Children’s Author – Who can resist the Penny and Rio collection?

Penny and Rio Series
Jennifer Swanson
children’s author
Follow the intrepid canine detectives, Penny and Rio as they solve crimes and go on adventures right from their own backyard.
Children will love the ingenious antics these two dogs exhibit as they sniff, dig, and paw their way through mysteries and exciting capers only a dog could unravel.
 In these award-winning books, kids will delight as they discover the real meaning behind your dog’s escapades in the backyard.  
Maybe your dog is not digging up a bone, but a secret treasure or has been asked to help another dog friend find a lost object.
These imaginative and interactive books provide exceptional learning opportunites for young chidren. For more information and to purchase your own copy today, please see the website at

Hannah (the gorgeous dog) is the star in the third
book in the Penny and Rio series.
A graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy, Jennifer Swanson’s lifelong interest in books led her to become a children’s author. Her award-winning books about Penny and Rio, the dynamic canine detectives, have delighted children across the country.
All three books in her Penny and Rio series, Penny and Rio: The Mysterious Backyard Meeting, Penny and Rio: The Locked Doghouse Mystery and Penny and Rio: The Diamond Collar Adventure have been awarded the prestigious Mom’s Choice Award for juvenile fiction. In addition, the first two books have also received The Dove Foundation’s Family Approved Seal for excellence in family-friendly media.
The pet detectives have also gone international! The Penny and Rio books have been translated into Thai and are currently being sold in Thailand. They are also being distributed in France through Mariposa Press.
Jennifer’s second love is science and she has managed to combine that with her passion for writing. Possessing an M.S. Ed. in K-8 science, Jennifer has utilized her science background to author two non-fiction books for Capstone Press to be released in fall 2011. She has also recently signed a contract with Red Line Editorial to write five non-fiction picture books for their latest “How To…” series.
Jennifer is currently employed as a middle school science instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth and is an active member of the Society for Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators, and actively supports dog rescue organizations with the proceeds from her books. 
“I can Highly Recommend this cute dog detective series to all families, escpecially animal lovers. The Mysterious Backyard Meeting and The Locked Doghouse Mystery will keep your children happily engaged and may even inspire them to write their own stories about their pets. We can’t wait until the next installment of the Penny and Rio series comes out.” – Jenny Thompson, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Oct, 2010

Click below for the interview:

What inspired you to write your book?
The two main characters in my books are based on my own pets, Penny and Rio. They were very curious, energetic dogs and did a lot of stuff in real-life that they did in my books. They just seemed to make perfect characters.

What is it about?
I have a series of three books titled: Penny and Rio. They follow the antics and investigations of two canine detectives, Penny and Rio as they solve cases and go on adventures right from their own backyard. These award-winning early chapter books are perfect for children just graduating from picture books to chapter books. They include very colourful illustrations along with the advanced text in a chapter book.

Was there a character you struggled with?
Not really. I take a lot of the other animal characters from other dogs I’ve met in my life.

How many unpublished books do you have lurking under your bed?
Too many to count. No seriously, I have several mid-grade novels and about six or so picture books. Plus, of course several more Penny and Rio stories.

How did you find your publisher? How do they treat you? Would you recommend them?
I found Mirror Publishing through the internet. I sent them a copy of Penny and Rio: The Mysterious Backyard Meeting, the first in the series and they loved it. It has been great working with Neal, the publisher. I would highly recommend his company. He runs a first-rate, professional business and is fun to work with, too.

What’s the best/worst part of being a writer? Being stuck in front of a computer all the time is the worst part. Actually, I enjoy writing, but I love doing school visits even more. Sharing Penny and Rio with students and teaching them the excitement of reading and writing is awesome!

What is the most productive time of the day for you to write? I write while my kids are in school. I try to write every day, even if it’s only a sentence or two. Because when they get home, I have to put my “Mom” hat on.

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer
Sometimes I brainstorm a new book with pen and paper. When I’m trying to put together a new storyline, I’m never without a notebook. Soccer games, lacrosse practice, you name it, I’ve got my notebook.

What/who do you draw inspiration from?
As I tell the students on a school visit, from life all around me. I see characters in animals, people and even situations that happen to me. Didn’t William Shakespeare say “All the world’s a stage?” Well to me, all the world is a book, waiting to be written.

Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count? Some days I do, but not always. If I’m trying to meet a deadline, then definitely. Otherwise, I just write as long as the words flow.

What are you working on now that you can talk about?
Right now I’m in the middle of a five book nonfiction picture book series. My “day” job is as a middle school science teacher, so I have a lot of experience with science. I love being able to combine my love of science with writing. Of course, I also have a mid-grade novel series I’m writing as well.

How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
Better than I used to. I used to be depressed for a couple of days. Now when I get one, I send out three more submissions. A rejection letter is great motivation for me these days.

Do you have a critique partner?
Yes, I actually run a small critique group. I am very lucky to have found five other women who share my love of writing and have a strong desire to be published. We critique, challenge, but most of all support each other in this tumultuous writing journey. I highly recommend finding a critique group if you aren’t already in one.

Thanks for inviting me to stop by, Louise. It’s been great.


One thought on “Children’s Author – Who can resist the Penny and Rio collection?

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