Sunday, 7 August 2016

INTERVIEW: J. Grace Pennington

Flurries Unlimited (FU) was able to catch up with Sci-Fi and Western author, J. Grace Pennington (JGP), for a one on one chat about her work, her faith and lots of stuff in between.  Here's what we discussed:

FU:  There are so many different genres to choose from, what inspired you to write science fiction?

JGP: My dad has always been a huge fan of science fiction, from Star Trek to Stargate to The Terminator, so he enjoyed sharing those things with me as I grew up and I found I loved the speculative element, the possibilities to explore ideas to such an extreme conclusion, and all the endless potential for creativity. I love coming up with ideas that aren't completely constrained by reality, but aren't fantasy either. I especially love being able to take my characters and my themes and stretch them as far as they could go, in situations that could not arise in the world we know--or could they?

FU:  And how did your western come about?

JGP: I've always loved westerns and was an avid Roy Rogers aficionado as a teen, so when I came up with the plot of Never it seemed like a good fit to put it in that dusty, gritty, Old-West atmosphere. I love the black-and-white nature of westerns, the clear good guy versus bad guy clash, and I thought that would be a good fit for the mystery story I had in mind.

FU:   According to your bio, your faith is very important to you. How has this influenced your writing?

JGP: As a Christian, I want all my books to have a purpose. Sometimes, like for my young adult series, that means they have explicit Christian values and religious characters. Sometimes, like for my western, it means having more subtle references to the characters' faith, and sometimes, like in Implant, it means the characters aren't religious at all, but the book itself promotes what I believe are important values like courage and selflessness. Sometimes it even means writing something that doesn't have a strong message but can bless others by making them laugh. It all depends on the individual story.

FU:  Sometimes religious people are harassed for their beliefs, particularly when they are a public figure or outspoken about them. What has been your experience?

JGP: I haven't had any horrible experiences, though I have had some reviews, specifically on my western, that call it "a sermon in disguise" or say that it would make a great movie if not for the faith elements. I have lost a few friends by being outspoken about my principles, as well. But for the most part I try to be clear upfront that some of my books are overtly Christian, so that people who don't want that won't pick them up to read. On the other hand, I've gotten flack from Christians who say some of my books aren't Christian enough. So I guess you just can't please everyone!

FU:  You've written quite a few books. Which is your favourite and why?
JGP: Such a tough question! I love my series, because I've grown to love all the characters so much and I'm excited to follow them through many more adventures, but I think as a standalone book Implant is my favorite. Again, I love the characters and their relationships. Particularly a rough, grouchy, mysterious man called "Doc."

FU:  They say that every character has some of the author in him/her.  Which of your characters is most like you? In what way?
JGP: Andi Lloyd, the protagonist of my Firmament series, is definitely the most like me. She is affectionate and deeply loyal, a bit easily frustrated, and definitely emotional. She loves those around her passionately, and is as opinionated as I am. However, she's a lot more confident than I am.

FU:   So what is on the horizon? What are your new projects? When is your next new release?

JGP: I'm working on getting my next book out now! It's the fourth book in my Firmament series, and it's called Reversal Zone. I've been looking forward to this one for years, and I can't wait to see what my readers think! It's off being edited, so I'm hoping to have it published sometime next month. We'll see!

FU: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us.

JGP: Thank you for having me on the site!

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