Blog Layout

Monday, June 6, 2016

Red Rain Giveaway and Interview with the Author!

Hello, everyone! I recently did a book review of the prequel to Red Rain, and now I'm back with a book tour that Aubrey Hansen is doing for Red Rain. I'm here with an interview, and there are also prizes to be won. Read on to join in the fun!


About the Book



17-year-old Philadelphia has been imprisoned most of her life because of her Christian beliefs. When her father is sent to Mars against his will to work on a mysterious science project and a benevolent official allows her to accompany him, Philadelphia knows she must keep her head down or be sent back to prison on Earth. But when she stumbles into the wrong hallway and accidentally learns too much, Philadelphia is faced with a question she doesn’t want to answer: the choice between returning to Earth—or destroying it.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005K21VU6

About the Author



Aubrey Hansen is a pink-haired, caffeine-fueled twenty-something. She's a writer (obviously), barista, dog trainer, and the co-founder of Penoaks Publishing. She shares her house in Kansas City with three cats, a pit bull, a snake, a ferret, and a husband.


What Reviewers are Saying
One day while I was busy mindlessly entering data into the computer at work, I put on my head phones and started listening to the book. I was hooked from the first few sentences. In fact, I stayed up late when I got home (even though I had to get up early the next morning) to finish the book.” -Amazon Reviewer

With solid craft and poignant world building, Aubrey Hansen has outlined a future both horrifying and realistic. I appreciated Hansen's character building skills.” -Amazon Reviewer

I loved this book! I didn't realize it was a short novella, and I wished it would have been longer.” -Goodreads Reviewer

“ The story was fascinating. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but everything came together in the end and it made sense.” -Goodreads Reviewer

Giveaway

Aubrey is offering three paperback copies of her book, Red Rain. This book will have the new cover on it. And the grand prize offering will also have the paperback of Faith Blum's book, Heaven's Jubilee, a Christian futuristic collection of short stories. To enter the giveaway, please fill out this Google form (you do not need a Google account to enter). The only required entries are your name and email address, but the more you do, the more chances you have to win.




Interview with Aubrey Hansen

1. Where did the idea for Red Rain come from?
I was at a park with my siblings, having taken up residence on my favorite piece of equipment—the swing set. When I swung high enough, I could see over the park fence into a “bus barn” across the street. I stared at the rows upon rows of yellow buses and, being homeschooled, thought about how terrible it would be if the government forced us to go to public school. Such things frightened my teenaged brain. <winks> But that gave birth to the first scene in the book, which has remained almost exactly as I first imagined it, despite the revisions the rest of the book went through. Don’t ask me how I went from school buses to Mars colonies, though. I honestly have no idea.

2. What books and movies inspired you while writing?
Anything sci-fi! Although I’m not extremely “techy” by nature, I have always adored the glistening sci-fi settings and the sparkling backdrop of space. My earliest known piece of writing was sci-fi, which is why sci-fi will always hold a special place in my heart.

3. Did you base anything in Red Rain off of your personal experiences?
Not intentionally—but then, it’s rarely intentional. I didn’t write Red Rain during a particularly traumatic period of my life, so I wasn’t doing any “writing therapy” at the time. The sequel, however, hits on a very difficult aspect of growing up...

4. Are any of the characters based off of or inspired by people you know?
No, although I did use the seven churches from Revelation as inspiration for their character arcs.

5. What is your favorite line (narration or dialogue) in the book?
“Curses,” Carnegie spat, and offered a few examples.
I was very proud of that line, because I proved to the world that you can have “realistic” crude characters without resorting to splicing language throughout your book. That and I thought it was very creative. But I might be biased.

6. Describe your writing process: do you like to have everything plotted out beforehand, are you a 'pantser', or something in between?
I lean more towards plotting. My books usually start with some scattered scenes written on-the-fly, just to capture the inspiration, but then I take a step back and work up an outline to fill in the blanks. Regardless of how much plotting I do, though, I almost always write the ending first and then work backwards. I usually write best when I know my climax and have to figure out how my characters got there.

