Monday, August 27, 2012

Penny Estelle, Billy Cooper's Awesome Nightmare

AUTHOR:  Penny Estelle
BOOK TITLE:  Billy Cooper’s Awesome Nightmare
PUBLISHER:  MuseItUp Publishing
GIVEAWAY?:   A PDF copy for one of the commenters.  Be sure to leave CONTACT INFORMATION when you comment to be eligible.

Please tell me how long you've been writing, and why you decided to become a writer.

About 35 years ago, I wrote an historical romance.  It took me 5 years, and it’s about 400 typed pages.  I celebrated because I finished it and then put it in a box, and it now lives in my closet.  I became serious about writing 3 years ago when I retired.  I worked at an elementary school and had decided I wanted to write using these crazy kids I had come to know and care about.

Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?

Well I am retired, so I should be a full time writer, but the answer to your question about how I organize my writing time is….”very poorly”, therefore, I am more of a part time writer…working on full time!

What influences your writing?

Anything that catches my eye.  My grandkids playing with a certain toy, a commercial concept or a jigsaw puzzle I am working on.

Is this your first published work?  What other types of writing have you done?

I have 4 stories out, with 2 more that have been picked up.  Billy Cooper’s Awesome Nightmare, which is the first story of the Wickware Sagas, Hike Up Devil’s Mountain, A Float Down the Canal, and one non-fiction story about my trip down solar lane called, Solar – One Family’s Reality.

Why did you choose to write a children's story?

For 21 years I watched little kids run into the school library, grabbing picture books, excited to check them out and take their treasures home.  Not so much with the older kids.  They seemed to only read what was assigned.  In today’s world, MG students are faced with their own problems.  Peer pressure, troubles at home, bullying, etc.  They should have stories that let them escape reality for just awhile.

What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book?

My grandson told me they were talking about Hitler in school.    He said if I could talk to him I would tell him what a jerk he is and that he was going down!  That got me thinking about kids of today meeting up with historical figures of yesteryears.  I wrote Billy Cooper’s Awesome Nightmare and submitted it to MuseItUp.  I was ecstatic when they picked it up!

What are your thoughts on traditional versus self-publishing?

With the invention of the eBook, publishing has changed so much, luckily for me. It’s no longer just the “Big Six” publishers so authors have a better chance of getting their work out there.  I have 2 short stories I self-published and they are selling.  That being said, to self publish a book is relatively easy and some of the stories I have read are fabulous stories that are well written and well edited.  Others are….sub par and that can hurt all of us.  

What is your marketing strategy?

Marketing….hmmmm…Marketing is not for wimps!  I use all the social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, my own blog and website plus guest on other wonderful authors’ blogs, such as yourself.  I’ve done 2 radio interviews and donated books to city and school libraries just trying to get my name out there.  I guess the key is to just keep on keepin’ on!

What are your thoughts about children's writers needing an agent or not needing one?

I am sure the right agent can do wonders for getting stories sold.  I have never looked into it as all my stories (at this point) are novellas.  If I ever do write a full-blown novel, I just may look into finding one for myself.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

@pennystales -twitter

Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children's literature?

Keep writing, keep reading, and keep writing some more.

Please give us a brief synopsis or excerpt from your current book and when and where it will be available.

Billy Cooper’s Awesome Nightmare – a time travel adventure about Billy Cooper who is annoyed when old lady Wickware assigns an oral report on Friday, and it’s due on Monday.  He already has a full weekend planned.  

He figures a quick computer search will suffice and will be able to skate by on the assignment – that is until he meets his subject face to face in the 14th century.


  1. I love your last bit of advice on this post, it's the best! Want to succeed as a writer? WRITE! ANd then write some more--Conda off to write, although I'd love a copy of Billy Cooper's Awesome Nightmare, it sounds like a hoot! conda (underline)d (at)yahoo (dot) com Thanks!

  2. Nice interview! Sounds like a good story for kids!

  3. Penny, your "Billy Cooper" sounds like a delightful adventure. When my kids were in grade school, I volunteered at the school library. Loved the enthusiasm of all those little moppets going after the bookshelves. Children are great readers, if they're steered toward the right books. Keep 'em coming!

  4. Billy Cooper sounds a lot like my teen is, and was from the time of his birth. He's a bit old for this story, but surprises me daily with his choice of reading material. I'm going to recommend and see what happens. Great interview, Penny!

  5. Conda, Cheryl, Pat, Kathi, and Joylene - thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. It always means a lot! I'm on my third story of the Wickware Sagas and so far, they have been fun to write.

    And of course, thanks so very much to you Penny for letting me stop by! You rock!!!

  6. Very nice interview, Penny and Penny. I enjoyed learning more about you and your work, Penny.

  7. Penny, it's my pleasure. We Pennys have to stick together and support each other, right? Do plan to come back again and talk about the other books in the series.

    1. I would love that Penny. I just got the cover for a story I did called - At What Price? - not a kids story....Whooo hooo my first adult story about a grandchild and a grandmother! I am very excited about it!