Sunday, October 22, 2023

Q&A with Brianna and Matthew Penfold




Brianna and Matthew Penfold are the authors of the new young adult novel The Intrepid Three: Animus Revealed. Brianna Penfold is a lawyer and Matthew Penfold is a doctor. They live in Virginia.


Q: What inspired you to write The Intrepid Three: Animus Revealed, and how did you create your characters Dez, Arabella, and Walter?


A: We felt inspired to write The Intrepid Three: Animus Revealed during the pandemic. It was early on, but things were looking bleak. The societal unrest was at an all-time high, and Americans appeared to be divided on every front. We felt downtrodden and discouraged.


This book was our outlet to pen our frustrations, but more importantly, our hopes. We wanted to write a Christian allegorical book that reflected the struggles in our society but also presented the redemption found in Christ.


From the beginning, we knew we wanted to write a book with a focus on young adults, so we chose to create three teenage protagonists. Dez, Arabella, and Walter are diverse in every way.


This was intentional so that readers felt represented by our main characters. The worlds they reside in and the supernatural gifts they possess inform their personalities as well.


Q: How did the two of you collaborate on the book? What was your writing process like?


A: We believed for this project two heads were better than one, so we wrote every sentence together. This did come with some unique challenges, though. We had never created together on this scale, so we had to determine how to navigate every part of our writing process.


With every step, from brainstorming to proofreading the final draft, we had to combine our individual styles, which were rarely the same. For example, we determined that writing and refining a paragraph at a time worked better than writing and refining single sentences or whole chapters at a time.


Ultimately, we are different people with the same goal, so we nailed down the best creative process for us.  

Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: Before we ever wrote our first sentence, we outlined the trajectory of the series. We made some tweaks here and there to our planned storyline, but for the most part, we stayed true to what we originally envisioned.


Our book needed to end at a specific point to set up book two of the series. While our general arc did not change, we wrote and rewrote many of the details that gave shape to the story.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?


A: We want readers to see reflected in this fictional work some of the very real flaws in society and ourselves, but also see that none of these issues are too big to overcome with Christ and each other. It is important to us that readers walk away with a message of hope.


The following passage from our book, The Intrepid Three: Animus Revealed, summarizes this idea:


“Be assured, light may seem fickle when it flickers and flutters, but oh, it is much more powerful than dark when it is freed. It adapts, it changes, and it grows. Darkness stays stagnant and depends on the absence of light. Light always has the potential to overcome darkness, if only we allow it.”


Q: As you mentioned, this is the first in a series--can you tell us what's next?


A: We have started working on book two of the series. We can tell you that the storyline gets darker before it gets lighter. But as the saying goes, “it’s always darkest before the dawn.” In the sequel, our three protagonists refine their gifts while the lines between the natural and supernatural blur. We have big things planned for book two!


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: The Intrepid Three: Animus Revealed was a major labor of love for us. We thank you and your readers for taking the time to read our responses and book. We hope you enjoy our book and feel connected to its message.


Please reach out to us or connect up with us on our website (, Facebook (, and Instagram (@briannamatthewpenfold).


--Interview with Deborah Kalb 

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