It gives me great pleasure to welcome back the lovely author, Val Penny, to Patricia’s Pen. Val is not only a terrific crime fiction writer but she is also one of my special friends and a fellow Swanwick delegate. Val is here to chat about her new novel The First Cut. without further ado, it’s over to Val.
Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog today.
It’s a pleasure, Val. I’m sure my readers are looking forward to hearing all about The First Cut.
Writing The First Cut
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 and 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. I indulged this interest with many novels including those 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 read in my blog Bookreviewstoday which I enjoyed doing. Then, as I began to feel better still, I got restless, but was still 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 laughed. However, the challenge was set and I have been writing police procedural crime thrillers set in Scotland ever since.
In fact, my publishers, Dark Stroke Books have just launched the first book in a new series The Jane Renwick Thrillers where the main character is Detective Sergeant Jane Renwick, The First Cut.
Jane Renwick appears in my original series of crime novels, The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries but the main character is Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson. However, there was no competition about who my new main character should be. I had created an interesting back story for Jane Renwick. She grew up in care and struggled against the odds to achieve her ambition of joining the police force, but she did manage to do this and is a respected police detective in the Major Incident Team (MIT).
However, Jane has not been able to marry. She lives with her civil partner, Rachael Anderson, who is also a detective on the force. The First Cut is set in 2014 and marriage for the LGBTQ community did not become legal in Scotland until 2016. Maybe Jane and Rachael will marry in the future.
The Jane Renwick Thrillers will reflect the work of MIT, therefore Jane’s stories will take her all over Scotland, not just Edinburgh where she and Rachael live. I look forward to sharing the beautiful and varied parts of Scotland with my readers as they follow Jane’s adventures.
About Val Penny
First Cut is the first in the new series of novels, The Jane Renwick Thrillers. Val Penny’s other crime novels, Hunter’s Chase Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force Hunter’s Blood and Hunter’s Secret form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by darkstroke Her first non-fiction book Let’s Get Published is also available now and she has most recently contributed her short story, Cats and Dogs to a charity anthology, Dark Scotland.
Val is an American author living in SW Scotland with her husband and their cat.
Where to buy books
Well done Val. We often have intake a different path life and you turned it to your advantage. And what a challenge! Hopefully you will inspire a lot of would-be writers. I look forward to reading your work.
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Thank you for reading and commenting, Julie. I’m sure Val will be along presently to respond to you.
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It’s great when a secondary character in a novel finds their own path to become the lead in another book and series. The same thing has happened to one of my characters. Good luck with the series and will be putting this on my TBR shelf.
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Thank you, Kit, for your lovely comments. You’ll love the book. I have a signed copy. 🙂 I’m sure Val will be along to respond to you personally.