It’s All About the Author…
1) Please tell us 5 interesting facts about yourself that readers might not know about you …
I have no sense of direction.
I won a local ‘Extreme Lawn Makeover’ contest by tearing out all the grass in our yard and replacing it with drought-tolerant plants
I hate to cook.
I’m adopted, but learned I have two biological brothers whom I’ve never met.
I don’t eat meat (considering all the hunting in PUNISHMENT SUMMER that might come as a surprise!).
2) What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to garden, so it’s not uncommon to find me out digging in the dirt. I’ve discovered carrots grow really well in our yard as do all sorts of peppers. I also love to draw and paint. I recently finished a series of illustrations for another author’s as-yet-unpublished book (it’s in final edits and I’m eagerly waiting to see the final product!).
3) Is there one book that you love to read over and over again? If so, what is it and what is it that keeps you coming back to it?
I regularly re-read the Harry Potter series. I love the way the story transports me to a different world. And it’s fun watching Harry, Hermione and Ron grow up over and over again.
4) How did you get started writing and have you always wanted to be an author?
I was an English major in high school and had always enjoyed writing, but years of composing ads, articles and promotional materials pretty much leached out the fun. Then I took a newsletter design class and, as a part of an assignment, the instructor had us write an essay on whatever we wanted. I had so much fun! I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed creative writing. As a lifelong mystery and thriller fan, they seemed like natural genres for me to try. I managed to connect with a great critique group and started honing my craft. But it took a number of years before I felt like I had something I could send out into the world.
5) If you for some reason couldn’t be an author, what would your other choice be?
There’s a part of me that thinks, if I could’ve been a pretty decent house painter!
6) Did you like school? Were you a good student?
I was a good student, but didn’t want to be in school. We were fortunate to have an open campus and had undeveloped fields across the street. Free periods were spent out there. Almost all my friends were involved in extracurricular activities like cheerleading, drill team and flag, and I was like, huh? Why would I want to spend more time here? I DID love my art classes and had some fabulous teachers.
7) When you write, is there a specific way you have to write, ie: certain room, noise or quiet, computer or paper etc…
I do most of my writing at my desk, but not all. I usually start drafting on the computer, as well as do initial edits that way. But, at some point, I need to print out pages and edit. When the pages are in my hand, I see my writing differently. I prefer writing in silence except when starting a new manuscript. I’ll frequently have a song that resonates with either the story’s theme or character, and will play it over and over when I’m getting going. PUNISHMENT SUMMER was an exception, but maybe because it’s set in the woods, having the window open and hearing chirping birds made the perfect soundtrack.
8) If you could write a collaboration with another author, do you have one in mind and what would you write?
I don’t think I could collaborate as a writer. I suspect I’d be so overwhelmed by the idea of working with one of my heroes that I’d wind up contributing nothing.
9) How do you come up with your story ideas?
It varies. I’ve had story ideas come from listening to a song, from hearing a news story, and from sitting around ‘what if-ing’. Sometimes stories start with an idea for a character, other times from a situation. Much of the time, the ideas come when I’m working on something else, so I write them down for later consideration.
10) Do titles stump you or do they come easy? When do you pick a title, before the story is written or when it’s done?
Titles usually come pretty early on in the draft, though I sometimes change them. For a while PUNISHMENT SUMMER was called The Lilith Express – based on the subplot which originally sparked the story idea. But, by the time I was halfway through the draft, I’d changed the title to PUNISHMENT SUMMER.
11) Do you keep a notebook near you for when new ideas pop into your head?
I keep pencil and paper by the bed in the event I wake with a story or plot idea. Often those ideas turn out to be not quite as great in the morning as they seem in the middle of the night, but I have gotten some plot help that way. During the day, I have a pad of paper I scribble notes on except when I take my morning walk. It’s a great time to work out knotty problems with the writing, but I don’t want to tote a pen or paper. But I’m rarely gone more than an hour, so I write down the idea when I get home.
12) If you write a series, do you re-read your previous books before you begin the new one?
I haven’t yet written a series, but am planning one! And re-reading the previous books seems like a wonderful idea. Character sheets are great, but I think I’d want to see the character ‘in action’ before writing him or her again.
