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Val Penny Answers Questions posed by Crime Writer Lorraine Mace

This article first appeared online at

A warm Wednesday welcome to Val Penny. What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?

My novels fall firmly within the Tartan Noir part of the crime genre. I write Police Procedurals set in the beautiful city of Edinburgh.

What made you choose that genre?

I chose that genre because that is the style of story that I most enjoy reading. I do read all kinds of books: fiction, non-fiction, romance, historical and women’s fiction, indeed, I even enjoy reading the occasional sci-fi novel. However, my favourite genre is crime.

How long does it take you to write a book?

My first book took me about two and a half years to write. This was partly because I didn’t know what I was doing and partly because I was being treated for breast cancer when I started writing it. Now, books take me between six and eight months to write.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

Ideally, I like to get my ‘life jobs’ done in the morning such as feeding

the cats and answering emails. After lunch I write or edit depending on what stage my WIP is at. I am more of a night owl than a lark, so I often work on into the night, if I am inspired.

Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.

I love cats and have had them in my life since I was three years old. Recently, when I went to the doctor about a persistent blocked nose, I was diagnosed with an allergy to cats!

This has not changed my life, nor that of my cats. We just co-habit with antihistamine tablets!

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I wrote my first novel, a family saga, called The Douglas Family for my little sister when I was nine. It had original illustrations in it, but sadly it was never published.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I love to spend time with family and friends, meeting for coffee or going out to the movies or for dinner. I knit, walk and swim and am a voracious reader. However, my most extravagant interest is travel. I love to visit different parts of the world. My husband treated me to Rome for my most recent significant birthday and we spent the day climbing Mount Vesuvius and wandering the streets of Pompeii. I had a wonderful time and would be surprised if my protagonist, Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson, did not visit there sometime.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

The first two publishing houses that received my manuscript were both interested. I was surprised to learn that most authors struggle to find a publisher.

How many books have you written?

I have published three novels in my Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series. The fourth, Hunter’s Blood, is due to be published 01.02.2020.

Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?

No. Never. I don’t believe everything I read in the papers either!

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I originally wanted to be a ballet dancer or own a candy store. Until I achieve either of these aims, I better keep writing.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?

Not many. I write my notes for future works into notebooks rather than clutter the computer. I do, however, have a very large collection of half-filled notebooks!

Bio: Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer.

However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, Hunter's Chase, Hunter's RevengeHunter's Force and Hunter’s Blood are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fifth book in the series, Hunter's Secret, follows shortly.

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