Saturday, June 20, 2015

INTERVIEW WITH KERRY NIETZ





Kerry Nietz is a refugee of the software industry. He spent more than a decade of his life flipping bits—first as one of the principal developers of the database product FoxPro for the now mythical Fox Software, and then as one of Bill Gates’s minions at Microsoft. He is a husband, a father, a technophile, and a movie buff. Amish Zombies from Space is his sixth novel.
 




INTERVIEW

Kerry, welcome to the Suspense Sisters! Tell us a little something about yourself we won’t learn from your bio.

The bio sums me up fairly well. One thing it doesn’t mention is that I’m a regular at the gym, and have been for many years now. It is a nice way to start the day—especially if you’re going to spend most of the rest of the day writing.

I also had a book make an appearance on The Tonight Show last year. That was pretty cool.

Your books have been described as Christian speculative fiction. Do you agree with this assessment? Can you explain what kind of books fit this genre? Any advice for unpublished authors interested in speculative fiction? 

That isn’t a bad description of the sort of books I write, though I never write thinking about the genre. I start with a story idea and a general theme. Plus, maybe the beginnings of a scene or two. The rest falls into place as it will.

I would define “Christian speculative fiction” as books that have science fiction, fantasy or supernatural elements (e.g. time travel, dragons, ghosts, spaceships, and even zombies) that are written from a Christian worldview. The worldview may be either explicit or implied. C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books are on the more explicit end of the spectrum, while Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is on the implied end.

The chief advice I’d give an unpublished author is not to give up his day job. Christian speculative fiction is a niche within a niche, and it may be awhile before he can make good money from it—if ever.

That said, the niche has tremendous crossover potential because mainstream readers love the speculative elements, and typically are okay with the faith elements, if they’re handled correctly. Don’t preach!

Your previous book, Amish Vampires in Space, wasn’t met with enthusiasm by everyone. Some readers of “bonnet books” were offended by the idea.  (We heard about it on the Suspense Sisters the first time we interviewed you!) Now you’ve released your new book, Amish Zombies from Space. What do you say to those who feel you’re attacking the Amish and their culture?

I was surprised by the negative response. (Though perhaps I shouldn’t have been. Call me naive.) To me, Amish Vampires in Space was an interesting mental exercise. Could I bring these three disparate ideas together and produce a coherent and believable story? That’s the way the speculative mind works, you see.

Unfortunately, some saw the cover and the title and assumed the worst—that I was attacking the Amish. Having authentic Amish characters was always part of my plan, though. It helps drive the plot and makes it seem plausible.

Those that have read the book generally agree that it is respectful treatment.

In your opinion, what kind of readers will enjoy Amish Zombies from Space?

Fans of the first book, of course. But beyond those readers, anyone who is open to stories with speculative elements. Though the word “Zombies” in the title suggests “Horror!” the book is primarily a science fiction book, as was Amish Vampires. There are horror elements, but the plot is more suspenseful than frightening.

It is also very light on gore, and there is no language or nudity. Okay, the animals are nude, but they’re pixelated as to not offend.

Let’s look ahead ten years. What do you see yourself doing? What kind of books do you hope you’ll be writing?

In ten years I’m hoping to have a bit more time to write. At present, I have three children under eleven who require a fair share of daddy’s time. (Though they require more of my wife.) I’m happy to share life with them now, of course—they keep me laughing. But in ten years they’ll probably be getting tired of me.

My speculative bent is ingrained, though. Always has been. Some of my favorite memories from childhood are of coming home from school to watch whatever speculative movie or show happened to be on. One of our local channels would often have whole weeks devoted to series like Planet of the Apes, or Godzilla. Plus, there was always Lost in Space and Batman to watch.

Consequently, I have a hard time seeing myself write anything else. I love to speculate.
Any last words for our readers?

Thanks for having me back again. I have seven books with my name on them now. Lots of speculative fun. I encourage your readers to check them all out. My website is www.nietz.com.


First, vampires in space. And now...zombies. Really?

