Q&A with Val Penny

Today is my turn on the blog tour for Hunter’s Chase. I’m sharing my Q&A with the author with thanks to Zoe O’Farrell for inviting me on the blog tour and to Val Penny for answering my questions!

Have you always wanted to write?

I made up stories since I was a little girl and, indeed, wrote my first book for my little sister when I was nine years old. It was a mystery entitled The Douglas Family and it contained original illustrations. However, only one copy was ever produced!

I began my career as an author much later, when I was recovering for cancer, but it did feel like coming home to storytelling.

What were your previous jobs? Have they helped you with your writing process?

I have had a variety of jobs in my life. These include azalea farmer, hairdresser and university lecturer. Every job has allowed me to explore different aspects of life and introduced me to a wide variety of different people. That helps me immeasurably with my writing.

What was your inspiration?

When I was recovering from cancer, I had no immune system and couldn’t do many of the things I usually enjoy. Daytime television grows old very fast, so I reverted to type and read voraciously. I then began to feel a little better and began a book review blog bookreviewstoday.info. After a while, my husband said to me ‘If you know what makes a good book – why don’t you write one?’ That inspired me to write Hunter’s Chase.

How do you construct your characters? Do they have traits of people you know?

I construct my characters by working out what I want them to do and why I need them. I then write a biography for the character and describe their physical and mental characteristics. Inevitably, they have traits of people I have met, but I don’t create characters that way. I give them the characteristics I need them to have.

What does your writing process look like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

When I started writing my first novel, Hunter’s Chase, I was definitely a pantser and the novel took me a long time to write.

I subsequently went to a course run by Sue Moorcroft. We write totally different genres. I write crime and she writes women’s fiction, but her advice was sound. I largely follow the system she taught me. To that end I am now a plotter who inserts details on a pantser basis! I outline my stories on a chapter-by-chapter basis in a notebook and then I create the final first draft of the novel on my computer.

How did you research Hunter’s Chase? Did you enjoy it?

I write modern crime fiction set in the city of Edinburgh, which I know well so the things I research most often are drugs and their use and methods of murder. I just hope nobody ever reads my computer history. It might be difficult to explain.

Who are your favourite writers? Are you influenced by them?

My favourite authors include Erin Kelly, Linwood Barclay, Katherine Johnston and Peter Robinson. I believe we are all influenced by everything we read and, indeed, I think that to write well you must read widely.

If you could invite three people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be and why?

This is always an interesting question, and my answer changes according to my mood. Today, I would choose Winston Churchill to discuss the history of the 20th century with him. Maya Angelou to learn her views of creating poetry and reflecting the human condition that way. Lastly, I would invite Ewan McGregor, to ask whether he would be willing to play my main character DI Hunter Wilson when my books are televised.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?

No contest – any politician – but particularly Donald Trump. I can’t stand people with big egos.

Who would play the main character/s in a film version of Hunter’s Chase?

I would like Ewan McGregor to play DI Hunter Wilson and possibly Chris Hemsworth as Tim Myerscough with Nathan Stewart-Jarrett playing the part of Bear.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have always liked to travel and exploring new places. I also enjoy spending time with family and friends, preferably over a good meal but to justify the good meals, I must keep fit preferably by walking along a beach, swimming or gardening.

What is next for you?

I recently signed with Spellbound Books based in London and second editions of my full back catalogue will be published. However, I have also pitched four new books to them. All of which have been accepted, so I better finish writing them!


Book? – The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly

Film? – Ice Cold in Alex

Band/Singer? – Adele

TV show? – Gentleman Jack

Colour? – Blue

Place? – Muir Woods, California

Biscuit? – Kit-Kat


Hunter’s Chase is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:

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