7. What is the most difficult thing for you in writing?
Finding time! Cliché, I know, but with a full-time “day job” and a growing publishing business of our own, it’s hard to find quality time to put into my books! But I’m slowly getting it through my workaholic brain that my works are just as important as everything else on my plate, and it’s worth it to devote one or two evenings to my own projects.

8. If you could go anywhere for a week's vacation, and spend it writing to your heart's content, where would you go?
I’d probably be too distracted by all the new sights and sounds to write! I love travel and exploring new experiences, whether that be visiting a new store, doing an activity for the first time, or going to a new state or country. Now, if you’re going to give me a week off of work, where I didn’t feel guilty about not doing anything else but write, then sign me up!

9. When did you first start writing, and what was your first story/book about?
I started writing officially around age 14, although I’d always been “making up stories” in my brain. I just didn’t realize until then that you could write this stuff down and call it a book! My first book was actually EXO-FORCE fanfiction on the LEGO message boards. EXO-FORCE was a sci-fi line about sentient robots and piloted mechs... just the kind of fodder to inspire a lifelong love of sci-fi!

10. You're writing a sequel to Red Rain. Can you tell us a bit about that?
EVERYBODY DIES. Just kidding—but Crook Q is significantly more “serious” than Red Rain. I’ve matured, and so has Philadelphia. She gets thrown out on her own and has to start developing her own religious beliefs. It hits on a very important time from my own “coming of age”—realizing that I had to make my faith my own, and that it might not always match my parents’ beliefs perfectly. It will be a full-length novel, which should make my readers happy.


 

Tour Schedule

June 2
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Introduction and Excerpt
Laurel’s Leaves-Author Interview

June 3
Gabriellyn-Excerpt and Author Interview
Joyful Peacock-Author Interview

June 4
Another OtherWorld-Character Interview with Philadelphia

June 5
Mary’s Writing World-Book Spotlight
Rachel Rossano’s Words-Excerpt and Author Interview

June 6
Tale Weaver-Author Interview

June 7
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Wrap-up and Giveaway Announcement

Monday, April 11, 2016

Book Review - Project 74

Maybe his brains will finally get him out of prison.

When Ephesus, a talented young scientist, is personally summoned to Mars to work for a prestigious governor, he thinks he may have found his ticket to freedom. His enigmatic new boss, Dr. Nic, promises to transport Ephesus's family to Mars if Ephesus can provide the equation needed to complete an important project. With his family still imprisoned on Earth for religious freedom, this seems like a favorable arrangement. But when the project becomes progressively more sinister -- and Dr. Nic refuses to answer questions -- Ephesus begins to wonder if the offer is too good to be true.

Alternating between Ephesus's and Dr. Nic's point of view, "Project 74" tells the story of the deception and heartbreak that led into "Red Rain", the debut novel by author Aubrey Hansen.

I don't recall how long it's been since I read Aubrey Hansen's novella Red Rain, but I do remember enjoying it enough that I read it twice by myself, and once with my sister.
I was really excited when she published it's prequel, Project 74. Happily I was able to snag a free review copy!

I enjoyed it, but I definitely think it was far too short. I think it would have benefitted from being longer and fleshing out the characters, especially Ephesus', more. Ephesus wasn't quite conflicted enough about the Big Choice he had to make; with more space, I think his internal conflict could have been shown better.
I have to say that I loved the chapters from Dr. Nic's perspective! You never got to see this side of him in Red Rain: he's a sociopath-leaning-towards-psychopath, ready to go to (almost) whatever lengths it takes to be in power (although his scruples against killing more people than necessary didn't seem in character for him). He's extremely cool and calculating and I would love to read more from his perspective, which I think is possible when the sequel to Red Rain comes out (Crook Q).
So, to sum up, I liked it, but I think it could (and should) have been longer so the characters could be better developed.
Oh, and definitely read Red Rain first, because I think it helps with getting what's going on better :)

Book Link - Project 74
Website Link - Aubrey Hansen

Thursday, December 3, 2015

In Defense of Scrooge?



