(sorry I’m late–I broke down on the way here 😉)
Today I’d like to welcome author J. Grace Pennington! Grace, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello! Thank you so much for having me on the blog. I’m a self-published Christian author who writes while my three baby girls are napping, which means I have to try to use small amounts of time effectively! I’ve been writing my whole life and publishing for the past decade – a little bit of everything, but primarily young adult science-fiction novels. I also love reading (of course), playing with my girls, crocheting, and coloring (ideally all while listening to a good audiobook).
Congrats on your latest release, Eleftheria! You’ve decided to release it in a serial format on Kindle Vella. Can you tell us more about that and how we can read it?
Thank you! I’m new to Kindle Vella, but I’m finding it a very exciting way to publish – it’s a bit reminiscent of the olden days when novels such as Charles Dickens’ were published serially in the papers! Eleftheria is releasing three chapters a week, and will wrap up early in September.
Readers can purchase tokens with which to buy episodes (though the first three episodes of all Vella stories are free) and read them on their Kindles, phones, computers, or however one reads ebooks. So it’s a bit like getting multiple episodes a week of your favorite show! I also include a poll at the end of each chapter where readers can share their opinions or give their guesses as to what happens next.
What are your long-term plans for the Firmament series?
I’m currently working on book eight, Humanoid, and am nearly finished with the first draft. I’d love to be more consistent in getting the books out (it’s taken me ten years just to release these first seven!) so building a system of writing and publishing into my days is important to me. I have plans for eighteen books total, all of which have been planned since before the first book was written, so the big-picture events of the series are pretty much set in stone, but there’s so much room for experimentation and exploration within that framework. And I honestly just enjoy spending time with my characters and experiencing their world as I write!
What other projects, writing or otherwise, can you share about right now?
I wrote a novel called “Shows” last year that I am starting to get beta feedback on before I edit and possibly try to get a publishing agent for it – it’s very different from my series. It’s a general Christian fiction book about a young girl who moves to the big city and finds herself participating in a church’s twelve-step program as she searches for answers to life, faith, and dealing with mental illness.
There’s also a book I’m starting to think about outlining for this year’s National Novel Writing Month in November, a cyberpunk adventure called “Chroma” that deals with virtual reality, consequences, and the tension and loyalty between a father and son.
Otherwise, I have a weekly podcast entitled Improbable Things where I share six reading and writing related thoughts before my kids wake up in the morning. It’s a great way to give updates about my projects, share tidbits about my kids and their love of reading, discuss my current reads, and go on rants and rambles regarding my observations on storytelling. The podcast can be found on Anchor, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.
How long have you been an author? What advice would you give to newer/breakout authors?
The first time I remember writing anything was a very short book when I was five years old, and I’ve never stopped since then! But despite starting several dozen stories, I never actually finished one until I was almost twenty. (And that book was absolutely terrible, of course, but at least it showed me I could finish something!) The second book I completed was Firmament: Radialloy, the first book in my series, and I published it shortly afterwards.
The number one piece of advice I always give writers is to push through writers block. You can always get words out on the page, even if they are terrible, but if you don’t push through the hard places then you’ll never finish your story and have the chance to fix and polish it. For your first draft, just get the words out. Editing comes later. The first important thing is to finish your story.
For your first draft, just get the words out. Editing comes later. The first important thing is to finish your story.
What is your favorite way you’ve seen God make your ordinary life beautiful?
At the current stage of my life (stay-at-home motherhood with a four-year-old, a two-year-old, and a one-year-old) the most beautiful thing I experience is getting to see my daughters discover the world. To witness their delight at the ordinary – the exuberance over a weird bug, shock at their first ever rainstorm, or breathlessness when my rhinestone sandals catch the light and throw sparkles all over the room – brings a freshness and glory to all those mundane parts of life I take for granted. It shows me a perspective on old concepts and ideas turned new through their beautiful eyes and constantly-inquiring minds. There’s nothing like it in all the world.
Thank you so much for coming!
Thank you for having me! It’s been great chatting with you!
Follow Grace everywhere, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!