J. Grace Pennington and the Purpose for the Firmament Series10:35 AM
I have a dream...
Or rather, I had a dream.
The Firmament series began about six years ago, not with the first words penned, but with Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. It was my fifth exposure to Star Trek, and I was already a big enough fan to be having dreams based on the series. In this particular film, Doctor “Bones” McCoy (my favorite character) begins acting strange—almost crazy—because he's [spoilers] carrying Spock's soul around in his head (don't ask). That night, I had a dream—a dream about a doctor going crazy on a starship in the future.
And his daughter was worried.
What if...? Is the question that begins every piece of fictional storytelling. For me, the question was, “What if the starship doctor had a daughter, about my age? What if the story was about a young woman with little authority, rather than the captain or the first officer or the engineer? What if, rather than focusing on carnality and humanistic ideals, there was a StarTrekesque series that trumpeted family values and a biblical worldview?”
My imagination began spinning. I went to the computer and wrote the sentence, “He always said that I had the measles when he found me on his doorstep back in 2299, and he also said that I was less than a year old.” And the tale kept spinning. Mutiny reared its ugly head, family secrets came to play, and a plot rather too complex was woven. I later had to make significant rewrites to make the story more logical—but the core idea of a father and daughter navigating the unique challenges of the twenty-fourth century remained.
Planning out the entire series (originally twenty-four books, and now eighteen) helped me to stick to that premise as I wrote, and hopefully that will continue. While I try to give the tales a distinctly deep, complex, philosophical bent (much like Star Trek), I also try never to lose sight of the two central values of the series—family, and faith.
Family is a thread that runs through every book. In the first story, it's Andi and her adoptive father against the world, and she likes it that way. But slowly, as the years go by, she connects with more and more of her family, both biological and adoptive, and the ramifications aren't always to her liking. She doesn't care for change. But she does care for those close to her. And as time goes by, her heart opens to more and more relatives, whether they are connected by blood or not.
Her faith, too, plays a central role. Andi is far from perfect. She can have an attitude problem. She's a people pleaser, and gets confused. She's often stubborn. She makes many wrong choices. But at the end of the day, she puts her faith in her creator, albeit imperfectly, to get her through the trials of the life that she's been dealt. And she wouldn't have it any other way.
So the purpose behind the Firmament series? I want to take ideas and stretch them further than gravity will take them here on Earth, and throw them to the stars to play out their course. Whether it's loving one's family or solving complex ethical dilemmas, I want readers to see Andi constantly reaching beyond the universe for answers.
There's a God who loves her, no matter what happens.
I want my readers to understand the same.
J. Grace Pennington has published four science fiction novels. They each
have a unique bent to them, but this one is very different. Each book
is a standalone, but as with any series, you get more of the story if
you read them all in order. In Reversal Zone, the main character, Andi Lloyd, becomes the only one who can save the ship and crew. Can she do it in time?
About the Book
Nothing is as it should be.
After weeks of boredom, Andi is excited when the Surveyor is called upon
to rescue a freighter that mysteriously vanished in uncharted space. Excitement quickly turns to unease when the
ship encounters an unknown phenomenon—a cloud that appears not to exist. But with the freighter's crew in danger, the Surveyor
has no choice but to venture into unknown territory.
As soon as they enter the cloud, its unstable effects wreak havoc on the
ship. They're flying blind. Every piece of equipment is
malfunctioning. And every member of the
crew is unable to think straight or act like themselves—except Andi.
Now she's expected to guide them through the predicament with no previous
command experience and no one to turn to for support. And with each passing hour, it becomes clear
that if they don't escape the cloud soon—they won't escape it at all.
About the Author
J. Grace Pennington has been telling stories since she could
talk, and writing them down since age five.
Now she lives in the great state of Texas, where she writes as much asadult life permits. When she’s not
writing, she enjoys reading good books, playing movie soundtracks on the piano,
and looking up at the stars.
You can find out more about her writing at www.jgracepennington.com.
Grace is generously offering three prizes. A signed copy of
each of her three previous novels in the series. They are each standalone
stories, but they are also connected. If you would like to read more about
them, you can read about them here: Radialloy, In His Image, Machiavellian.
To enter the giveaway, please fill out this form.
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