Four years ago I read an article by Michael Levin, which you can read HERE, entitled In Defense of Scrooge. At the time I wrote an essay addressing Levin's arguments. I have now revised and polished it, and I feel like it's a lot better than before. I know it's lengthy, but I don't think you'll find it boring.
You can also read it in Google Docs HERE.

*****

In Defense of ... Scrooge?


What could be said in defense of the Old Scrooge? The hard, tight fisted, miserly old man who grudges his employee's one paid day off? And could we actually find fault with poor Bob Cratchit, who works long, underpaid hours to maintain his family? Michael Levin says there is a lot to say in Scrooge's vindication, and that we can indeed find fault with Cratchit.

He argues, among other things, that Scrooge was an entrepreneur who was actually doing society good, that he was perfectly happy, and that Cratchit worked for Scrooge because he wanted to, and could have found a job anywhere else if he'd really wanted to. So let's examine his arguments.


The second paragraph of Levin's article states,

"To appreciate [the things that Scrooge supposedly got right], it is necessary first to distinguish Scrooge's outlook on life from his disagreeable persona. He is said to have a pointed nose and a harsh voice, but not all hardheaded businessmen are so lamentably endowed, nor are their feckless nephews (remember Fred?) always 'ruddy and handsome' and possessed of pretty wives. These touches of the storyteller's art only bias the issue."

First of all, Scrooge's disagreeable persona is a natural outworking of his cold nature. He never smiles and never has a pleasant word for anyone.

Secondly, Dickens often employed a 'character externalized' approach to writing. In other words, people would be described as having features corresponding to their surroundings or personalities. 
In Scrooge's case, he has a hard, cold, bitter nature, and this is shown by Dickens description of him:

"Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! 
Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. 
The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. 
A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him..."

Now, obviously, someone could look like this. This isn't exaggerated, as some of Dickens’ characterizations in other books were. 
He will still look much the same after his transformation, of course, but he will be different; and the change of heart will affect everything. 
Someone who smiles and is kind is going to look far different from someone who frowns and never has a nice word to say.

Next, Levin says that obviously, if Cratchit is working for Scrooge, then he must be where he wants to be, he must be getting fair wages, and he must be able to just find another job anywhere else. 
What Levin apparently does not realize is that many people cannot always work where they would like to. They may not be able to find other work, or perhaps other work would pay even less than miserly old Scrooge.
Which brings us to our next point: that Cratchit must be getting fair wages. 
How can we infer that Scrooge would be paying him what he ought to? Often, people have to just take the pay they get, or settle for nothing. And, of course, some money is better than none. 
Bob Cratchit may not be particularly gifted, and might, even in the best of times, have a hard time finding another job. 
He might have not even had time to look for another, since he worked long hours for Scrooge already. 
Whatever the case, we cannot lay all the blame on Cratchit. He is obviously not lazy. He does his job, and does it well, or else Scrooge would have dismissed him long ago. I don't think there is a case to be made in this respect.

Levin also argues that Scrooge is not responsible for Cratchit's family, and that it was irresponsible of him to have that many children if he could not afford them.

If Scrooge has hired a man with six children to take care of, he should be even more willing to pay him the fair amount. And especially if one of those children is a cripple who could be helped. We know that Scrooge had a whole lot of money, which he didn't use for himself. 
So why didn't he use it in helping his employee?

