top of page
Val Penny 2 .jpg
Screenshot 2023-09-18 at 17.12.22.png

My Writing Journey 

I have been writing and telling stories all my life.


When I was a child, I used to make up stories for my little sister after our Mum put the light out and told us to go to sleep.

Later, I wrote documents, contracts, and courses as part of my job, but my time was well accounted for, so I did not create any fiction.

However, I took early retirement when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and there were times when I suffered severe side effects from my treatment. I could not go out, spend time with friends or indulge in many of my favourite hobbies, but watching daytime television gets very old very fast, so I turned to reading. It was the only thing I had the energy to do and could do safely.

I read voraciously, as I always have. I particularly enjoy reading crime fiction and thrillers.

So I indulged this interest and enjoyed many novels by Peter Robinson, Ian Rankin, Linwood Barclay and Kathy Reichs.

After a while, I began to feel a little better and decided to start reviewing the books I enjoyed. Then, as I began to feel better still, I got restless, but was still did not well enough to do very much and I complained to my long-suffering husband about getting bored.


It was then he challenged me: ‘If you know so much about what makes a good book, why don’t you write one?’


I did laugh.

Then I began to think about a character and his back story, another character, his daughter and how her life turned out and suddenly I thought, ‘Maybe I could write a book.’ It was then Hunter Wilson was born.

It took me a long time to write that first book, partly because I was ill and partly because it was a new discipline. When it was finished, in my ignorance, I decided to send the manuscript to two different publishers, confident that they would both be thrilled to receive it.

I had no idea that publishers only accept one or two percent of the manuscripts they receive and therefore I was not surprised when both publishers did indeed want to publish my debut novel, Hunter’s Chase.

I chose Crooked Cat Books and was published through them and their imprint Dark Stroke Books, for several years. Recently, I moved to SpellBound Books, a London Publishing House, and am blessed to have a strong relationship with them too.

I have received a great deal of help and support from my family, writing friends and particularly my colleagues at The Writers Summer School which takes place in Swanwick, Derbyshire every August.


I enjoy writing and telling stories again, as I did so many years ago when my sister and I were little girls ....

bottom of page