Author Interview, Crooked Cat Books

6 Ws with Author Val Penny

Val Penny is next in this series featuring fellow authors of Crooked Cat Books. I wanted to give the authors a bit of promotion on my website while getting to know them better. (Like I just learned Val is an American living in Scotland.)

Her debut novel, Hunter’s Chase, will be released Feb. 2 by Crooked Cat.

Here are Val’s responses to my 6Ws — who, what, when, where, how, and why. (How does end with a W.)

Who is author Val Penny?

I am an American author living in SW Scotland. I have two adult daughters of whom I am justly proud and live with my husband and two cats. I have a law degree from Edinburgh University and my MSc from Napier University, Edinburgh. My Hunter's Chase book cover (1)post graduate creative writing studies were under-taken through Lauder College, Fife. I have had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However I have not yet achieved either of my childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, I have turned my hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. My first crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ set in Edinburgh, Scotland will be published by Crooked Cat Books on Feb. 2, 2018. It is available to purchase from Amazon

What does she write?

My novels fall squarely within the genre of crime thrillers. I write police procedural novels: my main protagonist is Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson. In Hunter’s Chase, DI Hunter Wilson struggles to ensure the crime in Edinburgh does not go unpunished. Hunter’s Chase introduces a new detective, DI Hunter Wilson into Tartan Noire. I am delighted to be compared to other proponents of Tartan Noire such as Ian Rankin, Alex Grey and Quintin Jardine.

I think all crime novels explore the triumph of good over evil. The readers know the criminals will not succeed. Still, the thrill of the chase and the problems overcome to achieve justice for the victims must enthral and satisfy the readers.

When did she begin writing?

I began writing my first novel when I was being treated for breast cancer. I had taken early retirement and was beginning to wonder how I had ever had time to work when I received the unwelcome diagnosis of breast cancer.

As my treatment proceeded, I started to blog about my experience. My writing here still receives considerable attention: I found my treatment very tiring and had little energy to do anything but read, so I started reviewing the books I read on

I have always enjoyed crime fiction and I began to think that, as I had the time, I would try my hand at writing a crime fiction novel. It was not an easy task, and it took a lot longer than I thought it would, but the result was Hunter’s Chase.

How does she write?

I write my notes and plan my work in a notebook using pen and paper. I was advised to plan my novels by the successful novelist Sue Moorcroft. She writes womens’ contemporary fiction, a totally different genre to mine, but the advice was sound nevertheless.

However, when I am writing the drafts of my novels, I type the work up on my computer referring closely to my notes. I also make sure that I keep details of the action and characters in spread sheets to try to avoid inconsistencies.

Where does she write?

I write wherever ideas occur. I carry an ideas notebook with me wherever I go. People say the funniest things and I often jot down things I see or hear so that I do not forget them. However, my ‘serious’ writing efforts on my computer are usually conducted in a cosy corner of my living room. Here, I am close to the kitchen for coffee breaks and the space is peaceful with my two cats curled up in their beds.

Why does she write?

I write because I have stories to tell and nobody else will do that. I find the process of writing therapeutic and the results rewarding. It is often said that writing is a solitary occupation, but I do not find it so. Between contacting experts for purposes of research, discussing my work in progress at my local writing group and chatting to fellow authors about the challenges we all face, I may often be alone, but never lonely.

More: In my debut crime novel, Hunter’s Chase, DI Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city and he needs to find the source but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course. Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable. Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taught crime thriller. Hunter by name– Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.

Other works: I am presently working on the sequel to Hunter’s ChaseHunter’s Revenge. My publishers, Crooked Cat Books, have just confirmed that it will be published in August/September 2018, so I better get a move on and finish it.

Thank you for allowing me to visit your blog today, Joan. I really appreciate it. I can be contacted on social media at:



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