Penny Goetjen, Author of the Precipice series

Penny Goetjen, author of the Precipice series

Welcome to mystery author Penny Goetjen who is about to launch her new book Murder beyond the Precipice.

Please tell us about the newest book in the Precipice series.

I’m thrilled to say that Murder beyond the Precipice (MBTP) is available for pre-order on Amazon and will be released October 11th.

The story is set in a cozy harbor town on the coast of Maine and is the sequel to Murder on the Precipice that came out last fall.

Elizabeth Pennington, who is an interior designer in Manhattan, is the female protagonist in the Precipice series. After receiving an unexpected wedding invitation, she returns to the coast of Maine to stay at the Livingston Estate-turned inn. But as Elizabeth learns, the Livingston family is no stranger to tragedy:

Losing both parents at a young age in what authorities ruled an accident, Lucretia Livingston, the sole heir to the estate, is left to pick up the pieces. But many locals question the circumstances surrounding their deaths and if the family’s wealth was an irresistibly seductive motive for crossing the line. In her search for answers, Elizabeth becomes tangled in a tortured trail of deception, betrayal, love lost and murder, stirring buried memories that locals endeavor to keep secret, along with the scars left behind.

What new work keeps you busy?

I love the idea of something new. There’s nothing more exciting than a blank page at the onset of a new project. I never know where it will take me. How exciting is that?! Now that the second Precipice book will be out, I’m working to wrap up the rough draft of the third and final book in the series, Murder Returns to the Precipice, which will be out next year. Then I will get back to writing the sequel to The Empty Chair ~ Murder in the Caribbean.

Do you write yourself into your books?

They say there’s a little bit of the author in each character she writes—which, of course, can be terrifying depending on the character. I don’t consciously create characters modeled after myself but of all of them so far, Elizabeth Pennington in the Precipice series is most like me—or rather, like me when I was in my twenties—young, a bit naïve, striving for lofty goals. Okay, maybe a lot naïve.

With which of your book characters do you most enjoy spending time? Why?

I would have to say Olivia, the female protagonist in The Empty Chair. Not to detract from Elizabeth in the Precipice series, but Olivia is far braver than I could ever be and spends more time in the turquoise tropical waters on the island of St. Thomas (U.S.V.I) than I could ever dream to. So I enjoy being with her. Plus she hangs out with a good looking, ruggedly handsome guy, and that’s usually not a bad thing. 😉 So I look forward to getting back to writing the sequel to The Empty Chair to see where her adventures take her next.

Murder beyond the PrecipiceWhat did you edit out of this book?

I have a tendency to go into a lot of details about a location—particularly if I’m fond of it. MBTP takes place in Boothbay Harbor, Maine which is near and dear to my heart, so I went on a bit describing what it looks like and the highlights of the quaint harbor town. When I went back to reread my rough draft, I realized it was probably more than most readers cared to know and carved away the excess, hopefully leaving just enough so you get a feel for the bustling little town without overkill.

If you weren’t writing, in what other passion would you be immersed?

I’ve always thought it would be fun to travel and report on my escapades—in a column or on a TV show. Something along the lines of Samantha Brown on Travel Channel. But if not that, I probably would have ended up chasing ghosts. I’ve also always liked the idea of working at an airport—particularly the person with the lighted wands who directs huge planes in and out of their gates. Such power!

Let’s get personal …

Penny, I’ve got a few questions that have little to do with writing, so let’s get personal. Please indulge my curiosity. As you know, I’m interested in several paranormal subjects and I understand you’ve had some interesting experiences.

Can you tell our readers about your paranormal experience? How old were you? What happened?

I was in college. Between my junior and senior years …

Read Penny’s post titled: Creaky Old House of Ghosts on the DreamWatch True Paranormal Blog

If your life were a movie would it be a drama, comedy, romance, action, or science fiction?

Ha! I’m sure my husband would say drama. I’d like to think it’s more of a comedic romance. But if I take a good look back over the years, I’d have to say it had all three. While raising three children, there was plenty of drama with health scares tossed in here and there, but with plenty of comedy, too. When things get bad, your sense of humor is your saving grace. And since we celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary earlier this year, you now there’s a little romance in there as well!

