An interview with… Penny Joelson

My Research Secrets slot in Writers’ Forum features YA writer, Penny Joelson. She explained how she wove personal experience and research into her YA novel, Girl in the Window.

research secrets - penny joelson4

The book is about a teenage girl called Kasia, who has ME so spends most of her time staring out the bedroom window. Nothing ever happens on Kasia’s street so when she sees what looks like a kidnapping, she’s not sure whether she can believe her own eyes. she notices a girl in the window opposite and hopes she saw something too but when Kasia goes to find her she is told there is no girl.

In the feature you can see a copy of the interview that Penny used as part of her research to gain a young teenage perspective of ME.

I prepared a survey with open questions and an option to add further information. I was overwhelmed with the response and the moving stories I read.

Penny explained that while some research needs to be done before writing, she prefers to write a first draft and then do more research, check facts and add details. This stops her from info dumping and the feeling she must include everything she discovered.


You can read the full interview in the Feb 2019 #208 issue of Writers Forum. You can find out more about Penny Joelson and her books on her website: or follow her on Twitter @pennyjoelson

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