Interview with Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz

When did you start writing?
Like many other writers, I started as soon as I could write letters and spell words. My father used to make up stories to tell me when I was a child and that got me hooked on making up my own stories. I would entertain myself by writing "books," illustrating them and binding them together. I continued to write throughout my childhood. If I wasn't writing stories, I was writing lengthy letters to my cousins who lived in other states and a pen pal I got through a program at school. After high school, I attempted to sell my work, but I got rejected, as most people do. Unfortunately, I didn't know that rejection doesn't mean you aren't a good writer, it only means you haven't found the right editor or sent the right piece to the right publication. It took me many more years before I got the courage to try again. In 1993, I took a correspondence course and started submitting and being accepted for publication.

Please tell us a bit about your book Ghost for rent?

Ghost for Rent is a middle grade novel, aimed at children in grades five through seven. The main character, Wendy Wiles, is eleven years old. Her brother, and arch-tease, Mike, is twelve. After her parents decide to separate, their mom moves with the children to an old rental home in rural Oregon, about thirty miles from Portland. Wendy is devastated. To make matters worse, she soon learns their new home is haunted. While Wendy's mother insists there's no such thing as ghosts, Wendy has many ghostly encounters and decides it's time to find out why. Enlisting the aid of her new friend, Jennifer, Wendy goes on a quest to find out why the ghosts are trying to communicate with her. Ultimately, brother Mike joins the team and the three follow clues and dig into old newspapers to find their answers. It's a book about dealing with parental separation, moving to a new school, making new friends, and solving a mystery.

Who is your publisher and why did you choose them?
My book is published by Hard Shell Word Factory. As a first time novelist, I was hesitant to try to get the attention of a major publishing house. I thought I might have more success with an electronic book publisher. I researched several on-line publishers and decided to submit to Hard Shell. I was very pleased when they accepted the book as they also offered it in trade paperback as a print on demand version. I looked at other publishers as well,but mainly wanted one who dealt with children's books, who had been around for awhile, and who seemed to be supportive of their authors.

What do you like best about writing suspense/thrillers?
This is a paranormal mystery. I enjoyed writing it mainly because I live in an area where there have been a lot of ghost sightings. When I decided to write a novel, it seemed appropriate to set it here where I live. I believe there are ghosts among us, and it felt quite natural to write this particular story. I read for entertainment and for escape, so most of my stories are designed to do that for my readers. As ghost stories go, this isn't particularly scary. There isn't any blood and gore or "evil" happenings.

What do you do to market your books?

This is my first and so far only book. I'm working on a sequel right now. When I first published the book in 2003, I didn't know much about marketing. I've learned a lot since then by networking with other writers and attending conferences. With this book, I had a book signing at my local independent book store and there was a piece published in our local paper. I sent a notice to everyone in my email address book. Now, I realize there is so much more which can be done. With the next book, I hope to learn even more. I'm doing a blog tour now which I hope will bring me more exposure and entice new readers to purchase the book. I don't yet have a web site, but I do have a blog at I'm hoping to put together a web site as this seems to be an important marketing tool.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
I have a blog where I talk about writing. It's aimed more at other writers and hope to give them some writing tips and encouragement. It's located at
* Ghost for Rent can be purchased at the following web sites: (this is the site for trade paperback)

Anything else you'd like to add?
I try to be versatile in my writing and write for both adults and children. I find it's important to not focus on one type of writing, but write non-fiction as well as fiction.


  1. Hi Jo,
    Thanks for your support and for the interesting questions. I know how difficult it can be to keep them fresh and new.


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