HEIDI'S PICK SIX
1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
I have a soft spot for Lucas K. Jackson of Rolling In Clover. He's a decent, hard-working guy, who doesn't always make the best decisions. He's a Gulf War veteran, father of two, and he wears a tool belt every day. He isn't a great husband, but he wants to be. His potential for growth is amazing, and he's determined to reach his goals. Luke is all the wonderful things about my daddy, and for that reason, his middle initial is a tribute to my father, Ken.
2. Tell me about your travels.
I regularly vacation in the Caribbean, but I can't say I enjoy much more than the hot sun there. I've never been to Europe, but I plan to go, once I've combed over the U.S. a few hundred times. I'm a big believer in knowing one's homeland, so I prefer to stick within our borders.
I have a crush on the United States of America, and I adore the east coast, Virginia, in particular. When I was 12, I saw Jefferson's Monticello for the very first time, and I'm still smitten (which is why I wrote the plantation into "Ancient History".) I can't wait for my girls to be big enough to tour old colonial homes with me. There isn't enough vacation time in a lifetime to view all the fabulous architecture/interior design in this vast land.
While I enjoy the lakes region (north of Chicago) May through September, I'd rather be near South Florida during the colder months. Ah, serenity. (As a tribute to Fort Lauderdale, I situated my first novel, Measuring Up, there.)
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
4. What else can you do besides write?
I have a syndrome I call "Creative Restlessness." I sleep very few hours a day, often only 3 or 4, and the rest of the time, I'm creating. I design kitchens, bathrooms, libraries, entertainment centers. I paint everything from walls to stoneware. I dance and choreograph, sew and reupholster. One of my favorite things to do is to tear apart a challenging (code word for "ugly" or "inefficient") room and put it back together in a gorgeous new form. In short, there is beauty in everything, and my life is enriched every time I discover the fabulous parts of the mundane.
5. Who are you reading right now?
6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
The toughest scene I ever wrote was a menage a quad involving two of my characters and two of Jacki King's. Jacki and I had teamed up with 3 other novelists for Amberheat's Blue Silver AmberPax (which is the eBook equivalent of a short story anthology, see http://amberheat.com) and in this imprint, the hotter/kinkier/quirkier, the better the sales. Thus, I searched my mind's dirtiest depths, thinking, "What will make my mother squirm with distaste, yet at the same time turn her on, if her daughter hadn't written it?" After much mucking, I approached Jacki about writing an overlapping sex scene in my 'Making Noise' and her 'No More Pretend'. The result? Four bodies, one bed.
This was challenging, due in part to the pronoun issue. "His" and "her" became ambiguous and the scene was a literal game of naked twister. Also, one of my requirements in writing erotica is that emotion must override the sexual act. Without emotion, erotica is cheap sex, and I don't do that. It was quite a challenge to write deep emotion into a quad scene, but I think all four of our characters walked away from that hotel room enriched. I was going to say "having grown," but that's a bit too tongue-in-cheek...even for me. :)
Furthermore, at the time, this was undoubtedly the most risque I'd ever allowed my writing to be. In the back of my mind, with every word I wrote was, "My father is going to read this." Eek.
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.
Ice cream. I can't get enough of it. At any given time, I have at least 6 half-gallons in my freezer. Chocolate-based flavors are my favorites, although I've found only one flavor I'd rather not eat--black walnut--and if push came to shove, I'd probably eat that, too. I love ice cream so much I tattooed it on my body.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?
12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take
you along for the ride?
13. Celebrity crush.
I like Matt Damon. I have hazy recollections of "knowing" him (if you know what I mean) back around 1993, before he was famous. I have regular dreams about him, and I inexplicably know personal things about him. I also know we respect each other, although I'm not sure he knows who I am. Someday I'm going to learn whether or not we actually romped together. (All right...how's that for insanity?)
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?
Penny Dawn began her writing career at the tender age of seven, before she realized it's impossible to be all good, all the time. Romantic stories with passionate twists have since become her forte ... and she unleashes her demons on paper, over and over and over again. Her most recent novel Ancient History is a paranormal romance. Penny holds a B. A. in history and English from Northern Illinois University and an M.A. in Creative Writing from Seton Hill University, whose alumnae include spicy novelists Jacki King, Shannon Hollis, Suzanne Forster, Dana Marton, and others. When she isn't writing, Penny enjoys tap, ballet, and jazz dance, physical fitness, and renovating her 1906 Victorian lady with her husband and two daughters. Drop by her website to discuss all things decadent.