Author J. Grace Pennington and I interviewed each other on our blogs today. You can see my interview here, on www.jgracepennington.com.
And now for Grace's interview. She is the author of Firmament: Radialloy and Never, both of which I reviewed on this blog the past two weeks. It's a pleasure to introduce to you . . . J. Grace Pennington!
Hi, Grace! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
and thank you for having me! I'm a twenty-three-year-old writer of
Christian young-adult science fiction, western mystery, and everything
in between. I'm the oldest of nine kids, and wouldn't have it any other
way. I was homeschooled all the way by my dedicated parents, which I'm
very grateful for, and God is the most important thing in my life.
You published two books last year, Firmament: Radialloy and Never. What are they about?
The logline for Radialloy
is: When her father shows signs of insanity, a doctor's daughter finds
herself the primary target as mutiny breaks out on their starship and
secrets from her past threaten to destroy everything she has ever loved.
And for Never: When
his younger brother is sent to work off a death sentence in the coal
mines outside town, a rancher must discover what really happened before
the younger man is worked to death or pressured into more sinister
service by the cruel mine owner.
How did you get the ideas for the Firmament Series and Never?
the beginning of Radialloy after a dream I had based on a Star Trek
movie. The basis for the series has always been Andi and her
relationship with her adoptive father, Doctor Lloyd. Once I had that
relationship in mind, I delved into what role her biological family
might play in the story, then surrounded them with characters I found
interesting until my mind was popping with ideas of places to take the
characters and ways to test and stretch them! I originally had
twenty-four ideas, but I finally narrowed and whittled it down
For Never, I had a list of
things I wanted to include in a book... a strong relationship between
two adult brothers, a quarantined inn full of people who were suspects
in a murder, someone being worked and pressured in a coal mine by a
sadistic owner, the small-Western-town setting, and the theme of
never giving in, among other things. Then I brainstormed a story that
included all those things. Relationships are often a strong motivator
for my writing.
Do you ever base your characters on real people?
but not often. Andi Lloyd is somewhat based on myself, but with certain
key changes. Travis and Ross have a few character qualities that are
like my brothers. But usually I just pull characters out of my
mind. I do occasionally base characters on other characters, changing
their backstory, religion, or setting to try to find out how it would
change them. Doctor Lloyd, for instance, bears some similarity to Doctor
McCoy from Star Trek.
I'm really looking forward to In His Image, book two of the Firmament Series. What is it about?
The official logline for In His Image
is: After accidentally running awry of the laws of a civilization that
scientifically shouldn’t exist, a stranded away team must figure out
what’s going on and find a way to escape before they are all executed.
It's going to be different from Radialloy,
because several key characters are almost or entirely absent, and
the characters I do feature are stranded on a planet most of the
time, rather than exclusively on the starship. We're also dealing with
some of the emotional aftermath of the first book, and there will be a
few new characters. I'm very excited to see what people think of it.
What made you start writing?
been reading since I was four, and one afternoon when I was five, my
mom was taking a nap and I was bored. I realized that since I knew how
to write words, and books were just words, I could write a book if I
wanted, so I did. I've always enjoyed making up stories, so once I
realized I could put them on paper for others to enjoy, there was no
Do you have any advice for other writers?
most basic advice is a quote I heard from director Robert Rodriquez:
"The only difference between the do-ers and the don't-ers, is the do-ers
do and the don't-ers don't." If you have something to write, there is
no great inspiration and no winning method to get you there... you just
have to get out there, grab your pencil or put your fingers on the
keyboard and write. And there's no such thing as writer's block.
Sometimes it's hard, and that's when you just have to force yourself.
Keep putting words out there, even if they're awful. You can edit
anything but a blank page. :)
Besides writing, what do you like to do?
enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, filmmaking,
playing piano, violin, and guitar, watching movies, reading books,
Bible study, spending time with my horse, eating, taking walks,
and figuring out new ways to tie scarves!
Thanks for the interview!
Thank you for having me, Morgan! I enjoyed it.