Levin leaves no room in his article for charity, for a free and open hand in Scrooge's dealings with his fellow men (most especially Cratchit, the fellow man nearest him). 
Instead, Levin's world is one of hard, cold dealing, and doesn’t factor in the suffering of others who could be helped.
He fails to see that Dickens was operating, not on a socialist worldview, wherein the government forcibly takes from one man to give to another, discouraging hard work and rewarding laziness; he was actually working from a Biblical worldview, which is one of charity. 
The Bible says that if a man does not work, neither should he eat; but that is completely irrelevant to this situation, since Cratchit is a hardworking man. It’s not like he is going around looking for handouts.

Regarding the  issue of Cratchit's one lump of coal, I quote Levin:

“If he (Cratchit) stays there, he shows by his behavior that he prefers his present wages-plus-comfort package to any other he has found, or supposes himself likely to find. Actions speak louder than grumbling, and the reader can hardly complain about what Cratchit evidently finds satisfactory.”

This is faulty logic, and relates to the above points about Cratchit not being able to find a better job. First, Scrooge has more coal in his fire, but he denies Cratchit enough to even warm himself. Is this right? 
Second, why would Cratchit be grumbling about something he supposedly finds ‘satisfactory’? There are a lot of things in life that we can’t change, and we just have to bear them. I’d say it’s mighty unfair to say that Cratchit is grumbling about something he doesn’t mind (does that even make sense?). 
Third, Cratchit never actually complains, either to Scrooge or to his wife.


Levin then goes on to the issue of workhouses, and says that, since Scrooge is forced to pay taxes to support prisons and workhouses, “it is not unreasonable for him to balk at volunteering additional funds for their extra comfort”.
Well, perhaps not, if they were trying to force him to do so. But Scrooge has merely been asked to give money to men unconnected to the government; there’s no forcing involved.


Again missing the point, Levin says that if the workhouses were made more pleasant, then the poor would be unmotivated to find jobs. 
So because of this, Scrooge can’t part with a little bit of money to provide some comfort for some people on Christmas? Would Levin even think that was a good thing to do? Would he rather that all the poor were made or kept miserable?


Levin says that Cratchit, in asking for a paid Christmas holiday, is not being ‘fair’, and that he has apparently forgotten the golden rule in regards to Scrooge. 
Cratchit, it says, would object to a request that he work for a day without being paid. Levin makes it sound as though Cratchit forced Scrooge to pay him for a day off. 
But there is no indication of this in the book. 
Scrooge, apparently, decides it’s in his best interests to do so; otherwise he would not do it. There is no law forcing Scrooge to let Cratchit have the day off, or to pay him for that day off.

Levin continues:
“The biggest of the Big Lies about Scrooge is the pointlessness of his pursuit of money. ‘Wealth is of no use to him. He doesn’t do any good with it,’ opines ruddy nephew Fred.”

Levin goes on to say that he does do good by lending money to people, thereby helping a homeowner put a new roof on his house, and a tea merchant makes a profit and benefits tea drinkers.
He misses the whole point. Scrooge has plenty of money of his own. Of course he’s going to use his money to lend it to different people, because that’s his business and he makes money at it. But Scrooge is a miser.
Definiton of miser: a person who hoards wealth and spends as little money as possible.
So whatever he’s doing with his money related to his business, when he dies where does it go?
He apparently isn’t leaving it to Fred, his only living relative. Of course he’s not leaving it to a charity.
Therefore, he isn’t purposely doing any good with it. Whatever is done with the money he lends is no concern of his, as long as he gets his own back with interest.


Levin says,

“Dickens doesn’t mention Scrooge’s satisfied customers, but there must have been plenty of them for Scrooge to have gotten so rich.”

Dickens does mention it; Scrooge tells Marley's ghost that ‘you were always a good man of business’, and at other points the same thing is said of Scrooge. Of course there were satisfied customers. 
Again, it’s not the point. Scrooge is in the business of making money just to make money, as an end in itself and not a means of doing anything, for himself or others.

