Interview with Penny Jackson

Penny in red photoTell us about your publishing journey…
I began as a short story writer, writing mainly about teenagers, and my first short story, L.A. Child, was published when I was in university and received The Pushcart Prize which is for one of the best short stories published last year. I was encouraged to continue to write about teenagers, and wrote my novel, BECOMING THE BUTLERS, about a teenager who wants to discard her family for another family. This novel was chosen as one of the best books of the year by The New York Public Library, and was optioned for film by Warner Brothers. I am working on a new novel about cyberbullying in high school,  problem that exists both in the The United States and The United Kingdom. The novel, I KNOW WHAT BOYS WANT, was first a play produced in New York City. I was inspired to write this novel because there were too many suicides from girls in middle school and high school and my main character, Vicky, fights back. 
What do you love about being an author?
I love creating characters who I hope resonate with my readers. I love creating fictional worlds. I also love exploring other people’s points of views: a teenage boy whose father has just come out as gay, a mother who doesn’t understand the dangers of the internet, an “unpopular” girl discovering love for the first time. 
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
Holden Caulfield from Catcher In The Rye and we would visit the carousel in Central Park and eat hot dogs. 
If your book/ story was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?
If Becoming The Butler was made into a movie, I would cast Benedict Cumberbach as the father and whoever is the most talented teen actress of her generation as Rachel. 
If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?
The roaring 20s of The Great Gatsby. Jazz, beaded dresses and dancing to four in the morning in fountains in mansions. 
What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?
Be true to your voice. Read authors you admire. Don’t let other people’s opinions get into your head. Listen to your characters – they will help you!
Where do you write best? 
At my desk at six in the morning here in New York City!
What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?
I really loved WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart. This YA mystery begins with a young teenager who has lost her memory but knows something very terrible has happened at her family’s house in Martha’s Vineyard. And terrible it is. Brilliant writing, references to Shakespeare whom I adore, and a conclusion that will make you gasp. I read this novel four times!
If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?
I love history so perhaps I would write historical fiction. I ADORE the Wolf Hall books by Hilary Mantel. Can’t get enough of Anne Boleyn!
Where can fans find you online?
Twitter:: @pennyplaywright
BECOMING THE BUTLERS is available as an e-book and a paperback at

One comment on “Interview with Penny Jackson

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.