Author Interview with K.W. PENNDORF:Freya's family is wonderful. Just not to her. After all, her older sister loves to talk about "pulling a Freya" - a term for any mistake she makes, her younger sister publicly reads from Freya's diary without ever getting reprimanded, and her parents hardly take notice of her. But that is all about to change when her father, Denmark's renowned Viking archaeologist, asks her to hide a precious artifact where no one will find it. Freya jumps at the chance to prove her worth and suddenly discovers herself transported to a magical forest where she comes face to face with not only real Vikings, but a clan of sprites and a Berserk as well. In search of a way home, Freya unearths a realm of adventure and a path to greatness she is sure her family will revere.
I am so honored and excited to kick off 2016 with the lovely Author of FREYA AND THE DRAGON EGG - KW Penndorf - CHECK OUT HER BOOK TRAILER TOO......
THANKS FOR BEING HERE KW. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR BOOK.
My name is KW Penndorf, and I’m the youngest of four which has led to a natural talent for story telling haha. I’ve always had a love for “moving” an audience, whether that be acting in my high school plays when I was younger, a career teaching in a classroom, or now writing as an author. I love engaging people. My book, Freya and the Dragon Egg, draws on another love of mine: history. I enjoy learning about how history shapes the way a culture lived at a particular time in the past. I have written my story with the hopes that readers will learn through Freya’s experiences, within the Viking Era.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I became a story teller at a very young age. I had often mingled with writing, but in truth was more interested in setting up the story than actually writing it. Then I grew up, had experiences, one of which was having lived abroad, and then took a boring job in which I commuted by train to work – just over one hour each way. From this, I became an author by a sheer act of God. Sitting sleepily on the train one morning, a vision flashed before me: a little girl holding an oval object while sitting in a Viking graveyard. I knew it to be a Viking graveyard because I had visited one 13 years prior to this boring morning. I checked out the train window for a cemetery or anything to help explain why of all days, so many years later, I would get such a vision. With no such cemetery in sight, I got excited and thought, “Let’s do this: let’s build a story!” The writing teacher in me started asking ‘who was the girl, why was she in that graveyard, and what on earth was that oval object?’ Presto! My book was born.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
I would have to say writing Freya and the Dragon Egg has been my greatest writing achievement. Not so because it is the first book I have finished, but because it is the first book I have cared to get out into the public, to promote, to hear feedback about, and to get excited to see where else it will take me. I often explain that Freya and the Dragon Egg is an adventure story in that Freya goes on adventures as well as I do. She has awarded me adventures through events at schools, Scandinavian and Viking festivals, gift shops associated with museum events, kubb competitions, libraries, book stores, and not to mention, super cool conversations with fans and other authors.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Easy – having a full time job outside of being an author. I would love to have 100% of my time devoted to all things “author” instead of 20%. I am still able to do research, to write, to edit, to promote, and to plot story lines, yet months go by instead of what I think could only take weeks if I didn’t have a day job. I think I’m as impatient as my fans are about seeing the second book come out, hehehe.
I KNOW THE FEELING COMPLETELY! SO WHEN YOU'RE ABLE, WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I’m actually working on book two of the series. Freya and the Dragon Egg is book one of nine!
WHEW, 9 BOOKS! YOU MIGHT BE BUSY FOR A WHILE! WHAT GENRE(S) DO YOU WRITE OR WISH TO WRITE IN THE FUTURE?
I really enjoy writing middle grade fiction. It speaks to the kid in me and my young fans are absolutely adorable to meet and speak with.
I AGREE WITH MIDDLE GRADERS! DO YOU EVER SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK? IF SO, HOW DO YOU GET PAST IT?
100%. I’ve tried many tricks. They all help, but not at the same time or in any particular order. I’ve walked away from my writing for a day or two, I’ve written out of order according to the story line, I’ve plunged into research for other topics I’m not currently writing about, and I’ve talked plot lines with friends and family.
WRITING OUT OF ORDER HAS WORKED FOR ME TOO. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PLACE TO WRITE?
We have a spare guest room with a pullout sofa. I love sitting on that sofa (it has a chaise lounge) and write or plot. And drink tea. There must be tea when writing.