Levin imagines a hypothetical ‘Sickly Sid’, whose father has borrowed money from Scrooge, but can’t get the operation for his son because Cratchit has not paid back the money he owes to Scrooge.
This is ridiculous. 
Dickens never even hints that Cratchit has borrowed from his employer; if he had, then he would have used the money to help Tiny Tim. 
Secondly, if he hadn’t paid it back, then wouldn’t Scrooge have simply taken it out of Cratchit’s paycheck? 
Thirdly, Sickly Sid is a distraction from the real problem of Tiny Tim, who is not hypothetical, and who really needs help. Scrooge could have helped him while still lending money to Sickly Sid’s father.

Levin again: ‘Scrooge doesn't seem to get much satisfaction from the services he may inadvertently perform, and that seems to be part of Dickens's point. But who, apart from Dickens, says that Scrooge is not enjoying himself? He spends all his time at his business, likes to count his money, and has no outside interests.
At the same time, Scrooge is not given to brooding and shows absolutely no sign of depression or conflict. Whether he wished to or not, Dickens has made Scrooge by far the most intelligent character in his fable, and Dickens credits his creation with having nothing "fancy" about him. So we conclude that, in his undemonstrative way, Scrooge is productive and satisfied with his lot, which is to say happy.’

I don’t really get this. Is Levin saying that Scrooge is just as satisfied being a miser as he would be if he were charitable? 
Is Levin implying that real happiness can be had when no attempt is made to be kind? 
Of course Scrooge is intelligent; he’s an excellent man of business; but that has nothing to do with the fact that he’s a mean, stingy old man who doesn’t give two figs for anyone and is unwilling to part with any of his money to help anyone who cannot benefit him in return.


I guess to save face, Levin leaves us with this gem: ‘There can be no arguing with Dickens's wish to show the spiritual advantages of love. But there was no need to make the object of his lesson an entrepreneur whose ideas and practices benefit his employees, society at large, and himself. Must such a man expect no fairer a fate than to die scorned and alone? Bah, I say. Humbug.’

In the process, Michael Levin simply makes himself sound like the Old Scrooge; even going so far as to say ‘humbug’!
I would ask Levin: who better to show a change of heart than in someone who can do good, and won’t?
As Scrooge learns by the end of the book, mankind is, or should be, his business. 
He can continue to lend money and be a successful businessman; I don’t think anyone would try to deny him that. But he has now found something more: a purpose in his life beyond simply hoarding his money and sitting in his office all day.
And yes, someone like the Old Scrooge is going to die scorned and alone, no matter how well he ran his business, for the simple fact that he purposely endeared himself to no one. 
He may be rich, but riches won’t buy him anything beyond a nice casket and a nice tombstone.

For myself, I think that Levin’s article is a sad attempt at vindicating an obvious villain by making silly assumptions, pulling arguments out of thin air, and completely ignoring everything that makes A Christmas Carol a classic tale.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Editing



So I've started editing Where the Music Ends. I'm a bit leery about getting to the part written during NaNo, just because I don't want to get there and hate what I wrote. But so far I'm enjoying the story. I rewrote the 'prologue' (it's very short; I really hate prologues that are twenty pages long, you get interested in the story it's telling, and then you're thrown a hundred years forward into chapter one which is way less interesting), but I'm not sure I'll even keep it.
This story has very few characters. I didn't set out to make it that way, but the fact is I find it difficult to handle large numbers of named characters. There is Alice, my main character; Gilbert, who is also a main character, though none of it is told from his POV; the witch (actually, she doesn't have a name; suggestions welcome!); and four others who have names.
The book I'm thinking about working on next will have a lot more characters; I think my main difficulty with that is that introducing anyone besides the ones who are present from the beginning always feels awkward. I need to work on my introductions, apparently.


Oh, and I would like to recommend Google Drive. I have two computers that I use for writing, and so lately I've either written it on a word processor and then pasted it into the Drive or written it directly on the Drive doc. It's really nice to be able to go between computers without having to email things to myself; everything is saved automatically and if my computer crashes I won't lose anything.

Now I'll leave you with an excerpt and then get back to editing!