Jebediah and the others are trying to get over the horrors they faced in deep space, and now this.

It's been five years, and the Amish colony on Miller's Resolve has finally gotten settled. Jeb and Sarah have a son. Elder Samuel is happy not being in charge. Darly has a private practice. And Greels is out of jail at last.

But when a mysterious ship from space arrives on Resolve, it unleashes a horde of undead that might spell the end of the survivors and their dreams of peace.

Will the specters of the past save them, or seal their fate?

Would you like to win a copy of Kerry's book? You can choose between AMISH VAMPIRES IN SPACE or AMISH ZOMBIES FROM SPACE! Just leave a comment, along with your contact information. (U.S. only please!)

 


14 comments:

  1. nice interview

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  2. That is certainly a unique idea, Kerry. Thanks for sharing about your writing! :)

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  3. I had the privilege of interviewing Kerry when Vampires came out, and had the equal privilege of reading it. It definitely was one of the best novels I read in 2014 (a list that included a couple of Nancy Mehl stories as well). I managed to get the Indy library to purchase a copy of AVIS (an abbreviation of the title, not the name of a rental car service) -- I wish I could have gotten them to purchase Mask, a novel by Kerry I'd love to read.

    There was one negative review of AVIS from an Amish because Kerry didn't defend the view of passive resistance. The reality is, I think Nietz' aim was to show that there's a place for non-aggressive behavior... and a place where it isn't the correct response. The theme more is the role of protecting community, and that community may extend further than you may think.

    Another novel that Nietz helped author that's on my reading list (and if it was in print version, I'd definitely be pestering the library for it) is "Who Is Dumb Enough To Try It?", which he collaborated with six other speculative authors.

    But after Zombies, I'm waiting for Nietz to tackle really scary subjects like Amish Gangsta Rappers In Space or Amish Professional Wrestlers In Space.

    Please enter me: mendingnets at yahoo dot com

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  4. Thanks for checking out my interview and commenting, Everyone.

    (And Jeff, thanks for the suggestions. ;) I like a good challenge. )

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  5. What a clever group of characters and circumstances. Thank you for sharing about yourself. lill dot kohler at gmail dot com

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  6. I love reading new books and find that the two about Amish intrigue me. It would be an honor to read any of your books. Thanks for the chance .
    Jhdwayne(at)peoplepc(dot)com

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  7. Wow! I really enjoy speculative fiction and am happy to learn about a new author in this genre. :) This sounds like an interesting book/series and I'd love to read them. There is definitely nothing else like it on the market which is a great thing.

    thejorns at gmail dot com

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  8. Thanks, Lill, Deana, and Jessica for stopping by! I should add here that I will gladly substitute the first book--Amish Vampires in Space--as the giveaway prize. (The second will certainly make more sense after you've read the first.)

    And Jessica: I agree. I think that's one of the things I've delighted in with all my books--they aren't just another fantasy novel, or another romance, or another space opera, or another dystopian novel. (Though there are amazing novels in all those genres, obviously.) They all have their own unique flavor. Like children or snowflakes. :)

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  9. Kerry - Someone asked me if this book was okay for someone under 18. What say you?

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  10. I generally say "13 years old and up" for my books, Nancy. None of them have adult language or adult situations. Their might be some flirting and an occasional kiss, but that's it on the mushy stuff. :) Even the violence is minimal. Suspense, action, intrigue and mysteries galore, though. I write the sort of science fiction I grew up watching and reading. (In fact, if you check the reviews on Amazon, you'll see a recent reviewer who read through them all and not only said they were clean, but recommended them.)

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  11. Having read AViS, I'm really looking forward to reading this one. Kerry does a wonderful job with his characters AND with the suspense in his novel.

    r2streu@gmail.com

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  12. I have been looking for a good horror novel for a while...

    Joshua.hardt@gmail.com

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  13. Great interview. I really need to read these books.

    kharderschauer@yahoo.com

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  14. Thanks for stopping in, Randy, Josh and Katie! Got you entered!

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