SOUNDS LIKE A PLACE I'D LOVE TO WRITE TOO - ALTHOUGH I'M A COFFEE GIRL. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
All of them. I know that sounds like a cop out, but hearing from friends and family that they hear my voice when they read my words makes me feel like I’m staying true to myself as a writer/story teller. Hearing readers say my book reads like a movie in their mind, tells me my art of describing is exactly the form of writing I enjoy reading. Listening to readers discuss plots or ask about future plots excites me, knowing I’ve hooked them. Or knowing that readers learned things about the Viking Era which they never knew about makes all my research all that more meaningful.
WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
“The book is good.” And no further insight to their opinion. I’m left wondering if it’s good enough to shout from the rooftops that everyone should buy a copy, or if the reader feels ‘good’ is the only word kind enough in polite society to say it’s best not to know their true opinion.
OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I love dinner parties, travelling, movies, Skipbo, and planning family outings.
I MIGHT HAVE TO TRY OUT SKIPBO... DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK(S) PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
Yes. It was important to me to have others critically view the plot, the imagery, the character voices, and the believability of a work of fiction.
I ADORE YOUR COVER AND BOOK TRAILER! HOW DID THEY COME TO FRUITION?
I was fortunate enough to meet an AMAZING graphic designer, Lisa Amowitz, who understood my vision perfectly for the cover and interior art of my book. She listened, asked questions, sent sample work and revisions, found cover fonts with the right Viking rune vibe, and basically created visually what my words on paper did in the mind of my readers. For my book trailer, I gave a storyboard using Lisa’s drawings to another amazing artist, Kallias Szweda, who brought the exact mix of adventure, excitement, and strong tone of mystery to my mini movie.
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
I wrote in the voice of an extremely chatty little girl, named Grimhild. She dreams of growing up a Viking warrior and basically will talk anyone’s ear off about the topic or will rush into an adventure without thinking it through. She’s all me, hahaha. I wrote her without even realizing she’s me. It wasn’t until I was editing the book and smiling that it hit me why I connected to her so well. Anyone who knows me knows I love to talk, and talk, and talk, and talk, and talk. And although I can’t say I want to be a Viking warrior, I love the idea of just going out and doing something without thinking it through. Like becoming an author!
DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
As this is my first book, everything is a learning curve and thus I have nothing to compare my experiences with. Should book two bring about difficulties which book one didn’t see, then I would say yes. So I guess I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
I WOULD LOVE FOR YOU TO REACH BACK OUT TO ME ONCE BOOK 2 IS COMPLETE. EVEN THOUGH IT WAS YOUR FIRST TIME, DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
Nope. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had any “woe is me” moments, or have walked away from my book (writing, promoting, returning emails) for days on end because I wasn’t in a mental state to bring ‘being an author’ forward. Then magic will happen, a review, or new plot idea, or an eager fan requesting book 2, and I’ll snap out of woe is me and step into yea is me!
I LIKE THAT! HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER?
Success to me is that moment when your book sells to a reader who doesn’t know or isn’t connected to you through family or friends or colleagues in any shape or fashion.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Stick with it.
And now for the Speed Round of Questions...
KW's “BLONDE” BASICS:
FAVORITE FOOD? Pizza or mashed potatoes. Depends on the day
FAVORITE MOVIE? Sense and Sensibility – I literally have seen it over 100 times
FAVORITE BOOK? Anne of Green Gables – it’s the only book I’ve ever read more than once
FAVORITE SUPERHERO? Does Indiana Jones count? He inspired me to take adventures!
FAVORITE AUTHOR? LM Montgomery
JUST FOR THE RECORD, INDIANA JONES TOTALLY COUNTS! :) KW, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING THE BLONDE BOOKIE BLOG TODAY!
NOW, HERE'S WHERE YOU CAN FIND HER AND HER BOOK:
FIND HER ON FACEBOOK:
ON BARNES & NOBLE:
YOUTUBE VIDEOS WHERE YOU CAN SEE HER IN-PERSON!
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR KW, SHE'LL HAVE MORE RELEASES COMING OUT IN THE SERIES!