Penelope A. Brown knew she would one day be an author, even when she was still a child and writing down vivid dreams in her journals. Her family knew it, too, as did her friends, and they were always asking her when her debut novel was coming out. They finally got their answer when Brown released The Gatekeeper’s Forbidden Secret in the Fall of 2014.
“I should have pursued my dream earlier, but I would stumble over my own doubts,” says Brown. “Finding the time to write with everyday chaos was challenging. With prayer and hard work I overcame what I thought was impossible. I unplugged, literally, my television stayed off as well as my phone. I sat at my desk and reread my journals. I did a ton of research to preserve authenticity, and then I weaved it all back together. I wanted to show what was possible in the forefront of science, and how it tied together with my own spiritual beliefs.”
The Gatekeeper’s Forbidden Secret is an imaginative, fast-paced fantasy adventure story that’s summed up nicely with this exciting author-provided synopsis: When forbidden, eye-opening truths about the secrets of the universe are exposed, an unlikely team scramble to save worlds and each other.
This is not necessarily a book for children, but for readers of all ages, as it is full of action and suspenseful in places. Parents might want to preview the book first, although children are likely to be eager to read it, especially once they see the intriguing cover. If you have multiple children, you will probably want to get multiple copies, otherwise there are bound to be arguments and fights over the one copy!
Brown says that when writing the book, it was important to her to stay true to who she was. “I was encouraged to use the Lord’s name in vain, for emphasis in certain stressful situations. I rejected all such emphasis. I want to be viewed as a role model to not only my children, but also anyone who struggles to stand up for their own beliefs. It is important to always stand tall.”
About Penelope A. Brown
Brown is a long time Naples resident, but was born in Southern England. She remembers vividly her first experience of Naples.
“My family came to Naples on a vacation when I was seven,” Brown recalls. “We all thought that it was the most amazing place we had ever been. Not long after that my father decided to move his antique studio to America. So we packed up all our possessions, including the dog, and shipped everything over. I was immediately in love with the sunshine, the culture and the people.”
Growing up in the magical little village of Warninglid, England, however, stayed with Brown and her experiences in Southern England have inspired her novel.
Before picking up the writing pen, Brown graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and was recruited to Southwest Florida for a long career in financial planning. “I later expanded into business services where I advised some to the finest Naples businesses,” she explains. “I really enjoyed getting to know the local business owners, I always loved the fact that they took a chance on their dreams.”
Her favorite job was with a leading model and talent agency in Naples and Orlando. “I have always been drawn to the creative aspect of advertising,” Brown says. “It was actually very demanding, with long commutes and extended hours, but I got to work with some very colorful souls. I have been booked on and off throughout the years from Naples Bay Resort, Harley Davidson, Lean Cuisine, The Village on Venetian Bay, to Nordic Track to name a few.”
Take a look at some of the photos of Penelope and you’ll see why she worked as a model. The woman is stunningly beautiful in a natural way that shows the favor of God on her genetic code.
But, of course, Brown is more than a pretty face.
Charm is deceitful and beauty fades; but a woman who fears the LORD will be praised. Reward her for her work— let her actions result in public praise. Proverbs 30:30-31
Penelope A. Brown is deserving of such praise. She’s a successful businesswoman, wife and mother, and now an author with strong personal values, who does good work in the community to encourage literacy among our youth. She lives a balanced life, is healthy and fit, enjoys good conversation, gardening, prayer, is well-traveled, and is a passionate patron of the arts.
We have a little catch-phrase we use in our Naples Noteworthy promos: People You Should Know.
Penelope A. Brown is definitely one of those people.
From Her Own Lips: What Brown Enjoys Most
Traveling and seeing new places is a passion of mine. I have been lucky enough to visit some amazing countries such as Greece, Italy, France, Curacao, and Spain to name a few. There are many more destinations on my radar, and hopefully I will be able to one day see the amazing pyramids and go on a wild safari. I was born in England, and I recently had the opportunity to go home. While there, I was able to sneak in some research for my next book at Stonehenge and museums.
When I’m local, I love to venture outside whether it is for a leisurely walk or a quick game of tennis. I frequent antique, garden and home improvement shops. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty doing home improvement and garden projects.
I love to listen to classical and jazz music in the evening. I recently attended the local production of Phantom of the Opera, which was amazing! Several years ago I watched the renounced production of Lido in Paris, and that is where my love of Broadway and opera began. I have not been to the London Theater yet, but it is on my bucket list.