If you had a time machine, which time period in the past or future would you visit?

I wouldn’t want to go into the future. Honestly, what lies ahead scares me—what our children and grandchildren are going to face. I’d rather go back in time, but not too far. I like my modern conveniences. An ideal decade would be the fifties. Who doesn’t love poodle skirts and saddle shoes, drive-ins and malt shops with jukeboxes playing? I’m a huge fan of Happy Days and the movie Grease. I think I’d feel quite comfortable there.

What’s your favorite material object that you already own?

If you’d asked me a few weeks ago, I would have had a different answer. But after just evacuating ahead of a major hurricane, material objects suddenly have lost their luster. As we were pulling out of the driveway, leaving the shuttered house behind, I asked myself if I’d remembered everything important. Since my precious family was in the car with me and my computer (for writing) was tucked at my feet, I knew I had everything I needed. Of the material objects I had with me, my favorite had to be my rings—engagement, wedding, and anniversary—because no matter what happened to the house and all the material objects inside, all that mattered was the safety and well-being of my husband and children (and, of course, our two pups).

What’s your favorite restaurant meal?

Honey, any meal I don’t have to cook is a favorite meal of mine! But in a restaurant, I have an incredible glorious array of delectable items to choose from. What would my favorite be? Definitely Italian. More specifically chicken parm. It’s comfort food for me. And usually they give you so much food, there’s plenty left over so I get to enjoy it again for lunch the next day. 😉

Name one thing that drives you crazy.

Only one thing?! Okay, well, the first thing that comes to mind is when people talk much louder than they need to. I know that probably sounds a bit silly, but the older I get, the more I prefer quiet than a lot of noise. Writers tend to enjoy a peaceful corner with their keyboard. Maybe it was all the concerts I went to when I was younger—although I do still enjoy a good country concert.

What’s the one modern convenience you can’t live without?

Electricity. Maybe that’s cheating because it covers so many things. But I just love to have hot water for a shower (I’m not a camper) and heat when it’s cold outside. So if it is cheating to say electricity, then my answer is my cell phone. I know we used to live without them, not knowing we were missing out on anything. But now that we know, I really would have a tough time living without it. It’s how I stay in touch with family and friends. I also jot down thoughts that float through my head that relate to my writing. I have hundreds of pages of notes on my cell.

Where was the farthest you’ve traveled?

Aruba. That wasn’t the original plan, though. We were supposed to visit our son who was studying abroad in Spain during his junior year of college. Unfortunately it was the spring of 2010 when the Icelandic volcano was erupting and disrupting air travel. We got to JFK only to find out our flight was the first to be cancelled because of volcanic activity and the ash it was spewing across Europe. While we were sad to miss seeing our son, we tried to make the best of it and quickly rebooked our trip. After all, we were packed for a warm climate (the Mediterranean). Why not go somewhere else warm? Aruba it was.

What is the scariest thing you’ve done for fun?

My first thought was scuba diving in Jamaica, but then I remembered one of my kids giving me a shove off a zip line platform at the top of Crown Mountain on St. Thomas. Absolutely terrifying. But once at the top, there was no other way down. Killer views though!

What is your favorite part of your day?

Although I wouldn’t say I’m a morning person, I love the first part of the day because the possibilities of what the rest of the day will bring are endless. I like waking up while it’s still dark outside and no one else in the house is awake. I tiptoe out of our bedroom, trying not to disturb the dogs, and head downstairs to find my computer. There’s something magical about delving into whatever story I’m working on, in the still of the early hour, with only dim light from a solitary lamp to keep me company. I find myself transported to a different place.

Did we miss anything? Something you want to share with our readers?

If your readers are in Connecticut, please accept my invitation:
  • EVENT: Murder Beyond the Precipice Launch
  • DATE: October 11, 2018
  • TIME: 7:00 PM
  • VENUE: Simsbury Public Library, Friends of the Simsbury Library Program Room
  • LOCATION: 725 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury CT
  • Admission is free and includes a giveaway.
  • Refreshments will be served.


Thanks for joining me at Writings on the Wall. Good luck with your new book.

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