Writing to Empower Girls
An interview with
Penny Warner

  Penny Warner is the author of the Troop 13 Mystery series. The first book in the series is Mystery of the Haunted Caves, featuring four ethnically diverse girls who solve mysteries using their scouting skills. The book won an Agatha Award and an Anthony Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. Warner has written six novels in the Connor Westphal Mystery series, featuring a deaf detective set in the California Gold Country. Penny is also the author of over thirty activity, game, and party books for parents and children, including Storybook Parties and Slumber Parties.  

Q: What did you do before you became a children's author?

PW: I've been an instructor of child development at the college level for twenty-five years.


Q: What first got you interested in children's books?

PW: With my own two kids I found a need for more practical information, such as activities, party ideas, and snack recipes, so I began writing books to help other parents. I wanted to write fiction for middle-grade kids because I grew up loving Nancy Drew books and felt there was a need for more books empowering girls.


Q: When did you start writing children's books?

PW: When my son was born I wrote my first book, Healthy Snacks for Kids, which continues to be a bestseller with more than 200,000 copies in print. It's still available after all these years.


Q: How many books have you written?

PW: Over forty, both fiction and nonfiction, for adults and children.


Q: Of all the books you've written, what's your favorite?

PW: I love Mystery of the Haunted Caves because it's the type of book I read when I was a kid. I loved reading about girls having adventures and solving their own problems without the help of parents-or boys!


Q: Who are your favorite authors?

PW: I like Lemony Snicket, J. K. Rowling, Lois Lawry, Paula Danziger, and Judy Blume.


Q: Why do you write books for kids?

PW: Because I love to entertain them, make them happy, and teach them something.


Q: Where do you get ideas for books?

PW: I try to write about contemporary subjects that kids are interested in today and settings that are interesting, such as the California Gold Country.


Q: What are you working on now?

PW: Another book in the Troop 13 Mystery series and a new series for middle-grade readers.


Q: What tips do you have for aspiring writers?

PW: Never give up. Write your passion and have fun doing it.


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  The Mystery of the Haunted Caves

Slumber Parties

Best Party Book Storybook Parties