Sunday, January 8, 2012

Interview with Stephen Penner @StephenPenner

Stephen Penner is an author and artist living in the Seattle area. He writes a variety of fiction, including thrillers, science fiction, and children's books. Currently you can sample his story Mars Station Alpha: A Novel
for free at until the end of 1/9/12. Stephen is very busy working on his projects and was gracious enough to take time out for an interview.
For more information on Stephen Penner's writing and art, you can visit

The DIS: Where did the idea for a Martian story come from?

Stephen Penner: The idea for MARS STATION ALPHA was actually inspired by the lost Roanoke colony of Virginia. I thought about how the English colonists were cut off from their supply ships and wondered what might occur if something similar happened to the first colonists on Mars. In fact, the first title for the book was "Operation: Roanoke" but I like MARS STATION ALPHA even better. The link to the kindle version is

The DIS: What pushed you to self publish and what did you learn from it?

Stephen Penner: I've been watching the publishing industry change from one where a book couldn't get into a customer's hands without a big publisher behind it, to one where publishers almost get in the way. I had been thinking about it for a while, then had another author pull me aside and tell me that my writing needed to get out there and I should stop waiting for agents and editors to tell me it was good enough.

The DIS: You also write and illustrate children's books. Is it hard to switch writing style gears?

Stephen Penner: I don't find it hard to switch gears at all. The stories sort of write themselves in my head, so as long as I don't try to force anything the books turn out pretty well. One difference, though, is that for the kids books I also have to consider where the illustrations should go and how they impact the story. To see my kids books, check out the first of my PROFESSOR BARRISTER'S DINOSAUR MYSTERIES.

The DIS: Do you illustrate for other books or just your own.

Stephen Penner: So far I've only illustrated for my own books. I'm open to illustrating for others, but it would have to be the right project. My time can be pretty limited sometimes, so my own stuff usually comes first.

The DIS: what does the future hold for your writing career?

Stephen Penner: The future holds a lot! In addition to MARS STATION ALPHA, I also just released two novels in a paranormal mystery series I've written. The first book is titled SCOTTISH RITE and the second BLOOD RITE.

I'm also about to release a young adult, urban fantasy, globe-trotting adventure titled THE GODLING CLUB. I'm doing the final review and it should be available by this Friday, the 13th (!).

I also have a short story available in an anthology titled THE DEAD SHOE SOCIETY and have another in an anthology titled THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS which I'm hoping will be available by the end of 2012 (more info at

After that will be the third Scottish Rite book, another short story collaboration, and oh, did I tell you about my legal thriller AGGRAVATING FACTORS slated for June?