Read it. Enjoyed it. Have the t-shirt. 🙂
In 2013, I had the chance to read my first Kerry Nietz book – Amish Vampires in Space. I wasn’t sure what to expect because, let’s face it, it’s a title that can’t be taken seriously. I was pleasantly surprised because not only was the book strangely plausible, but it was really, really good. (Read my review).
Fast forward to today, and Kerry Nietz is one of my favorite authors, and his new book, Amish Zombies from Space, has released! I couldn’t be more thrilled to host him on The Scriblerians again (first interview is here) and ask him some questions.
Everyone, say hello to Kerry!
Q: Last time I interviewed you, I asked “I understand that AViS is the first of a series. What can you tell us about the other books and when can we expect to see them on the shelves?” To which you answered. “LOL. Now that’s news to me. Who have you been talking to?” It’s not even 2 years later, and Amish Zombies from Space is here! What led to the sequel?
LOL. That earlier interview probably had something to do with it, Lisa.
Around that time I talked with Jeff Gerke (my then-publisher) about the possibility of Amish Vampires in Space having a sequel. Given the interest in AViS, he was confident that Marcher Lord Press could publish a series of Amish-themed science fiction books. I just needed to write them.
The subsequent sale of Marcher Lord Press complicated matters a bit, though.
Q: And really, why zombies?
Jeff was convinced that the next monsters I had to explore were zombies, simply from a pop culture standpoint. Zombies were ubiquitous—both in print and film. In fact, one of the Hollywood people that contacted us had connections to the Walking Dead. So it seemed an obvious way to go.
Q: Unlike most people, I’m not a zombie fan. I don’t watch the Walking Dead or any of the zombie apocalypse movies, but I did enjoy your book. How long did it take you to come up with a plausible scientific explanation for the zombies?
Not long. A day or two, maybe. I’ve been really blessed in that the science seems to present itself right when I need it. Much of what happens in Amish Zombies, though, is an outgrowth of the first book. The characters and situations of AViS fueled the characters and situations of AZfS. Same goes for the science.
Q: Amish Vampires in Space received a lot of notoriety–from worst book cover lists to the Tonight Show. What has been the craziest thing to come out of this series so far?
Last year was a fun ride. There were so many unexpected twists and turns. I never knew what I was going to wake up to.
For instance, much of the week before the Tonight Show mention I spent trying to get the print version of AViS back on sale. I had some typos I wanted fixed and the time seemed right to do that.
Unfortunately, CreateSpace takes your book out-of-print while you make corrections. The AViS print galley has a few stylistic things that makes the CreateSpace reviewers nervous, things they flag even though the book would print fine. Consequently, it was a stressful process. I finally got the book back on sale on a Tuesday morning. That night it was mentioned on the Tonight Show. Good timing, huh?
But there were lots of fun things that happened last year. I got to chat, via Twitter, with folks all around the world, in at least seven different languages. (Thank you, Google translate!)
I also exchanged tweets with a gentlemen only to learn he was in the cast of the Ghost Hunters show. I talked to a handful of people from the film industry, in fact.
(In case you wondered, Amish Vampires in Space was considered too far out for the SyFy channel. Ah well.)
So yeah, it was a crazy, crazy time. Loved it.
Q: They say no publicity is bad publicity. Have you found that to be true with AViS?
For me, I think that’s true. It probably depends on how you approach it, though—on your attitude going in.
With Amish Vampires in Space my conscience was clear. I knew what I wrote, and why I wrote it. So most of the mockery and near-slander just rolled off my back. I embraced it, in fact. Every situation, even the confrontations, became an opportunity to dialog with people, and hopefully, leave as friends. It was a great little faith exercise.
Q: AZfS picks up a few years after AViS and many of the characters are still the same. Who was your favorite character to write?
Two of my favorite characters were new ones. I don’t want to spoil too much, but one of them is a friend of doctor Darly’s. He’s a bit of a wit.
Another favorite was Jeb and Sarah’s son, Isaac. It was neat to put my mind into “boy mode” again. To try to experience the world as a child again. Science fiction should have a good dose of marvel and wonder. What better way to present that than through the eyes of a child?
(Darly’s friend ended up as my favorite character as well, although I have always had a soft spot for Jeb.)
Q: Both your books do a great job of portraying the Amish and their love for a simple life, and you use them to sprinkle theology throughout your books. People who haven’t read your books might think you have no regard for the Amish or Christianity in general. Have you had any throwback from the Amish loving community over your books?
There was some of that initially, yes. People saw the cover and the title and assumed I was bashing the Amish. I even had one author tell me I couldn’t write about the Amish because I hadn’t been Amish. <sigh>
My goal all along was to be as realistic as possible. To keep everything plausible. That required portraying the Amish as faithfully as I could. Most of the criticism went away after people started reading the book.
Q: So, what’s in store for the next book – werewolves? 😉
Not sure yet. I’ve been working on Amish-something for nearly three years now and mentally I need a little break. I might circle back to some of my earlier characters and their worlds. See what excites me.
There will need to be another Amish book at some point, though. Werewolves seem to be the most commonly requested antagonists, so I would be foolish not to consider them. I need to find a way to make the concept interesting scientifically—to not travel paths I’ve already travelled.
We’ll see. Hopefully, the answer will come right when I need it. 🙂
Kerry’s doing something different with this book. In addition to the print, and eBook versions, he is also doing a serial version (3 parts). It’s cheaper to buy the entire eBook, but Part 1 is discounted for those who might want to try before they commit. If, like me, you enjoyed AViS, why not show Kerry some love and puchase a copy of AZfS today?
LET US HEAR FROM YOU: Where are you on the Zombie fan scale from 1 (burn them all) to 10 (eat my brains)?
Not much of a Zombie fan though the trailers for Warm Bodies did intrigue me slightly. (Not enough to watch it yet, though.) But I dislike gross stuff and the way Zombies are usually portrayed with rotting flesh, missing limbs and so on gross me out more than other monsters. But this sounds different & I’m open to trying it. 😉
He handled it quite tastefully. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected any less but I was a bit worried going in. 🙂
I have never yet finished watching a zombie movie except Warm Bodies–and even that was a little difficult but I stayed with it for the humor. Kerry’s comments in the interview have me quite intrigued. I’d like to read Amish Zombies in Space..
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Someone working on my fireplace mentioned Kerry’s name. He said his daughter loves Kerry’s books. I want to read one soon.
Wow. How crazy is that? 🙂
I’m pretty well known in the fireplace community. Apparently, my books make good kindling. 😀
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