A Penny Lost by Aspen Bassett
Category: YA Fiction, 232 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: World Castle Publishing
Release date: Jan 13, 2018
Tour dates: April 23 to May 4, 2018
Book Description: Penelope Grace, usually forgotten under the shadow of her twin sister’s perfection, tries her hardest to hide her freakish ability to see into anyone’s soul. Until she senses an unusual energy like a human-shaped void in the universe. When Penny investigates the source, she gets tossed through a crack in time along with the cute boy next door. The Void follows them through history, increasing the dangers as if testing Penny. But what is it testing for? And why does it claim to know her better than even she knows herself? Even as Penny searches for answers, she must fight to survive the tragedies of both the past and future in order to get back home.
While the take on time travel is unique the story just falls flat. The overall writing was not smooth and made some sections harder to read and grip what was going on. I fell as if I had to reread sections because I missed where conversations started and stopped. The plot was interesting but moved at a slow pace. Overall, the plot was intriguing but the story just did not hold up.
What inspired you to make A Penny Lost?
I remember I was still in college at the time and I had gotten really sick with this three week long virus so I spent a lot of time in bed, eating popsicles and watching Doctor Who with fever brain. I can’t recall the episode but there’s this moment where Rory confronts The Doctor and questions whether he’s really a hero or if he just plays the hero and that idea stuck in my head. I couldn’t shake it even after the virus was gone and slowly, Penelope Grace’s character fell into place, this regular teen with sudden power over not just the people’s lives directly around her but also the world as a whole. That struggle to balance the greater good with the significance of a single life appears throughout the series. She’s a character who’s constantly labeled either a grand hero or a complete traitor and it’s all in attempts to just do the best she can in tough situations.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Yes, I have to be sipping a warm drink to get a true writing session in. It can be hot chocolate, any kind of tea, or coffee, I don’t care but if I have a steaming mug nearby, I know I’ll be productive. Maybe it’s purely the romanticized author image that gets enhanced if I’m writing by a window on a cold day with a mug that does the trick but I also like the movement of reaching out and taking a sip to break up the intense writing. It’s almost grounding to take a step out of my book, taste something, and remember where I am before I dive back into the story.
How do you create your characters?
I make a musical playlist about them to get in their heads. I like to have main theme songs for each character as well as songs to represent the relationship they have with other main or minor characters. For example, the lead character, Penny Grace’s theme song is “Midnight Serenade” by Katie Herzig because it has that self-sacrificing kind of feel. The singer, much like Penny, feels lonely but she understands why people choose to leave her and she supports it because she wants what’s best for them.
How do you select the names for your characters?
Usually they pop into my head naturally if I just let my fingers type instead of overthinking it but, just as often as not, when I hear my thoughts speak the name, it’s fuzzy and jumbled up. When that happens, I go on IMBD and check out all the different names, both fictional and real, in the cast and crew for movies. I’ll look at photos and make a mashed up name from actors who remind me of my characters.
Was it difficult creating a romance between Penny and Stranger, who’s lost all his memories?
It was surprisingly more difficult to write then other couples I’ve created, yes. It’s hard to find common ground between the characters because he’s seeing everything for the first time but, on the other hand, it helped strengthen their friendship. Penny is different from the average person because she can read souls. A lot of people, once they realize what she can do, are very uncomfortable. They don’t want to her to read their energies. But Stranger sees it as a straight up superpower and I think he loves her for it. There are moments when she knows him better than he knows himself because he can’t access his “self” as well as she can. Penny becomes a form of comfort and safety for Stranger and, in return, he choses to be a source of stability in her life as well. I think they’re one of my favorite couples so far.
A Penny Lost leaves on quite the cliff hanger. Will there be more?
Yes! A Penny Lost is the first in a trilogy and, I’m proud to say, the sequel is already written and going through edits as we speak. A lot of readers have expressed an interest in the second book coming out sooner rather than later but all I can officially tell you right now is that it will be titled The Me in Memory.