“How did you keep from turning back after you were wounded?” asked Alice. “I had to run.”

“I climbed a tree and held on as tightly as I could, and … sang as loudly as I could.” He looked embarrassed. “You can be glad you weren't within hearing distance.”

Alice laughed. “Joseph and I are terrible singers. Our mother sings like a lark.” She stopped, refusing to let her thoughts of Joseph go any further. “I suppose we can start back, slowly. You need to have your leg looked at.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Finis



Where the Music Ends is officially finished! I overcalculated the number of words I would need. I ended up with just over 20,000 words, when I thought it would be twice that. Ah well.
Yesterday I procrastinated quite a while before writing. Then I wrote about a thousand words, then later that night I sat down and wrote the last three thousand.
And then ... the story was over. Weirdly, I didn't feel ecstatic or even surprised. But this is the first time I've written a long book, beginning to end, in six years or so. The first time I've written The End on anything longer than a short story or several-chapter fanfic.
Now I have a lot of tidying up to do. I didn't put in much filler, so that's good, but it's far from perfect. I'll set it aside for a while before I begin editing, but I'm excited to be at this stage.
But now, I'm not sure what I'll do for the rest of November. Maybe I'll outline the next book I have in mind and begin writing it (it doesn't have anything to do with Where the Music Ends, in case you're wondering; different world, different characters).

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It's Coming!




NaNoWriMo 2015 is almost upon us. I intend to blog my way through it; we'll see how that goes :)
I've only won NaNo once, but I've participated several times
This year I'm not going for 50,000 words (I really wish NaNo had a customizable word-count goal); instead I'm going to try to finish Where the Music Ends, which I'm estimating is about 30k more words. I'm still having some trouble with the outline of the Second Act, so I'm trying to work through it by the time November 1st arrives.
If you want to add me as a friend, you can find me HERE. Go check out my novel page; I've finally refined my synopsis to a point where I'm happy with it. It's short and concise, and more polished than my previous attempts.
I'll see you on November the First!









Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I've Been Published!


Well, no, my writing hasn't been published. But I designed a sock knitting pattern which was accepted for publication by an online knitting magazine. The great thing about it is that, although all the patterns are free, each designer is paid a nice little sum by the magazine.
If any of you are knitters, go and check it out HERE!
It's really quite a simple pattern; it would be a great way to try knitting socks or knitting stranded colorwork for the first time. There are two versions of it: the one pictured here, and another one using only three colors instead of five. The color combinations are endless!
One thing I really enjoyed about designing the pattern was how everything seemed to work out perfectly. The little diamond motifs are a 6-stitch repeat, which works out perfectly for a 9 to 9 1/2 " foot circumference knitted at 8 stitches an inch. Everything just flowed out of that.
However, designing the other two sizes took a bit more work. I feel like I learned a lot just from working with the editor of Knitty; sometimes it got pretty frustrating, but I think I'm better prepared now to work with an editor if I ever try to get my writing published.
I am very happy with my pattern, and all the back-and-forth .docs and all the charting and recharting were worth it in the end.

Interlock Socks
designed by Laura Andrews

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Blog Tour - Implant by J. Grace Pennington

Hey, everyone! Today I have an interview with author J. Grace Pennington, who is coming out with her newest book, Implant, on August 15. Preorder here.
She has self-published several novels, including Never, a Western, and three books so far in the science fiction series Firmament. I'm very pleased to be able to introduce her to you!





Hello, Grace. Thank you so much for letting me interview you! Let's get this started.


Can you tell us about your latest book?

Sure! Implant is in essence a young adult time travel dystopia with steampunk elements.
Complicated, I know, so I usually just refer to it as a young adult dystopia.  It’s the story
of nineteen-year-old Gordon Harding, who gets pulled into a future world where
everyone on earth is controlled by means of a medical implant.  He is then asked to
destroy the Implant control center.  Adventure ensues.

Where did the idea for Implant come from?

It was a combination of two ideas, actually.  One was the idea for a relationship of mutual
respect between two men who hated everything about each other.  The other was just my
take on a pretty standard sci-fi trope of the one person who for whatever reason hasn’t
gone along with modern technology being the one person who can save the world when
the technology takes over.  In this case, the technology was a cure for cancer (and later
everything else).  And to find someone without it, they had to take someone out of the
past.

Who is your favorite character from Implant?

Doc.  No surprise to those who know me.  I tend to love both doctor characters, and
grumpy old guy characters.  Doc is both.  Hence I love him.

What was the hardest thing about writing it?

The plotting and planning the characters have to do.  My strong point is character,
relationship, emotion.  Coming up with elaborate plans to capture people, destroy things,
and infiltrate places?  Not so much.

Who was the most difficult character to develop and write?

Probably the Head.  The Head is the controller of the Implants, and therefore the world,
and as usual, it was a struggle to keep the villain from being all pure evil and I-want-to-
take-over-the-world.  It took several drafts to come up with a more justifiable motivation.

Is anything in Implant based off of personal experience?

Not directly, but I put a lot of myself into Gordon, so a lot of his thought processes and
reactions are based off of how I would probably react in that situation.  He’s a bit more
impetuous than I am, but we share a lack of confidence somehow fused with
stubbornness and our own form of arrogance, and a huge amount of fear while still being
braver than we sometimes realize.

What books or movies inspired you while planning/writing?

Mostly books and movies I hadn’t seen or read!  My dad had told me about an episode of
some TV show where no one reads anymore, they just have information beamed to their
brains, but one guy’s brain can’t do it, so he still reads--and then when the computer that
beams the information takes over, that guy is the only one who can fix things.  The same
for movies like Logan’s Run and I, Robot.  It’s the skeptics of new technology who often
have the upper hand in these stories.  To a lesser degree, when revising, I was inspired by
the Divergent series in some ways, mostly stylistically.

What is your favorite line from Implant?

“And I still think you’re an emotional baby.”
(You have to see it in context to understand.)

Is Implant a stand-alone, or the first in a series?

It’s standalone.  I have some vague ideas for a trilogy, but it would be fairly complex, and
I’m not sure I could pull it off.  But we’ll see.  Maybe.

If it was ever made into a movie, who would you choose to play the main character?

Probably Nat Wolff.  I could totally see him as Gordon.

Tell us a bit about your life as a novelist. When did you first start writing seriously?

That depends on what you mean by seriously.  I’ve been writing nonstop since I was five
years old, but I didn’t actually finish a novel until I was eighteen or nineteen.  And I
didn’t publish anything until I was twenty-two.  So depending on which you mean,
twenty years, seven years, or three years.

What was the first complete novel you wrote?

It was called Handprints in History, but it’s really better forgotten.  Like most first novels
it was--just bad.  Unrealistic, overdramatic, choppy, too minimalist, confusing.  But it
was 80,000 words, and it was the first time I stuck with a novel to the end, so it has a
special place in my heart.

I really loved Never, your Western novel. Do you plan to write any more westerns?

I don’t plan on it exactly, but I’m open to it.  I loved the world of Never, and I’d be
thrilled to write more like it.  But I haven’t had any other western ideas yet.  So I don’t
know.

What music helps you get in the mood for writing?

It depends on what I’m writing.  I usually listen to soundtracks in the genre of what I’m
writing, which for sci-fi is a lot of Jerry Goldsmith stuff, but if I’m sleepy I’ll switch to
rock or electronica to keep me alert.

If you could go anywhere for a week's vacation, and spend it writing to your heart's 
content, where would you go?

A little beach house all alone, so I could step out to the beach and stretch when I needed a
break, and then come back in and write in complete peace and quiet.  Ah, heaven!

Thank you for having me, Laura!

I really enjoyed having you. Thanks for being on the blog today!



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.
You can follow her on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.