Penny Kim is a Washington, DC lurker and resident of Alexandria, Virginia. She is active in several area book groups that span several genres, from murder mysteries to chick lit and beyond. Currently working on her second book, her debut novel "Desert Wedding" is a compelling coming of age story for the Millennial Generation.
Thank you for this interview, Penny. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Hello! I live in Alexandria, Virginia and have been writing ever since I can remember. The first book I ever wrote was called Cutie the Dinosaur. I wrote it in grade school and all of my teachers thought there was a mistake when I submitted it for an award—they just couldn’t believe I had written it. I think that’s the most fun about writing, how it shocks people closest to you.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
Desert Wedding is a riff on the classic chick-lit wedding story. It takes on the oftentimes bizarre rites-of-passage that comes with getting engaged and married, told through the lens of two best friends—Elsie and Res—living in Phoenix, Arizona. After planning my own wedding I had a very clear sense of why I needed to write this book. There is so much friction that goes on during this process and at the end I realized it was all part of the crazy, life-changing experience. The arguments aren’t really over the invitations or the flower arrangements but about your role as a part of a new, emerging family. I wanted to write about that journey. We like to hide the friction and focus on the window dressing, but it’s really that friction that makes a wedding such a rite of passage for a woman.
Who is your intended audience? Have you been able to crossover into other audiences as well?
Women from about mid-twenties on are my target audience. I though initially that a working woman on her way to work might be the ideal audience for my books, but I found that stay at home mothers have been some of the biggest supporters of my writing.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
I embrace the term “chick lit” and it’s a genre that comes very easily to me to write. To me, it’s very representative of how close friends engage in storytelling and I like that kind of authenticity.
Do you ever experience self-doubts with your work?
I think every writer does, but once it’s written I have a sense of finality about the work. So even if a reader doesn’t like what a character does, I don’t necessarily get defensive, because in my mind that’s what happened. My characters end up being very real to me, so once a work is done, that self doubt drifts away and turns into what happened.
Where do you write? Do you have a favorite place?
I have an office that I write in. it’s light-filled and quiet, two necessities for me to write uninterrupted.
What kind of research did you have to do during the writing process?
I have to have a good background in what I’m writing, it can’t be a topic I know nothing about. I take the “write what you know” truism to heart. That said, once the book is done I do go back and do my due diligence to make sure the sequencing is right and the things I’ve referenced are correct.
Who is your publisher and how did you get accepted by them? Did you pitch your book yourself or go through an agent?
No agent, Story Girl Press is an indie publishing company that looks for books that have that “un-put-downable” quality. It was the right choice to partner with their fabulous editor.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
Local events, readings with book groups, that sort of thing. Bloggers and reviewers on Goodreads have also been incredibly supportive.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
You have to get out from behind your computer screen and meet your readers. Don’t rely on virtual outreach.
Thank you for this interview, Penny. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
Of course! Occasionally I do pieces on the Story Girl Press website at http://www.storygirlpress.com find me on goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6467309.Penny_Kim