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A.B. Penner is writer, dreamer, and lover of all music and nature. She currently resides in abpennerCanada with her husband, and two spirited daughters. Prior to fulfilling the role of a domestic goddess, she worked in the mental health field. She can always be found reading or writing, finding enjoyment in her passion for running and yoga, and spending time with her family.

I’m so happy to have been given the chance to interview A.B. Penner! She is charming with a unique voice and a creative imagination. I’m honored to have her as a friend!

A. B., can you tell us about your upcoming book? Rising from Ashes is a New Adult/Contemporary Romance.

Charlie Ray hasn’t always had an easy life. Born to a mother of addiction and abandoned by her father, Charlie continuously faces a life of self-preservation amidst the physical and emotional abuse she endures daily.

 When Emerson Knight, a boy determined to protect her, enters her life, her whole world shifts for the better. Charlie struggles to ignore her growing feelings for Emerson, who has become a constant in her life, eventually giving in to a love she has always wished for. But all good things must come to an end, and when Charlie is presented with a life-altering decision, she pushes Emerson away, toward a future without her.

Certain she would never see him again, fate intervenes, crossing their paths six years later. Thrown into a whirlwind of second chances and self-reflection, Charlie fights to let go of her past, heal old wounds, and finally grow into a promising future with the man she’s always loved, who has no intention of leaving her behind this time.

That sounds like it’s going to be a great book! What inspired you to write your first book?  About 3-4 years ago I read a book that I was rather unimpressed with, and quite shocked that the author landed a publishing contract. This is huge considering I’m a fairly easy going person, and read for enjoyment. So, to have read a novel that elicited such feelings came as a surprise to me. Nonetheless, I did what anyone else would do after reading a poorly written book(In my eyes anyways)- I called up my best friend and told her that I bet I could write a book better and land a publishing contract, because “if this author can do it, than so can I.”

Wow! Looks like you set your mind to something and you did it! How do you find or make time to write?  This is definitely tricky, I think for any writer. For myself, I get up as early as 5am every morning in order to squeeze in quality writing time before the rest of the household wakes up. While the early mornings can be tough, it is the only time of day where I experience little to no interruptions. I also find that I am more refreshed in the early morning hours than late at night after I’ve put the children to bed, therefore, the ideas and creative juices flow freely.

Tell me, are you an outliner or pantser?  I’m definitely more of a pantser. When I wrote Rising from Ashes, I knew where I wanted the story to go, but allowed the characters to pull me through it from one scene to the next. If I do any outlining, it is to write down major plot points, but what happens in-between those major events is entirely up to the characters.

Total opposite from me, but everyone is different. How long on average does it take you to write a book?  Great question, and truthfully, I’m not sure how long it takes me on average to write a book. From start to finish, it probably took me about 9-10 months to write Rising from Ashes, with majority of the content written in the last two months. As for my romance-suspense novel that I’m currently rewriting now, I started that 3 years ago. I find I work better with a deadline. Once I had a deadline set for Rising from Ashes, I hunkered down and committed to writing every single day, no matter what the word count was at the end of the day. I have just recently set a deadline for my rewrite, because without it, I fear this poor novel will never receive the ending it deserves.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?  Oh, we’ve all been here haven’t we? It’s terrible when you sit at the computer or notebook and stare at a blank page for hours waiting for inspiration to come hit you with the “stick of incredible idea’s.”  I find that going for a run or bike ride helps to clear my head and work through plot holes. Some of my best idea’s have come to me whilst in the shower, and listening to music is such a great inspirational support for me, I’m not sure I could write without it. I know most writer’s aren’t too happy when people give the advice of taking a step back from your work to give your mind a break, and then come back to it later, but the truth is, it works. If you’re frustrated and struggling, go do something else. Occupy your brain with something else, and I bet those idea’s, or the solution to that plot hole will come to you when you aren’t thinking about it constantly.

I’ll have to keep that in mind. writer’s block is a terrible thing to have when you really want to write. What are some of your hobbies?  I have too many! haha. I love to run, but recently that has been replaced with Yoga, and Pilates. I love to bike, and hike and in general, just spend as much time in nature outdoors. I love to scrapbook(Yes, I will finish my youngest daughter’s baby book…one day…), and bake and decorate cakes. I enjoy gardening, despite my tendencies to kill the plants I love most, and reading and writing. Dancing is something else I enjoy, as well as knitting, and making my own homemade lotions.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?  I would love to visit Machu Piccu in Peru, and visit Wales, Norway, Denmark, and almost every tropical country that is home to beautiful beaches surrounded by the expanse of the ocean.

Tea or coffee?  Both. Some mornings require copious amounts of coffee to be consumed, but tea is always on hand, especially Earl grey.

You were just given an Island. What would you name it? And who would live there withIsland you?  Oh, I am not good with naming anything, let alone islands, but if I had to name an island, it would be Happy Island. Rather simple, right? Well, the way I see it, is life it too short to be unhappy, and that feeling of being content and loved and grateful is wonderful. So, why not have an island that made you feel all of the happiness it had to offer. On such an island, I would want to share it with my family and friends.

How about the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?  Ooo. Um… I don’t think I’ve eaten anything too crazy. I’ve eaten octopus, escargot, and liver to name a few off the top of my head. When presented with the opportunity to try snake, frog’s legs, and crocodile, I passed.

Are you a morning or night person?  Morning, despite it taking a little while for me to come around and fully wake up.

Important question! Do you have any pets?  I do. I have a 7 year old English Bulldog named Tucker.

Oh, I love English bulldogs! If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be?  All of them? Haha. Seriously, to pick one is tough. I like to think that I’m creating wonderful book boyfriends, and strong female leads that hopefully readers will fall in love with. But, if I have to choose one from Rising from Ashes, I would probably be Emerson. He has the ability to call Charlie out on her crap, love fiercely, and fight for what he wants. He pushes Charlie, and yet he is patient and understanding. He is her constant in life, and I think anyone, for the most part, anyone would love to have someone like him in their life.

Do you have any advice for other writers?  Write. Do not give up. Write for yourself and not for others. Be open to constructive criticism, and don’t allow yourself to become consumed by the negativity of others who give you nothing but negative absolutes. You deserve just as much space in the creative world as the next person, so use your talent and enjoy it.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?  I am currently working on my rewrite of my romance-suspense novel that I started 3 years ago. It follows the lives of Aria, an art graduate who has moved across the country to escape a past that haunts her daily, and Jake, the resident Search and Rescue Technician who is battling with demons of his own. The two of them find themselves caught in a whirlwind of intense love, and passion, but when their future becomes threatened by the events Aria wishes she could forget, she realizes there is no escape, and sometimes facing your worst nightmare is the only way to find peace and move on.

That sounds awesome! If you are interested in following A.B. Penner and keeping tabs on what she’s doing with her writing career, please follow her below:

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Thank you so much, A.B. Penner for talking tropical islands, writer’s block, and the weirdest things you’ve eaten. It was a pleasure getting to see what goes on inside your head!

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