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In her latest riveting mystery, author Penny Goetjen skillfully weaves the story of a young woman’s terrifying search for her photographer mother who disappeared on the tropical island of St. Thomas during a covert assignment.

Leaving behind Boston and her domineering, workaholic father, Olivia goes wheels up on a southbound jet to embark on a journey that not only tests her resolve, but pits her sense of justice against that of a twisted subculture, shattering her instinct of who to trust. Facing the heartache of settling a parent’s affairs, her search for answers ensnares her in a sinister web of crime amidst a breathtaking, yet deceptively tranquil Caribbean backdrop.


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Penny Goetjen is the author of murder mysteries where the milieu play as prominent a role as the engaging characters. Her love of travel inspires her writing as evidenced by her current titles. Although Connecticut has been her home longer than anywhere else, she also has a deep-rooted fondness for the Caribbean; Charleston, South Carolina; and the tumultuous coast of Maine (especially in the warmer months). A self-proclaimed eccentric, she loves writing by candlelight, particularly on dark, gray days or in the late hours of the night. Fascinated with the paranormal, she often weaves a subtle, unexpected twist into her stories. When her husband is asked how he feels about his wife writing murder mysteries, he answers with a wink, “I sleep with one eye open.”

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Not even the sultry Caribbean sun can burn off the dark clouds that seem to follow Olivia Benning. Returning to an island home to settle affairs, she has no information about her mother’s sudden and suspicious death, no resources and little money, she’s alone and
unsure who to trust.

Penny Goetjen uses the idyllic setting and island culture so effecttively, the reader is tempted to savor ocean views from THE EMPTY CHAIR, but don’t pause too long—danger is never far away.
Kathryn Orzech, Author of Premonition of Terror and Asylum

“This is a very well done mystery with beautifully descriptive surroundings and suspense that builds throughout. The ending threw me for a loop and leaves open the possibility of a second book. I highly recommend this book!”
Melissa Borsey, Reviewer

“I loved this mystery set in the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Thomas! When Olivia is summoned to the island after a mysterious phone call about her mother’s demise, she assumes it will be simply a matter of taking care of paperwork and final affairs. What she hasn’t planned for is a handsome stranger, a bar fight, dead bodies, and many secrets and lies. Set in an idyllic setting, the novel made me want to book a cruise (without the bodies of course)!”  Anne Foster, Educator

Author Talk Topics:

o 7 Quirks of a Mystery Writer
o How THE EMPTY CHAIR Demanded to be Written
o An Escape to the Caribbean Without Going Wheels Up on a 737 (and without getting sand in your bathing suit)

Interview Questions:

General/ Introductory
Tell us what genre you write in and what you have published so far.

What attracts you to the mystery genre?
Have you considered writing in other genres?
Why do you add a paranormal element to your stories?
Have you had paranormal experiences? Can you give specifics?

Writing Process
Do you have a routine for writing? A certain time of day?
Do you have a favorite place to write?
What are you working on now?
Do you every hide secrets in your novels that only certain people will find?

Where do your characters come from?
How close are your characters to real people in your life?
Do you have to like them to be able to write them?

Do you use incidents/events/situations from real life?
Does your writing spill over into your dreams?
Does it have an adverse effect on your sleep?

What is your favorite movie? Why?
If you could spend time in a book/movie, which would it be and why?
What famous person, who has passed away, would you like to meet and why?

© 2018 Penny Goetjen