Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Penelope Salvo Adventure Series: Penelope Salvo and Impossible Red, Penelope Salvo and Untouchable Orange, Penelope Salvo and Unknowable Yellow. Soon to be released: Penelope Salvo and Incorruptible Green


Are you in for a real treat today! Not one book, not two books, but three BOOKS OF THE DAY by Justin Zaruba. Hold tight and learn more about his three part series and his author interview.

The Penelope Salvo Adventure Series: Penelope Salvo and Impossible Red, Penelope Salvo and Untouchable Orange, Penelope Salvo and Unknowable Yellow. Soon to be released: Penelope Salvo and Incorruptible Green


Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

I typically don’t talk about myself all that often. Even the blurbs about myself on the backs of my books are fictitious. I can’t imagine that I’m all that interesting anyway. (laughs)


What inspired you to author this book?


The best piece of advice I ever received from my favorite writing professor was this, “Think of the story that you want to read that hasn’t been written yet, and write that.” I wanted to write a completely over the top urban fantasy adventure with talking cars and fairy tale princesses and Voodoo spirits, all centered around a foul-mouthed female protagonist. Once I had that idea in my head, everything started to fall into place.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?


The book cover was designed by a graphic designer with far more skill than I could ever hope to achieve.


Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?


Strangely enough, I don’t read all that often. I do remember being completely engrossed by Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series from Vertigo comics and I read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when I was younger. I suppose my books fall into some strange ven diagram between those two.


What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?


The main character is a teenage girl and the story is written from her point of view. I am decidedly not a teenage girl, so it took a lot of double-checking with my friends to ensure I was doing that character’s voice justice. But I also feel like that was my greatest success; female readers often compliment me on how real Penelope feels and how strong her voice is.

Tell your readers about your book.


Whew. Okay. The idea is that I wanted to drop this plucky, quick-witted punk rock girl into an insane supernatural world with fantasy elements, science fiction elements, and mythological elements. In one book, Penelope can go from talking to a time-traveling robot from the future to a dragon and then off to meet the Aztec god of bees. The pacing is fast, fast, fast, propelled forward by strong dialogue and interesting world-building.

Penelope Salvo starts off borderline homeless in New York City and in her desperation, she takes this random job working in a flower shop in Chinatown. Little by little she discovers mysterious things about the flower shop and the more she learns about it, the more she realizes there is a supernatural world hidden all around her.


Who is your target audience, and why?


Really, it’s for anyone who is looking for a fun action, adventure with a little humor and a whole lot of heart. I don’t make any grand commentary on the world or society, because I feel like there are far smarter and far more educated people out there who have already done it, and have done it way better than I ever could.

A lot of people seem to think that the main audience of the book is women because the main character is a punk rock girl, but some of my most ardent fans are guys.


What do you consider your greatest success in life?


When I finished the first book, I was amazed I had written so many words and produced a complete novel. It seemed like such an insurmountable task at the time. But then I wrote a second one, and a third, and I’m nearly finished with the fourth one, which is the longest book by far. I think achieving a state of mind where such a difficult task feels possible is a real success.


What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?


I try to stay humble, but I can honestly say that no one out there is writing anything close to what I have going on in my adventure series. It’s really hard to put into words. There’s this idea in writing that you can give someone an “elevator pitch,” this idea that you should be able to sum your book up into one short sentence. But that boggles my mind. If you can reduce 100,000 words or 200,000 words into one sentence, then how much substance can possibly be tucked away in those 100 or 200,000 words? But writers actively try to accomplish that, as if it’s some sort of goal. And it’s really not. Write something bigger than one sentence.

When people ask for my elevator pitch, I struggle to explain the complexity of my story in one sentence. It’s just best if you read it and find out for yourself.

About Justin Zaruba

Justin Zaruba is an award-winning writer of the Penelope Salvo series; a humorous look at the magical reality hidden in the shadows and alleyways of New York City. He's dabbled in stand up comedy, bluegrass and punk rock bands, and has written two screenplays. Unlike many writers, Zaruba is a unapologetic extrovert who spends more time out in the city than time at home writing. Sometimes it means the stories are slow going when it comes to publication, but they are definitely still coming.