growing, it is the largest writers’ organisation in the world.
A writer all her life, Penny wrote her first story at age 4 and won her first writing competition at age 9. She has published in many contexts: academic technical tomes, textbooks, non-fiction, poetry, radio features and newspaper articles as well as her crime novels.
Need More Penny Grubb?
Penny’s books are available through bookstores, Amazon and all the usual channels. Signed copies can also be bought at discount through Penny’s publicist, Fantastic Books at; www.fantasticbookspublishing.com
11/2/2012 05:48:40 am
Thanks for having me on the blog. I'd just like to recommend your Malaika while I'm here. There wasn't the opportunity in the interview. Also, I should note that the horribly expensive book mentioned above is a library hardback. It'll last forever, but that's not always the top criterion when picking a crime novel. The others are out in paperback and ebook at sensible prices.
11/2/2012 08:26:31 am
You're welcome Penny. Happy to have you.
11/3/2012 07:53:35 pm
Interesting interview and some good answers Penny. Putting bad things behind you is essential for any writer I think. And I like your confusion of Treasure Island and One day. Gave me a chuckle.
11/3/2012 11:42:10 pm
First time I've come across this 'Three Questions' feature. I like it. It's great to see inside a writer instead of the usual book/writing orientated set of questions. And Penny's answers are witty, interesting and entertaining. A great feature, and one I shall return for in future.
11/4/2012 01:20:27 am
Thanks, Freda and Stuart, for calling in and commenting. I was taken with this format, too. It was fun to do as well as making for some unusual blog interviews - out of the normal run.
11/4/2012 01:20:59 am
I was taken with this format, too. It was fun to do as well as making for some unusual blog interviews - out of the normal run.Thanks, Freda and Stuart, for calling in and commenting.
11/4/2012 01:22:36 am
So sorry, I've managed to leave the same comment twice, but upside down. How very odd. It's been that sort of a day for the technology.
11/4/2012 01:38:23 am
Penny, great interview - witty, humorous and straight to the cut.
11/4/2012 01:05:46 am
Thanks Sylvia. Yes, it's an amazing tale. I ought to get it in a book one of these days.
11/4/2012 04:01:01 am
Definitely your father's life needs fictionalising. I'm sure it would make a cracking read. I have a (late) grandmother whose life would offer plenty of scope as well, although I've always felt it would be a tad heartless to her memory and my father's to do so.
11/4/2012 05:31:35 am
Great interview Penny. I love the zombie question, and your reply. I've read Treasure Island many times. I haven't read One Day...
11/4/2012 10:45:40 am
Thank you everyone for your comments. Penny is a great guest.
11/5/2012 06:33:44 am
Thanks for the comments, Linda and Rhoda.
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"For me, writing is a joyful torture or sorts." ~vh~
“In this life, seek your own answers, and quote yourself for a change.” ~vh~
The muse has tapped my shoulder and my ear is turned toward her lips. I am waiting for her whisper. ~vh~
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“The frailty of life is most evident at its last breath.” vh
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