Author Interview: Penn Fawn
Ravi: What’s your favorite short story?
Penn Fawn: Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Ravi: The Best piece of writing advice?
Ravi: Where do you write?
Penn: At home and when I have downtime at work. I’ve been known to write while I’m away on vacation too.
Ravi: Where do you get your ideas?
Penn: Ideas? Inspiration? All of them stem from the books, art, and music I’m into, plus general life experiences, especially those that left a profound impact on me.
Ravi: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Ravi: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Penn: It varies from about three months to as much as a year. I think the first book of my Necropolis Series took me more than a year because I was doing it piece meal. I wasn’t keeping close track of how long it took me to do that one, but yeah, it was over a year. I was going at it at a snail’s pace.
Ravi: If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
Penn: I wouldn’t do anything differently. I have a research and writing background, you see. Not for creative writing, mind you. At college, I majored in print journalism studies. This provided me with a strong foundation on the importance of form and structure as it applies to specific types of writing.
With the help of a professor, I took up creative writing as a side project while at the very college. I didn’t take any formal courses and never felt I had to. I was perceptive enough to observe and learn with a bit of encouragement and guidance from my professor about how to approach the creative aspect. For me, it all felt very natural, as opposed to something I had to take courses or labor over.
Ravi: What is your favorite childhood book?
Penn: I don’t have one. However, one that as a teen I recall influenced me to keep reading was A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.
Ravi: What are your favorite literary journals?
Penn: I don’t have any. I used to read the New Yorker literary magazine back in the day. This was before the advent of the internet.
Ravi: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Penn: I’d give up the amount of time I give to the dark thoughts that cloud my vision and sap my energy. This is often a daily struggle. I always have to try and keep these thoughts at bay when they rear their heads. I wish I could just stamp them out once and for all, or as you said, give them up.
Ravi: What was your hardest scene to write?
Penn: All of them. Writing is never a walk in the park for me. No part of it is. It takes some serious concentration on my part in order to get anything out. There are times when I sit before my keyboard and I could hardly get half a page or a few paragraphs out. All of it is a challenge and struggle for me.
Ravi: Do you Google yourself?
Penn: I have.
Ravi: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Penn: I haven’t so far.
Ravi: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Penn: I have. I feel good about the positive ones. The bad ones are always crushing but it comes with the territory. You have to learn to develop thick skin if you’re in the business of putting your work out for public scrutiny. If you wrote something a 99.9% readership feels is good, there will always be that one person or more who believes it’s trash and is not worth the paper or digital space it’s on.
Ravi: What did you edit out of this book?
Penn: I edited what I believed should be excluded, extraneous matter, or parts that do nothing to advance the story in a positive way.
Ravi: How many hours a day do you write?
Penn: It varies. From around forty-five minutes to five hours is about right for the range.
Ravi: How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Penn: I’m still part-time and I’m also independent, not traditionally published, and quite happy with that.
Ravi: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Penn: So far all the books I’ve written are high fantasy/speculative fiction. I created the world(s) none of which called for a terrible amount of research.
I spend weeks to months before I feel settled in mind about the subject for a book. Getting to that point is as challenging for me as the writing process is.
Ravi: What’s the best way to market your books?
Penn: Best way? I don’t know. This is something I’m currently trying to learn.
Ravi: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Penn: Three so far finished. I’m working on a fourth. I will publish all of them.
Ravi: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Penn: All that it did was get me to fine-tune the process. For example, before starting to write, now I’m very particular about having a good outline drawn up before I set a word to paper or finger to keyboard. This helps expedite the process greatly.
Ravi: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Penn: Try to be more patient about the learning curve if at all possible. That said, I don’t feel bad about writing lots of what I now consider crap when I was younger. In the end, all of it turned out to be a great learning process.
Ravi: What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Penn: I have one who does this full time as an independent author/publisher. I don’t want to say what the person’s name is because I have not asked if he/she would be okay if I revealed it. The person, who is really an associate, not a friend, schools me about the promotional marketing process. You know, that part about the business most writers have no patience or stomach for, so consequently, they self-publish books and they never make much or any money from them.
Ravi: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Penn: I’m about 50/50. I don’t write to the market. I stay clear of trying to write another medieval “A Games of Thrones” or Tolkienesque type of book. I don’t see the point in that. There is nothing new under the sun, so to speak, and the market is already saturated with those or people still trying to write those kinds of stories. That said, I write in a popular genre, which is fantasy. I believe sci-fi/fantasy is the third most popular genre readers are into.
Ravi: What advice do you have for writers?
Penn: Read as much as you write about the business of writing and publishing. Business is the operative word. I’ll say that again, “business” is the operative word. Think about that before you put pen to paper unless perhaps you’re content writing books a few friends of yours and maybe some members of your family might read.
Ravi: What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?
Penn: I don’t know. I can’t tell you the last time I read a magazine, far less subscribed to one. Books and blogs about the business side of writing are what I read.
Ravi: Tell me about your recent book to our Ravi Reads Blog Readers?
Penn: The one I’m going to release next is entitled The Jeniyan. The Shetani, a man-hating tribe within the underworld, an ancient realm replete with prehistoric animals and medieval technology, aims to annihilate an old rival called the Jeniyan. The Shetani’s wrath is evoked after they learn the Jeniyan allowed a body of men seeking refuge a stay within their territory but little did the men know why the Jeniyan received them with open arms.
Little does the Jeiniyan know the men are wanted for attempting to exterminate the Shetani’s leader, the dark lord Nyeusi, but also for being in possession of a coveted magical jewel. That jewel is the necropolis.
This is the second book of the Necropolis series, a dark fantasy adventure in which its heroes and heroines who believed life ended when they died, learned this was not so. In this sequel, the Shetani, their misanthropic foe, once again works in concert with the necromancer, the chief practitioner of black magic and sorcery there, who is also indifferent to the fallen men’s plight.
To Know more about Penn's Necropolis check out this link Thanks to Penn Fawn for agreeing to this interview! If you know of an author who’d like to be featured in an interview (or you are an author who would like to be featured), feel free to email me at the address on my contact page.