13) How does your family feel about your writing?
My husband’s enormously supportive and proud, always cheering me on!
Thanks for sharing “you as an author” with us !
We hope you’ll come back and visit again soon!
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Evernight Teen Publishing
Sixteen-year-old Nicki is sent to stay at her grandfather’s cabin near the town of Punishment in the Mendocino Forest. As always, she hides her burn scars and keeps quiet about the mother who ran out on her. But soon after arriving, she begins to suspect Grandpa is also keeping secrets. Her exile brings an unexpected bright spot—Grandpa’s German shepherd, Queenie. The hunky neighbor boy’s another plus, though she quickly starts to doubt his honesty.
From secret pot farms to human trafficking, Nicki discovers nothing in the ‘Mendo’ is what it seems. When Grandpa takes off and the lives of new friends are endangered, Nicki must decide how far she’s willing to go to protect those she cares about. Before summer ends, Nicki will learn there are some choices she can’t undo.
It’s a good thing Grandpa taught her how to shoot.
Follow the tour HERE
The hill climb seemed endless. Up, up, up we went, keeping beneath the cover of trees and shrubs. Other than the fact that Queenie periodically growled at Ben, the dog seemed to enjoy the journey. Though the pine-scented air felt cooler under the trees, my T-shirt soon became soaked with sweat. I wanted to take a drink from my canteen and pour some water into my palm for Queenie, but worried about the etiquette. Would I have to offer Ben a drink? I wasn’t sure I wanted to swap germs with the guy. I longed to ask how much farther we had to go, but held off. He sounded pissed enough the last time I asked. Instead, I kept my mouth shut and continued climbing.
Ben stopped, held up his hand. He leaned in, his body heat adding to the day’s warmth as he whispered in my ear. “We gotta keep real quiet now. Watch where you step. Try to make as little noise as possible.” He moved off, walking in a strange semi-crouch.
I tried to mimic his stance as I followed. He stopped at the hill’s crest and knelt behind a tree. I hunkered down in his shadow, my arm around Queenie. Below us stretched rows and rows of bright green plants. Slender pines edged the field. Two men walked between the rows, the height of the crop almost to their knees. The large buds on the branches of the closest plants were easy to spot. Each man carried a plastic jug, dribbling liquid on the crop rows as they passed. The nearer of the two wore khakis plus a dirt-and sweat-stained undershirt. The distant man looked more pulled together: short-sleeved shirt tucked into his pants, hair tidy.
From what I could see, other people had spent time in the clearing, too. Maybe even lived there. Hammocks hung between half a dozen trees. Empty food cans rusted in a pile. The remains of an old campfire sat surrounded by cooking pans, food wrappers, and discarded cigarette packs. On the far side of the field sat a trash heap. Two men didn’t make a mess this size.
Black hoses ran between the rows of plants into the woods beyond. Now that we had settled in our spot for a couple minutes, the odor hit me. The place smelled like an outhouse.
Queenie’s body tensed, but she stayed silent. I leaned down and rubbed my cheek against the top of her head.
Gemma once tried growing a couple pot plants behind her garage. A gardening crew took care of their property and her parents never went behind that building. But none of the plants I’d seen before looked like this. Star-shaped clusters rose toward the sky, the glossy leaves reflecting back the sun’s rays. I stared at the sheer size of the growing area and tried to calculate the number of trees someone had chopped down. This was no home patch. This was a huge commercial operation. Ben warned me, but I hadn’t believed him.
Now I knew. We were in way over our heads.
About the Author
A native Californian, Peggy Rothschild grew up in Los Angeles. Always a mystery-lover, she embraced the tales of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys before moving on to the adult section of the library. An English major in high school, she switched to art – her other passion – in college. Peggy has authored two adult mysteries, CLEMENTINE’S SHADOW and ERASING RAMONA. PUNISHMENT SUMMER is her first young adult novel.
At present, Peggy and her husband live in the beach community of Ventura with their cats – who are always willing to rip apart any pages they feel aren’t up to snuff. In her spare time she can be found drawing and painting, or out in the yard weeding, pruning, and generally getting messy.
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