Interview With Author J. Grace Pennington
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Hello! My name is J. Grace Pennington, and I am a self-published author and mom of three little girls living in Texas, where I spend my “free” time reading and writing as much as I can. I began self-publishing in my early twenties, and have published eleven books to date, seven of which are a part of my young-adult science-fiction series, “Firmament.”
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My most recent book, which is currently publishing on Kindle Vella, is called “Firmament: Eleftheria” and is the seventh book in my science-fiction series. In many ways it is a follow-up to the second book, where the starship crew discovered and visited a planet where they encountered and befriended a group of people originally from Earth. This current book chronicles their second visit to the planet, where they find plenty of surprises and cause a lot more chaos in the civilization than they had intended.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I often prefer to write in bed than at a desk. And when possible I like to write while eating my favorite snack — parmesan cheese, raw sunflower seeds, and watermelon lime Bai Bubbles. If applicable, I’ll listen to movie soundtracks from the same genre as the book I’m writing. Is any of that unusual?
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Daniel Schwabauer, author of “Runt the Brave” and the creator of the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum is one of my biggest influences and most valued mentors. He gave me a strong sense of story and how it works and what’s truly beautiful about it. Other influences include Frank Peretti, C. S. Lewis, and — though this isn’t a book or author — Star Trek.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently finishing the first draft of book eight in my series, entitled “Firmament: Humanoid.” It’s going to deal with what it means to be human in a way that I hope is intriguing and fun to read. I’m certainly having fun writing it!
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Honestly, staying in touch with my readers via social media has been my favorite way to engage my audience, though I don’t know whether it’s the most effective. I have relationships with fans of my series spanning the past decade, and they feed into my writing in such encouraging ways.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t fall prey to writer’s block. You can always get words on the page, even if they are awful or cringe-worthy. Just write! Get the draft out there. You can edit it all you want later, but not until you get past that first step.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” – Jodi Picoult
What are you reading now?
I’m trying to read “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy, but I must admit I’m struggling with the lack of proper grammar and punctuation!
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m going to keep working on my series until it’s complete, of course! I’m also starting to think about editing a general fiction book I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year, for which I am considering seeking traditional publication rather than self-publishing.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I’m going to assume that the Bible is already on the island, because I feel like that’s a copout answer! That said, I’m going to take a volume comprising the entire Chronicles of Narnia series, which is also probably a copout. Other than that, I’ll take Stepping Heavenward, Anne of Green Gables, and A Tale of Two Cities, I guess. It’s so hard to choose.
Author Websites and Profiles
J. Grace Pennington’s Social Media Links