Last week, Girl Meets Monster talked to Jessica Barlow about LGBT superheroes, and this week I welcome speculative fiction author J. L. Gribble to talk about cats and time machines.
By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. Her current work focuses on the urban fantasy/alternate history Steel Empires series, in which her debut novel, STEEL VICTORY, was her thesis novel for Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction graduate program in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Previously, she was one of the co-editors for FAR WORLDS, a speculative fiction anthology. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (www.jlgribble.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jlgribblewriter), and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits). When not blogging for SpeculativeChic.com, she is currently working on more tales set in the world of Limani.
Girl Meets Monster: What inspires your work, and more specifically, what was the inspiration for your fragment?
JLG: For the past five years, and for at least two more into the foreseeable future, my writing life has revolved around my urban fantasy/alternate history series. Even while doing short writing exercises or attending writing workshops, all drabbles tend to involve that series, whether it’s the characters, the world, plot ideas, etc.
But sometimes that is literally impossible. Such as when your publisher hosts a writing retreat and horror author and writing professor Michael Arnzen is put in charge of the writing exercises…
Girl Meets Monster: That’s one hell of a start, why did you abandon this writing project?
JLG: It’s ridiculous. It’s overwrought. It has too much description and not enough plot. But it’s also a time machine/cat, so I’m not inclined to quibble.
Girl Meets Monster: Time machines seem like a natural theme/plot device for speculative fiction, but why cats? Why a cat that is a time machine?
JLG: Easy. During the time of this writing exercise, I was working on a time travel plot in the current Steel Empires novel. Pretty much EVERYTHING was a time machine at that point. Also, I was out of town and missed my cats.
Fiction Fragment, by J. L. Gribble
She fled up the gangway, snatching frantically at the handrails as it snapped and whipped in the frenzied storm. It screamed closed behind her, tumbling her to the deck. As the ship rumbled around her, she spit hair out of her mouth and crawled into the elevator. The small space curled around her, claustrophobic and comforting as it carried her into the bowels of the ship. Once she crashed into the engine room, the rumble smoothed as the diesel engines roared to life, marching the caking scent of ammonia to the back of her throat and causing her to retch and gag. Dueling alarms howled to life around her, shrieking through the ship on every wavelength. Horrible whiskers stretched from the engine room walls and then the protective barrier collapsed as the ship inverted in time and carried her into uncertainty.
For significantly fewer cats, but nearly as much ridiculousness, check out J.L. Gribble’s Steel Empires series, beginning with Steel Victory.
Next week, Lana Ayers will join Girl Meets Monster to talk about her new novel, Time Flash: Another Me, and share a fiction fragment. See you next week!