First, a bit of background: J. Grace Pennington has been reading stories as long as she can remember, and writing them almost as long. She is also a prolific medical transcriptionist, amateur musician, chocolate eater, daughter, sister, friend, and laundry folder. She lives in Texas, and if she was part of the Implant society, her role in the rebellion would probably be monitoring current events and correspondence in the computer center.
Now, on to the interview!
J. Grace Pennington: Thank you for having me, Jesse!
When did you first start writing and what made you start?
I started writing when I was five years old. It was pretty straightforward, I loved reading and books, and it occurred to me one afternoon that I could write stories, so I did. And I haven’t stopped since!
What made you decide to publish your works?
I think every writer dreams of being published! I’ve known almost my whole life that self-publishing was for me, because my dad is very entrepreneurial and he raised me that way. So once I had a story I thought might be good enough that a lot of people could enjoy it as much as I did, I started my self-publishing journey.
Tell me a little bit about your most recent work.
Implant, to be released in a few days, is a young adult dystopia. It also features time travel, medicine, and some steampunk elements. The main character is nineteen-year-old Gordon Harding, who, after being diagnosed with leukemia, is whisked away into a future dystopian world that only he can save.
A lot of what you've written is science fiction. Is there any particular reason why?
I love science-fiction because of the potential to explore so many different things. You can push ideas to their limits, take worldviews to their logical end, and bring your characters through adventures that test their very souls. It’s so much fun and there’s no end to what you can do. It excites me!
Your Firmament series is more of a Space Epic. Implant is more of a dystopia. What differences were there between writing that and writing dystopian?
Implant is a lot more grim, due to taking place in a world gone wrong. Firmament, while often dramatic and even dark, is not as bleak in tone. Also, the Firmament stories tend to have a lot of mystery, trying to solve what’s going on and why, while Implant is much more focused on just saving the world at any cost.
Is there an author than you feel has influenced your writing style?
Frank Peretti to a certain extent. I love his writing, and his style is fairly simple, always serving the story rather than the other way around. Also Daniel Schwabauer. He has the most beautiful style, and it always pulls you into the world and into the characters’ minds. I want to learn to do the same.
What is the hardest part about writing a book?
For me, the plot. I generally have the relationships, characters, premise, and a few key moments I’m really excited about, but when it comes to stringing it all together with plans and twists and turns, I have a hard time making it all fit logically.
A few fun questions: favorite science fiction franchise (Doctor Who, Star Trek, Star Wars, etc)?
That’s a hard one! I really don’t think I can choose between Doctor Who and Star Trek. They are so different, and I love them both so much.
Favorite Star Trek episode?
Another hard question… there are so many good ones! But Bread and Circuses is a good episode. So is Mirror, Mirror. If movies count, then The Wrath of Khan wins hands down.
A random one: Favorite musical?
My Fair Lady! I would never ever get tired of watching that movie.
A great choice! Thanks so much for being here, Grace.
Thank you for having me, Jesse!
If you're interested to find Ms. Pennington online, you can find her at her website (JGracePennington.com), on Facebook (facebook.com/jgracepenningtontheauthor), or on twitter @jgracetheauthor.
I hope you enjoyed this interview and, if Implant interests you, please support Ms. Pennington by buying her book. If you enjoyed this interview, comment below or tell me someone who you would like interviewed and I'll look into it.