Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
Yes! I read as much as time allows. I love David Sedaris and read everything he writes.
In the romance genre, I adore Lisa Kleypas and Amy Harmon, and actually had a super awkward interaction with Amy Harmon the first time I met her. She walked onto a hotel elevator in the middle of the night (had just flown in for a signing) and I was on the elevator (having just returned from dinner). I saw her, gasped, pointed, and said, “Oh my God. You’re Amy Harmon. I don’t know where to look.” Because, really, where does one look after saying such a thing? It’s the only time in my entire life I’ve every fangirled to such an extent.
The closest I’d come prior was when I met Francis Collins (former head of the NIH and Human Genome Project). I shook his hand but couldn’t seem to form words.
What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
Early chapters are started on my Freewrite (which is an e-ink typewriter). I love it. No distractions, no self-editing, just words on the page. I then transfer the file to Word and edit on a laptop. Once I’m 3-4 chapters in, the rest is usually done on my laptop.
How important is research to you when writing a book?
Oh jeez, so incredibly important. My readers are nerds (which is fabulous), but it means that they’ll let me know if I miss a detail or make an error. Not just that, but when the author pays appropriate attention to the details and minutia of a subject, it allows the overall story to feel more authentic. And, therefore, readers are better able to suspend disbelief and submerge themselves completely in a book.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Writing is like exercising, or eating well, or knitting. It’s the antithesis of instant gratification. One must write (or exercise, or eat well, or knit) every day in order to see progress. The most difficult part for me is trusting that, eventually, writing every day will actually yield a finished product. Even after 18 books, I still have doubts that I’ll actually finish my current work-in-progress.
What would you say is the easiest aspect of writing?
Dialogue. Oftentimes, when I don’t know where to start a scene, I start with a conversation. For better or worse, I’ve become quite adept at carrying on conversation with the voices in my head.
What makes the Romance genre so special?
To my knowledge, romance is the only genre where happiness and fulfillment are celebrated.
Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers, Knitting in the City, Rugby, and Hypothesis series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.