One of the simplest things I enjoy is just sitting down with friends or family and enjoying a good cup of coffee or tea and having a great conversation. I don’t think people do that as much as they used to. It is something I cherish. Life is short, and although the grand picture is fabulous, to me it’s the little things that are the most important.
Brown’s Cause: Reading Initiative Programs
Penelope A. Brown supports children’s literacy programs in our community and is working with different local reading initiative programs.
“Barbara Bush launched the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy program and every year in April she comes to spread the word to our neighbors in Immokalee,” Brown says. “This is a fabulous way to make sure that each child has an equal opportunity to achieve their highest potential.”
Naples Noteworthy believes reading initiative programs are an especially good choice for an author to choose for a personal cause–because, of course, you’re encouraging future readers of your books!
About The Gatekeeper’s Forbidden Secret
Synopsis: Colin and his sister Addy stumble upon the adventure of a lifetime. Due to some very questionable behavior, and the need to preserve their father’s business interests, they find themselves forced to work at the castle of the Gatekeeper. They befriend the Gatekeeper’s nephew and trust him with an unbelievable story. The nephew is determined to help his new friends, despite his own well-kept secrets. They all venture into the unknown, trying to figure out what the truth really is. Along the way they encounter colorful creatures, monsters, and traitors. They question their own reality, their strength, and their weaknesses. They discover that things are not always what they seem.
Naples Noteworthy: What genre are your books?
Penelope A. Brown: This is a loaded question. The Gatekeeper’s Forbidden Secret is considered Young Adult and it is definitely suitable for that age range, but it is an action –packed adventure for any age group. My lead character is young, which puts it in the Young Adult category, but my biggest fans are adult readers.
Naples Noteworthy: What draws you to this genre?
Penelope A. Brown: In one word, MAGIC! The unknown and its possibilities stir my mind at every moment.
Naples Noteworthy: When did you decide to become a writer?
Penelope A. Brown: I have always wanted to be a writer. I love to put pen to paper and test the depths of my imagination. Writing brings fears and thoughts to the surface, and expelling them in a creative way is absolutely thrilling.
Naples Noteworthy: Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Penelope A. Brown: Colin is the child that we all are. He is passionate, afraid and unsure. He, like most of us, wants to do the right thing but he doesn’t always know what that is. He is thrown into adult responsibilities, and he handles it the best way he knows how.
Naples Noteworthy: For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Penelope A. Brown: I am old school. I love the ancient hardback editions. I love to use the bookmark to gauge my journey.
Naples Noteworthy: Who is your favorite author and why?
Penelope A. Brown: Dan Brown is my favorite author. I love that not only do you go on a world changing adventure, you actually learn important facts upon the way.
Naples Noteworthy: What is your writing process?
Penelope A. Brown: I sit down to write for a few hours about three times a week. I have a loose general outline, but I never really know what direction I am going in until a type. I try to write between 3000 – 5000 words a week and adhere to that schedule until the novel is complete. My process may take longer than other authors, but my sons are my priority.
Naples Noteworthy: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?
Penelope A. Brown: Sometimes I have a general idea, and other times I just write. It is kind of like cooking. Sometimes you follow the recipe, while other times you improvise.
Naples Noteworthy: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Penelope A. Brown: Yes, my life is intertwined throughout.
Naples Noteworthy: Where do your ideas come from?
Penelope A. Brown: My ideas are the result of my life. Some ideas are buried deep within while others are easy to pluck from the surface.
Naples Noteworthy: What is the hardest thing about writing?
Penelope A. Brown: The hardest challenge of writing is actually sitting down at the computer and doing it. It is like going to the gym, once you are there the workout is on. You just have to get there.
Naples Noteworthy: Do you imagine the scenes first in your head and then write them down, or do you sit at the computer/typewriter and it all happens sort of organically, or is it a combination?
Penelope A. Brown: Do I imagine the scenes? Yes, the scenes play out in my head like a movie. I just try to keep up with them and write what I see, hear and feel.
Naples Noteworthy: How did you develop the characters?
Penelope A. Brown: The characters are dear to my heart. Some just materialized as I wrote, while others were well planned ahead.
Naples Noteworthy: Do your characters ever do things you didn’t expect them to do–take on a life of their own?
Penelope A. Brown: My characters always take on a life of their own, I am merely an observer documenting their journey.
Naples Noteworthy: If you could be any character in literature, whom would you choose to be?
Penelope A. Brown: I would be Indiana Jones or Harry Potter. Who doesn’t want to go on an epic adventure?
Naples Noteworthy: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Penelope A. Brown: At first, I wanted to just get the story done. Now I want to evolve the characters. They are your friends, your neighbors, or even you.
Naples Noteworthy: If someone wrote a book about your life, what would it be called?
Penelope A. Brown: Never Quit
Naples Noteworthy: Would you rather read a book that is poorly written but has an excellent story, or read one with weak content, but is well written?
Penelope A. Brown: I know this is either/or, but I have read both of the above and neither is good. I will usually abandon the novel.
Naples Noteworthy: Do you think a writer should write every day?
Penelope A. Brown: No, I think our imagination needs time to develop and grow. I write three to four times a week. It would be too stressful for me to have to come up with new material every day.
Naples Noteworthy: What five words would you use to describe yourself?
Penelope A. Brown: Determined, Unsure, Vulnerable, Driven, Passionate
Naples Noteworthy: Have you been back to visit your birthplace in England?
Penelope A. Brown: I go back to England as much as I can. I went with my family last August. I incorporated some research while I was there for my next novel, such as traveling to Stonehenge. I try to include actual history, facts and science into everything I write.
Naples Noteworthy: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Penelope A. Brown: Just write and you will be amazed what develops.
Naples Noteworthy: Tell us something about yourself that few people know.
Penelope A. Brown: I am a lover of all things English.
Naples Noteworthy: Tell us about what you’re working on now.
Penelope A. Brown: Being a mother of two young boys is my main commitment and passion, but I also find time to sneak in some writing. Writing brings me joy. I am working on the sequel to The Gatekeeper, for what I am hoping will be a long series. I am in love with my characters as they become more complex in this novel. I feel passionately about this story, and I am pleased at the way it is unraveling on paper.
Naples Noteworthy: Can you tell us any more about it–give us a little synopsis?
Penelope A. Brown: This is a continuation of The Gatekeeper’s Forbidden Secret, a fantasy adventure. A boy and his sister are granted the chance to become apprentices to the gatekeeper. They have stumbled across certain truths that could alter the world as we know it. It is a race against time to suppress the evil beings that have gained access to our world. They learn the secrets that an ancient civilization knew and their life long quest to conceal those secrets. The Gatekeeper’s Dark Matter is a roller coaster of suspense.
Naples Noteworthy: Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Penelope A. Brown: Thank you for your continued support.
“This fantastically suspenseful, fast-paced adventure cleverly bridges together imagination and unexplored possibilities. Brown leaves the reader wanting more. Brilliantly executed…not to be missed!” -J.S. Graydon Bestselling Author of The White Horseman
“This is not my normal genre of books but a family member suggested I read it and I’m so glad they did. I’m not a fast reader and have many interruptions in my life (small children) but this book drew me in and I completed it in less than 36 hours. Easy reading, great flow and keeps you wanting to read more. The characters and world(s) are so vivid and come to life I felt as if I was right there with them. The author had your attention the entire time wondering what was going to take place next. I would recommend this book to all age groups and as a MUST READ! I cannot wait for the next book in the series!!!” – P Hoover
“What a wonderful and mysterious book! It drew me into a world none like our own! The author had me guessing throughout the book…I did not want to put it down! The characters were easy to envision through Brown’s descriptions.
I am looking forward to more adventures SOON (I hope)!
A great book for all ages.” – Kari Jane Gilmore
“This was a fantastic book! I literally could not put it down and read it in two days, that’s saying a lot since I’m chasing after a three year old all day! The book transports you into a magical world of adventure and is so entertaining with each page. I can’t wait for the next in the series!!“- Chelsea Schwartz
“I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It has a perfect mixture of whimsy and magic. The author weaves a magical web through scientific ideas that definitely peak the reader’s imagination. Well written and easy to read, Brown brings the magical animals and creatures to life! A must read!” – J.S. Graydon
Connect with Penelope A. Brown
More information on the book and on Penelope A. Brown can be found at her website, www.PenelopeABrown.com.
Be sure to visit and like Brown’s Facebook page or follow her on Twitter: