Guest Post From Val Penny: Why We Love To Write Crime Novels

Guest Post From Val Penny: Why We Love To Write Crime Novels

People like crime, at least in novels! Often, I meet dentists and bank managers with clever plot ideas, or nurses who read every crime novel they can lay their hands on. If I visit a writing group, there are always members keenly producing new murderous plots. Lawyers and convicts show equal enthusiasm for this genre. For those who want to write a crime novel, there are several reasons to want to do so. Here are a few of them.

Emotional Release

Often, those who write crime novels find an emotional release in their craft. Crime novelists deal with the dark things that people usually push to the side of their minds in order to get on with everyday life. The cathartic attraction of writing can be decisive.

Some crime authors tell of poor sleep patterns, punctured by nightmares that are repaired when they start to write. Others, panic, constantly scanning doorways for signs of danger. The stiffening fear that afflicts them resolves when they are busy writing crime.

The Story-Telling Urge

The sources for crime novels are many and varied. Ideas can spring from the news and current affairs; memories from the past and historical events or things that puzzle or fascinate the writer. Once an author begins to exercise their creative muscles, they often find that they run into stories demanding to be told. The stories demand to be told and will not stop coming.

For Companionship

It is often said that writers can be difficult people: gloomy, competitive and quarrelsome. However, for the most part, I have found crime writers to be an inclusive and convivial bunch. They are certainly hard-working. The pressure of producing a book a year is intense, yet they never seem to turn their backs on fun. If you have a chance to go to a crime-writers’ convention, do take it. They are exhausting, exhilarating and irresistible.

An Outlet for Aggression

Most crime-writers will tell you that they are good company because they channel all their belligerent thoughts into their stories, so in real life, the authors are meek and mild. It is not always true, but I can confirm the crime novel is an excellent place to park your rage! The prospect of giving vent to righteous anger in a safe form can be a particularly pleasing device. When characters require to act in a violent way or commit violence the reader is willing to witness this on the page but they would shy from it in real life. Crime writers can let rip on the page in a way they avoid doing in the real world.

The Thrill of Research

I can personally confirm that the research you do for crime novels and for academic purposes are equally satisfying. It is also extremely diverse. It may involve visiting prisons, refuges, police stations or drug dens. Police are often very willing to be of assistance to crime writers, even if it is just to avoid being irritated when otherwise the writers would get police procedures wrong. This information is most useful and helpful. Indeed, when you are writing a novel, no information or experience is wasted!

Author Bio

author pic 2Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballet dancer or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories, and novels. Her first crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ set in Edinburgh, Scotland will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. She is now writing the sequel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’.





Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until EdinburghHunter's Chase book cover is safe.

 DI Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city and he needs to find the source but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course. Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable. Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taut crime thriller.

To find out more about Hunter’s Chase and its awesome author, check out the links below:



Friends of Hunter’s Chase


Time for an update

Well, seeing as my last post was over two months ago, I thought maybe I should check in.

Recent events: After presenting at the FWA Focus Day down in Fort Myers, I dove head first into finishing the rough draft on Gaia Rising. It went surprisingly fast and I completed it in record time. Or so I thought. My awesome beta readers soon told me otherwise, so the second draft is now underway. I’m still hoping to get it to my editor by the second week in October and get to work on the second book in the series, but we shall see. Favorite beta reader comment? “Somebody needs to die.” (Thanks, MJ!) Her comment, and the input from the others, sent me in a whole new direction and I think the book will be better for it. Then, of course, there was Irma. I’m still praying for South Florida, the Keys, Puerto Rico and the islands. Things here were nothing in comparison and I am counting myself blessed. If you are so inclined, there are a number of organizations working to help folks recover. Unicef, The Red Cross, and Glad are just a few.  

Current activities: I’ve got most of the swag completed for IBF 2017, which I will be attending this weekend. I am so looking forward to reconnecting with authors and readers. IBF is always wonderful because of the professionalism and expertise of the organizers Tawdra Kandle and Mandie Stevens. But I can’t lie, one of the biggest attractions is getting to hang with my bestie, Tracie Roberts. There are so many awesome authors attending IBF (shout out to Robbie Cox, Bridgette O’Hare, Yvonne Mason, Heather Hildenbrand, and many, many more). If you are going to be in the Orlando area, you should definitely drop in for the free signing on Saturday. If you have the weekend free, buy a ticket so you can attend the reader panels.

Future plans: The next big thing is to finish that second draft of Gaia Rising, but then, the holidays. I love fall in Florida. It gets less humid, the bugs aren’t as thick and in November, Christmas Made in the South comes to visit. One of my all-time favorite non-writing events, my first stop will be the ornament artists. There are several that come every year and they make the prettiest Christmas decorations. Then I will definitely have to head over to Pretty Baby Naturals. He makes the best organic moisturizing cream I’ve ever used. And it smells like lemon heaven. Can’t wait!

So, how has 2017 been treating you? Let me know in the comments. I love to hear from you.

2nd Annual I ♥ Books

A Book Signing Event

Florida Writers Association is holding their 2nd Annual I ♥ Books event, and I get to be there!

I ♥ Books is a multi-genre book signing that will bring our two favorite types of people together—readers and authors!

This year we have a new venue, a new city, and all sorts of great things for everyone to look forward to.You may attend as a reader (free), a VIP reader with special privileges, or an author (space limited).


Come and meet 50 authors including some new-to-you writers and perhaps a few favorites! Purchase books, have them signed, and talk to the authors.

General admission is absolutely free.

But if you want more perks, become a VIP Reader, and enjoy a brunch with the authors, get into the signing early, and grab some raffle tickets for cool prizes!

General Admission Readers – No Tickets Needed


  • Enjoy meeting authors from noon until 4:00 PM
  • Join the Facebook event page to let us know you plan on attending, and help to make the event great by inviting your friends.
VIP Readers – Limited to 25 Tickets

$50 Fee Includes:

  • Brunch with authors from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
  • Early admission to the book signing room following the brunch
  • Swag bag loaded with goodies from the attending authors

We invite all readers to join the I ♥ Books Facebook group to learn about the authors and the books they write.

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