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
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
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.