I have always loved writing and can still remember the joy of writing stories even as a child. I was very lucky to have a wonderful and inspirational English teacher in my secondary School and I think she was probably the first person to really instil in me a love of the written word. My other great love was travelling and I had a wonderful few years working in France and New Zealand and a very memorable overland journey in 1974/1975, travelling through Europe and Africa in a Land Rover. This latter adventure was described in my book: ‘On Wheels, on Foot and on Crutches’ and was published by Olympia Publishers in October 2016.
I eventually settled in London and in the early 1990’s decided to continue with my education. I studied A-level English at my local Higher Education College in the evenings. Our lovely teacher was easily the most influential person in my literary life up to that point; she was very encouraging and gave me the confidence to go ahead and do a University degree (English) and to eventually become a published author.
I stopped working in late 2012 and began writing short stories for competitions in various writing magazines. I didn’t have much luck until I wrote a short story for the Reader’s Digest which was published on-line. It was about a year after I’d finished work that I came across my old diary, written in 1974/1975 when traversing Europe and the African continent and I decided to type it up before the rather smudged hand writing became indecipherable. When reading through it I was pleasantly surprised to see how much detail I had jotted down during our travels. I found my African photo album and started to scan my little Kodak camera photos into the document as I typed it up and hence, what initially started as a project, gradually metamorphosed into a book.
“It’s hard to describe my joy, pride and the overwhelming feeling of achievement as I held my book for the first time. It is definitely up there with the most memorable moments in my life!”
It took me a year to write my book and that was the fun part! I then purchased the ‘Writers and Artists’ Yearbook and during the next year I approached about 25 publishers and literary agents. I have to say though, that although 24 of them rejected me outright, it was mostly done in a kind and constructive way. I was understandably delighted when Olympia Publishers asked to see the rest of my book and to say I was over the moon is an understatement when I received my first and only letter of acceptance, from Olympia Publishers!
The following year was a real learning curve for me and I loved every bit of my publishing journey with Olympia. The staff in both the Production and Marketing Departments were always very helpful and very quick to answer any of my queries. I did suffer from spells of doubt and anxiety at times, which I think is fairly normal, but the staff were always there to put my mind at rest and I cannot thank them enough for their patience and professionalism.
I cannot describe the feeling of anticipation as I waited for my books to be delivered! When they were handed to me and I opened them…well, it’s hard to describe my joy, pride and the overwhelming feeling of achievement as I held my book for the first time. It is definitely up there with the most memorable moments in my life!
You can purchase a copy of Penny’s book from the following places: