The next author in our lineup of homeschooled authors is J. Grace Pennington, author of Never which I reviewed last Friday. Please join me today in welcoming her for an interview.
How did you chose the story line for Never? What was your inspiration?
It started out as many of my novel ideas do–with a smattering of various disconnected elements that I wanted to get into one story together. I had the idea of the “never” theme, the idea of the mystery, the mines, the western setting, and some other things, and I pulled them together into a single plot with a lot of planning and a little inspiration from some favorite books and movies.
How much research did you do for this story?
Not very much! The element I researched most was probably the mines. I looked up everything I could find in our encyclopedias about coal mining, and talked to some people I knew who had visited or toured old coal mines. Other than that I just researched small elements as they came into the story. Firearms, sleepwear, tobacco usage, etc. Just enough to keep the story fairly period-accurate.
What message would you like readers to take away from this book?
Basically to never give up. Life is often hard, even if most of us don’t have to get worked half to death in a torturous coal mine. Things are tough, bad things happen, and sometimes we feel an awful lot like just letting go of what’s right. But we have a Source of strength that will never fail us, and so we can choose to hold to our principles no matter what the cost. That’s what I wanted to show. Hope in the midst of darkness.
Tell us about your experience with self-publishing. Why did you chose to self-publish?
Self-publishing is definitely a lot of work! I choose it because it offers a lot more control. Everything stays in the hands of the author, which is ideal in many ways, it just requires lots and lots of work. With this, my second book, I had someone to help me with part of the process, a designer who formatted it, designed the cover, and helped me proofread. That made it significantly less hard, even though it was still fairly stressful. I definitely recommend getting help if you can, even if it costs you something, but keeping the control in your own hands seems wise to me, if at all possible.
Are you working on any new books?
Yes! Right now I’m working on the next few books in my young adult science-fiction series “Firmament.” The second book will hopefully be out later this year, and the third book is about halfway finished, while the fourth is just past the outlining stage. I also have another book, “Implant,” which I hope to publish later in the year.
Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?
They say to write what you know. Some people interpret this to mean you can only write about the lifestyle that you live, and experiences similar to those you’ve actually been through, but I don’t think that’s the case. While I’ve never lived in the Old West, never solved a murder mystery, and never once been coal mining, I think I did write what I know in this story. I may not have experienced mining, but I’ve experienced darkness. I may not know mystery-solving, but I do know fear. I may not have had to survive through torture and starvation, but I have had to cling to hope when I felt weak and hopeless inside. I think these are things we can all relate to, on some level. And I hope that readers are able to take something away from it that can help them on their journeys.
Thank you for having me on your blog, Leah!
Thank you for joining us, Grace! If anyone has questions for Grace about Never, writing, self-publishing, her other books, etc. feel free to leave them in the comments section!
6 Replies to “Author Interview: J. Grace Pennington”
A lovely interview, Leah, and great answers, Grace!
‘Never’ sounds like a fascinating story, and so does your science-fiction book =D.
God bless 🙂
Thank you, Joy! 😀
I must say, Grace, I perked up at the mention of coal mines–both here and in the real book. Hannah Mills and I have a collaborative idea involving coal mines. I’ve been interest in coal mines ever since reading Breaker Boys. So, anyway, I enjoyed that aspect of your story.
Oh, that’s cool! I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
Very interesting interview. Now I want to read the book even more 😀
Oh, awesome! 😀 Glad you enjoyed the interview.