About the Book
Book: A Penny Saved
Authors: Terri Gillespie & Cynthia L. Simmons
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy & Mystery
Release Date: May 27, 2023
A Move, A Mess, A Mystery
Mason’s world turns upside down when he, his little sister, Olivia, and their mother move into their grandfather’s house.
Mason misses his cool friends. Unfortunately, R.B., the weird kid down the street, thinks he’s Mason’s new best friend.
Mason’s grandfather, a retired professor, stays in his office filled with musty, dusty books. Never realizing there’s a magical treasure hidden in plain sight. An 1860 Indian Head penny, named Penny, who is alive!
When Penny goes missing, Mason helps his grandfather look for her.
Will Mason find Penny and learn her secret?
Click here to get your copy!
I received a complimentary copy of this book,
All opinions given are my own and not an endorsement
Of all author’s opinions.
Why did you want to become an author?
Somehow, she could see the writer in me. Which was discerning because I had challenges with reading that took decades to overcome.
The definitive moment for me was when Grandma set an ancient Royal typewriter atop a rickety metal table, with a small stack of paper and said, “Write.” My first “publication” on that old typewriter was Jilly the Teddy Bear (1959). That ignited the fire to write and the hope that maybe I could see a real book with my name—not one bound with tape.
Although I have written a women’s devotional (2008), it is stories I’m most drawn to. Those stories Grandma told me changed my life. How wonderful if I can do the same for readers.
What step of writing this book was the most challenging and why?
A Penny Saved was co-written with Cynthia Simmons. Cynthia was very gracious, especially when it came time to integrate our writing. Cynthia is the history maven, and I love contemporary characters with strong voices. The challenge arose when I kept imposing my voice on the characters she was writing. As I said, she was very gracious. We ended up working it out and are both pleased with the story and these great characters. And hopefully, I’ll be more sensitive in the subsequent Penny books.
What/Who inspired you to write on the main themes found in the book?
My inspiration was my grandson, DJ. DJ wasn’t much of a reader in elementary school. He is bright, kind, compassionate, and a handsome young man. He’s also Black and I lamented that there are so few inspirational books for young people with strong Black protagonists. What few books I found he loved, and he has since become quite the reader. But still there is a dearth of inspirational novels with Black protagonists out there.
I knew that Mason would be much like DJ. In fact, the artistbased her illustrations on photos of DJ.
Choosing to track Mason’s ancestors through the eyes of an 1860 Indian head penny, to post-Civil War Reconstruction era, will be a challenge in the upcoming books, but learning from the past will help Mason deal with his own questions about life and becoming a Christian man.
What made you choose the setting/time period for this book?
Cynthia and I wanted to bring a strong historical perspective into contemporary times. In the beginning, for Mason, history is boring pages in a book and memorized dates. He has no idea of his connection with the past and a seemingly insignificant penny name Penny will turn his world upside down.
Did you have to step out of your comfort zone to write this book? If so, how?
Both Cynthia and I stepped out of our comfort zones. She lives history, and I live contemporary. Like young Mason, until a few years ago, history was dry and brittle pages of dates for me. I’m beginning to see that history is the story of people—the good and the cruel. Connecting the lessons from the past to Mason’s life today has been extremely satisfying, albeit emotional at times.
About the Terri
Terri Gillespie is a multi-award award-winning author and speaker and YouTube personality. Terri lives with her hubby outside Atlanta. They have one adult daughter, who lives in Chicago with her husband and son. Terri was one of the managing editors of the bestselling Tree of Life Version of the Holy Scriptures.
More from Terri
My grandson, DJ, loves to read, but there is a lack of inspirational and clean books with Black protagonists. DJ loves fantasy and mysteries, and as his safta (grandmother), I wanted a book that gives even more, a sense of legacy with a theme of looking past the exterior to the value underneath.
When the strange, awkward R.B. offers to pray for Mason’s grandfather and then brings over his granny’s tuna casserole, Mason is touched and wonders if he has misjudged R.B.
After tasting this recipe, would you change your mind?
Widow Savier’s (R.B.’s granny) Tuna Casserole
2 (5 oz.) cans chunky-type tuna in water (drain well)
1 cup frozen peas
1⁄2 cup milk
3⁄4 cup butter-Ritz-like crackers, crushed or crushed potato chips (R.B. prefers the chips)
4 oz. (about 2-1⁄2 cups) thick egg noodles
1 can (10.75 oz.) cream of mushroom soup
1⁄4 tsp. garlic powder
Bit of butter (it is the south after all)
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Cook noodles according to package instructions, adding peas during the last 2 minutes of cooking; drain in strainer.
- While noodles are cooking, in a separate bowl, mix together soup, milk and garlic powder.
- Stir in the noodles and peas, then add the tuna.
- Transfer to a 1-1⁄2 quart lightly buttered casserole.
- Bake 15 minutes; top with cracker crumbs OR CHIPS. Continue baking 5 – 10 minutes or until heated through.
Serves 4, so Widow Savier doubles the recipe for Mason’s family so they have leftovers.
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A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 19 (Author Interview)
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Locks, Hooks and Books, November 20
Vicky Sluiter, November 21 (Author Interview)
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 22
A Reader’s Brain, November 23 (Author Interview)
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 24
Blogging With Carol, November 25
Blossoms and Blessings, November 26 (Author Interview)
Artistic Nobody, November 26
For Him and My Family, November 27
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 28 (Author Interview)
Little Homeschool on the prairie, November 29
To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon Gift Card, signed copy of A Penny Saved, and A Penny Saved Mug!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.