ღ(¯`v´¯)ღ About Penny Zeller ღ(¯`v´¯)ღ¸
While Penny Zeller has had a love for writing since childhood, she began her adult writing career penning articles for national and regional publications.
Today, Penny is a multi-published, award-winning author of inspirational books. She is also a homeschool mom, a group fitness instructor, and a ministry liaison who connects needs with ministry resources. Her passion is to assist and nurture women and children into a closer relationship with Christ.
When Penny is not dreaming up new characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children while camping, hiking, canoeing, biking, reading, running, gardening, and playing volleyball.
She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and loves to hear from her readers at her website, blog, and on Facebook.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.
My sister, brother, and I had a wonderful childhood and were raised by a loving mom and dad. They instilled in us love for each other and our country; kindness, loyalty, compassion, and thoughtfulness toward others; and they raised us to have a strong work ethic. I grew up surrounded by a wonderful extended family on a small acreage in a rural town. My siblings, cousins, and I spent hours outside riding our bikes and motorcycles, shooting hoops, playing volleyball and tetherball, and spending the night in a playhouse my dad had won for us in a raffle. While I was raised in a moral home with good values, I was not raised in a Christian home. I did attend church once in a while and belonged to a youth group, but it wasn’t until I was 16 at a church camp that I came to Christ. Today my strongest mentors in the faith include my daughters, mom, sister, and aunt.
What age did you realize you loved books and when did you start writing?
I have loved books for as long as I can remember. My mom often read to my siblings and me when we were little, and once I was able to read, it became a favorite pastime. I remember devouring Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books and enjoying a multitude of historical romance and contemporary romance novels as I grew older.
I have had a love for writing since I was in second grade and rewrote Bible stories in my own little second grade commentary. Throughout my school years, I would write stories and “publish” them in homemade cardboard books. In high school, I wrote stories where my friends were the main characters.
Fast forward several years when I surrendered my writing to the Lord. I quit my full time job with a social services governmental agency so I could stay home with my children. That was the start of my career, beginning with writing magazine articles. Writing is my ministry and my passion and I pray I will glorify Him with each word I write.
What advice would you give a new author?
I would tell them to persevere. I know that sounds cliché, but it is so critical, especially in those moments when the obstacles mount and it seems like our writing is going nowhere beyond our own computer file. If God has called you to write, He has a purpose for that writing. We may never be best-selling authors, but our writing can still make a difference to those who read it. Joining writing clubs and groups both online and in person can be helpful a well.
Publishing seems especially challenging right now, and I have been brainstorming with my family and agent about diversifying genres and methods. Whatever methods we use on our journey, the most important advice I can give is to be true to your calling to write.
God calls us all to do different things for His Kingdom. If He has called you to write, seek His guidance. Never give up, even when you feel like it or when someone has unkindly criticized you. Seek to please and honor Him in whatever you write, whether it be for the secular or non-secular market; whether it be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, song lyrics, or a screenplay. Find a mentor and be open to ideas and suggestions from one who’s “been there, done that”. One final note: join forces with other Christian writers. After all, we are all working for the same Boss.
What projects are you working on now?
As someone who always has a million “tabs” open, my mind literally goes 90 miles an hour most hours of the day. As such, I have several different projects I am working on at various stages of completion. I am currently writing a contemporary romance novel and am also doing research for a time slip historical/contemporary/romantic suspense that I am super excited about. I also recently finished a romantic suspense manuscript, and I’m thrilled to see where God takes that project.
How do you feel writing has affected your relationship with God?
Writing has definitely affected my relationship with God by reminding me that He will guide my steps. I can make all of the writing/book plans for myself, but ultimately, He determines my steps. (My paraphrase from Proverbs 16:9). Being an author can be tough. You work hard to write and your characters are a part of you. Your manuscript and your books are an extension of you. My faith in His plan for my writing can waver at times, but He is always faithful to remind me He gave me this desire for a reason.
Another way my writing has affected my relationship with God is by interspersing faith in my books. Some manuscripts and books I write will have less of a faith element and some will have a strong faith element, but faith will always be an integral part. I was recently asked if I would be willing to write “nice” stories with no faith element. After much prayer, I realized that that is not something I would ever be able to do. My faith, my love for the Lord, my trust and gratitude for all He has done for me is integrated in every part of my life, and my books are no exception.
Where do we find your books?
My books are available wherever books are sold, including Christianbook.com and Amazon.com.