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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Calico in Conversation: My Readers Brought Me Back with Maria V. Snyder

Sunday LNP Photo 2Welcome to third and final installment of Calico In Conversation with Maria V. Snyder. If you missed Parts One and Two, click below to catch up:

Part One: Eye Candy
Part Two: Getting Goosebumps

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

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You started out with the Study trilogy, then the spin-off Glass trilogy, an SF YA duology, then the Healer trilogy, and now you’re back to the Study universe. What brought you back to this world and these characters?

My readers brought me back. They kept asking for more books about Yelena and Valek and I really wanted to write more for them, but I didn’t have an idea that seemed…big enough for another book. Yelena was too powerful and Valek just too skilled a fighter. I thought of writing a prequel about Valek’s life before meeting the Commander up until he meets Yelena, but I think the relationship between the two of them is what really makes the stories. Then I thought of having some hot shot new assassin try for Valek’s job and his interactions with her would be a nice segue for flashbacks into his past…and that was enough to write a new Study book. The plan was to write one, but once I finished Shadow Study, I knew I could write two more. Now, I’m trying to finish Dawn Study before I leave for Australia. [Maria’s Note: which didn’t happen, I’m just wrapping it up and it’s the end of May!]

It’s nice when the ideas come to you! Once this trilogy is done, what’s next? Can you talk about it?

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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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Culture Consumption: September 2015

Happy October! The year may be flying by, but really, October is my favorite month. Fall arrives, Halloween, and my birthday, all in one month! But before I get too carried away with October, let’s look back and see what kind of goodies I consumed in September, which, for the record, wasn’t a bad month at all! So without further adieu, here is the Culture Consumption for September (spoiler alert: I read lots of books!).

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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!