Calico in Conversation: Monsters Are People with J.L. Gribble

Steel Victory Launch 1Welcome to Part Two of Calico In Conversation with J.L. Gribble. If you missed Part One: Boosting Confidence, feel free to click here to catch up!

Editor’s Note: this interview was originally conducted in March through June of 2016.

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Let’s move on to influences: as writers, we all have them. What do you think influences your writing the most?

There’s never a simple answer to that question! I draw my inspiration from the other media I consume (books, television, movies, graphic novels, role-playing games, etc.), courses I’ve taken in school, and the people I meet around me. But that’s a pretty cliche answer in and of itself, so instead I’ll talk more about the challenges I’ve set for myself in my writing.

My favorite take on the concept of immortality is that presented in the television show Highlander: The Series, where even people who live forever are still people. I wanted to write about paranormal monsters who are also still people first. In addition, my debut novel, the thesis I wrote for graduate school, started out as a reaction to the Twilight craze. I wanted to write about a vampire who can be a romantic creature, but whose story wasn’t necessarily a romance. Thus, the character of Victory, a vampire in a mature, adult relationship, was born. But characters don’t exist in a vacuum, so I gave her a family, friends, and a career. The conflict of the novel was born from taking all of those things away, one by one.

The rest of the Steel Empires series continues along the vein, with other challenges that I decided to set for myself. Steel Magic could be considered a coming of age story for Victory’s daughter, inspired by a class I took in college on the female coming-of-age novel. Book 3, Steel Blood, was deliberately structured around the scenes set by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. And book 4 is going to be a time travel book…because I freaking love time travel stories.

Interesting…. It’s funny, because you’re reminding me of a Tor.com post written by Alex Bledsoe regarding his Eddie LaCrosse series, wherein each book of the series was written in response to a particular THING the author was inspired by or wanted to explore. I can’t begin to explain HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS APPROACH. While I haven’t read Bledsoe’s series (and I’ve only read your first book), I imagine it gives each book a unique approach, despite the characters and the world tying it together into one series. Thoughts?

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A Few of My Favorite Things: Books 2015

I think there’s always a part of me that will miss having a book blog. After putting together December’s Culture Consumption, I started wondering… what WERE my favorite books of 2015? To figure that out, I pulled up my Library Thing account and started sorting by date finished, and then I started looking at the ratings. Anything four stars or higher got written down on the appropriate list: a full five stars are listed as favorites, and four and four-and-a-half stars were honorable mentions.

Why Library Thing instead of Goodreads? Because LT allows for half stars, which means when I’m rating on Goodreads, I might round up or down depending on how I want the rating to look on that site. LT is a more accurate reflection of my thoughts.

I also did not include a few of the fun, children’s type books on the list. I’m a sucker for Jeffrey Brown’s Darth Vader series, and Simon Tofield’s Simon’s Cat books are adorable. So they didn’t get counted.

Before I review my favorites and honorable mentions, I did want to make a few points:

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Building Your Own Ballot: No Slates Required!

I don’t want to talk about 2015 Hugos. The ballot has been revealed, I’ve bought my supporting membership, and how I vote is going to be between me, myself, and I.

No, instead, I want to address any and all current and future WorldCon members (any and all) and offer a non-slate suggestion for next year. And yes, I recognize there’s already an SP4 movement, and I won’t be surprised if there are counter-slates, but I’d like to counter anything and everything involving slates with a different idea, so if you’re planning on nominating for WorldCon in 2016 (MidAmeriCon II), this post is for you.

Seriously. It’s for YOU.

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Culture Consumption: March 2015

It’s that time again! A very accomplished March, if I do say so myself. 🙂

Books

6) Empire of Dust by Jacey Bedford
7) Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire
8) Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
9) Prudence by Gail Carriger
10) Burn For Me by Ilona Andrews

Short Fiction

1) No Sooner Met by Seanan McGuire
2) Broken Paper Hearts by Seanan McGuire
3) Sun, Stone, Spear by Carrie Vaughn

Comics

Graphic Novels: none

As for individual issues, I read 37 comics, and it would have been fewer had I not started Vertigo’s iZombie series.

Batgirl #40
Batgirl Endgame #1
Black Widow #16
Coffin Hill #16
Descender #1
iZombie #1
iZombie #2
iZombie #3
iZombie #4
iZombie #5
iZombie #6
iZombie #7
iZombie #8
iZombie #9
iZombie #10
iZombie #11
iZombie #12
iZombie #13
iZombie #14
Jem and The Holograms #1
Lazarus #15
Millennium #2
Ms. Marvel #13
Orphan Black #1
S.H.I.E.L.D. #3
Saga #26
Secret Origins #10
Shadow Show #4
Star Wars #3
Star Wars: Darth Vader #2
Star Wars: Darth Vader #3
Star Wars: Princess Leia #1
Star Wars: Princess Leia #2
Supreme Blue Rose #7
The Walking Dead #138
The Walking Dead #139
Wytches #5

Movies

* = repeat viewing

King Arthur *
The Fault in Our Stars
The Running Man
Video Games: The Movie
Young & Beautiful

Television Shows

A note with television: these are the shows I completed in the month of March, not a list of everything on-going that I’m still watching.

Archer Season 5
The Walking Dead Season 5


That’s it from me! Also, feel free to share whatever 2015 stats you’ve got! How many books? How many movies? What were your favorites? Lay them on me!

Cheers!

Culture Consumption: October 2014

September’s list might have been late, but I’m making sure October is RIGHT ON TIME.

Books

34) Perdition by Ann Aguirre
35) Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris
36) Motherless Child by Glen Hirshberg
37) Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
38) Unexpected Stories by Octavia E. Butler
39) Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi

Short Fiction

39) Hunting Monsters by S.L. Huang
40) In Her Head, In Her Eyes by Yukimi Ogawa
41) Midway Relics and Dying Breeds by Seanan McGuire
42) The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t, The Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar by Gail Carriger

Comics

Individual Issues:

American Vampire: Second Cycle #5
Batgirl #35
Black Widow #11
Caliban #7
Coffin Hill #11
Copperhead #2
Lazarus #11
Ms. Marvel #9
Sleepy Hollow #1
The Massive #27
Thor #1
Unwritten: Apocalypse #9
The Walking Dead #132
The Walking Dead #133

Movies

Gone Girl
Occulus


That’s it from me! Also, feel free to share whatever 2014 stats you’ve got! How many books? How many movies? What were your favorites? Lay them on me!

Cheers!

Culture Consumption: March 2014

It’s a new year, and a new set of lists! I’m going to continue my monthly culture consumption, and I’m adding a bit of commentary to a few of the categories. Not much, nothing like my old reviews, but they’re better than nothing! If you want me to talk further, or if I don’t talk about something you’re really interested in, just comment and let me know.

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