Readers, I've been looking forward to featuring this author/book since September. I don't read a lot of sci-fi, but Kerry Nietz's books have blessed me so much.
Welcome back, Kerry. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
The “works versus grace” theme comes up a lot in my books. The Dark Trench trilogy took place in a world under sharia (Islamic) law, so the story there was really the discovery of grace in a world that has none.
And now in Amish Vampires in Space, I find myself playing in that area again, though from a different angle. Both cultures are shaped by rules and expectations—stringent dress codes and rituals.
Now, obviously, not all rules are bad. Every parent knows that there are valid reasons for following some rules. But there can be a lot of bondage there too. “Freedom” is an important theme in my books, as well.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
No books coming out soon, but it has been a busy year for me. I had one short novel, Mask, come out in February, and then the longer Amish Vampires in Space released in October.
I also assisted in the development of a curriculum guide for my first novel, A Star Curiously Singing, which became available in April.
In addition, I redesigned and rereleased my memoire FoxTales this summer.
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
Lena, I think I’d
like to meet you in person. J This marks my fourth visit to your site in five
years, but we’ve only ever talked digitally. You’ve been really supportive and
encouraging. It would be nice to meet at a conference or something. Maybe
before the next time I’m promoting a book?
I’d love that, Kerry. You know how much I loved The Dark Trench trilogy. What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
Probably George Washington. I think much of what he was and did is lost to modern
As are the lives and sacrifices of all the founding fathers. It would be great
to just sit with Washington
and hear the stories that were significant to him. How his faith directed and
I just read my oldest son a story about how a contemporary of
Washington was riding by Valley Forge and
happened to hear and then—upon further investigation—see Washington praying alone in the woods. The
sight not only astonished the observer, but it also assured him that America would
prevail over the British. Now, that’s a sizeable leap to make, because at that
point in the war, Washington’s
army was starving.
I would guess that’s a story that isn’t typically taught in school, and I’m sure
would have many of his own faith stories to add.
I know. It grieves my heart to see how much the revisionist historians who started, in the 1940s, changing the way history is taught in our schools. I actually was privileged to head a team of writers who had access to actual historical documents and books from all the way at the beginning of our country and later. We wrote a two-year history curriculum for junior high students that are used by many homeschoolers and private schools.
How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
The big thing for me is perseverance. It applies to all aspects of a writer’s life. You need to persevere in writing the book. You need to endure through the editing phase, even if it means getting outside help.
Then, when the thing is solid, you need to suffer through finding a publisher. Submit, attend conferences, meet other writers. Learn more, revise more, and research more. Network, make connections, build friendships—and don’t fear rejection! Persist. Be determined. Hold on.
I’m speaking from experience here. It took four years from the time I decided to be a writer, until the time I finally held a book with my name on the cover. (FoxTales) Following that, it took another six years to get my first novel in print.
Persevere. I mean it.
I know what you mean. It took me eight years to get my first novel published, and the second took ten more years, but since then … Now, Kerry, tell us about the featured book.
I would love to, as I’m sure many of your readers are now thinking: Amish Vampires in Space? What could that possibly be about? I mean, such a cryptic title… J
The story’s genesis goes back a couple years. Amish novels were all the rage, and my publisher, Jeff Gerke, sent out a mock cover to the Marcher Lord Press authors. An obvious spoof. It featured a bonneted female vampire with some Amish paraphernalia behind her. Also behind her was a large window with a view of an orange planet. Enough to make it clear that the setting was in space. The title of this novel was Vein Pursuit and it was part of the Amish Vampires in Space series. Jeff said it was the ultimate speculative novel. A genre crossover that was a sure hit. It was a joke he often shared at writing conferences he attended, as well.
A year or so passed, and at one point I told him that someone should write that Amish Vampire in Space book. I didn’t think it was me, because I tend toward hard science fiction, and the title screams: camp! Plus, I had a trilogy of my own to finish.
Then last year I got this idea about how it all might work and not be campy. A theme emerged along with a couple key characters, so I started writing. Before I knew it, I was 30,000 words in. I emailed Jeff to tell him what I was doing. When he stopped laughing, he encouraged me to continue. I finished last June and sent it to him. He liked what he read, so here we are.
The book is solidly in the sci-fi genre, with a good dose of suspense, some realistic Amish (and futurist non-Amish) culture, a little humor, and a dash of romance. Think Witness meets Pandorum. Or maybe Dracula meets
Lewis’s The Shunning? Something like
When I shared a meal at a table where Jeff was also eating at
in September, and he told us what was happening, I knew I had to feature it on
my blog. I know your writing, and I knew you would do a good job with the story
and point the story toward the Truth. Please give us the first page of the
Jebediah had a secret.
It was a weight, really. Something the songs of church service couldn’t lighten. Even daily prayers and scripture reading were no help. It was always present. Always hidden.
“It is Gelassenheit,” his father had said. “Surrendering yourself for others.”
So Jeb bore the weight. It was God’s will. Like Abraham tying Isaac to the altar. We hold the knife with the faith that God will stop us from using it.
With a groan, Jebediah pushed his way out of bed. Beside him, Sarah sighed and rolled his direction. Even with the passage of decades, she still appeared as beautiful to him as when they married. A day twenty years ago now. Her in a simple white dress and kapp. He in his best black suit. Family and friends, similarly attired. A simpler time. A happier time. An early spring.
Before the secret had passed to him.
“Is it morning so soon?” she whispered.
Jeb smiled. “Ya, it is.”
She made to get out of bed, but Jeb frowned and held out a hand. “Stay in,” he said. “At forty, you’ve earned a few more minutes.”
She put the back of her hand over her mouth and yawned. “So much to do today. The Troyers need breakfast. And Eli will need help with that baby. And the garden.”
Jeb glanced out the bedroom window. The sun had not yet begun to rise. And neither moon. Only a few distant stars and the mass of what was commonly called the Morning Nebbit.
Still very dark. That was a comfort, at least.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Kerry, for sharing this new book with us. I'm anxious for my copy to arrive, so I can read it.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Amish Vampires in Space - paperback
Amish Vampires in Space - Kindle
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