Shannon Dittemore

November29th

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32authorSmall-iPadminiYou’re here! You’ve made it to stop #19 on the #32AuthorHunt! I hope you’re enjoying yourself and entering to win lots of prizes.

Here’s how it works: Collect the clues at the bottom of each post, beginning from Stop #1. Once they’re all collected they’ll form a phrase. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form at the last stop and you’re all entered to win an iPad Mini and 32 books, one from each author on the hunt! This hunt is open to the US only. Sorry, international readers.

If you’ve missed a stop, are starting here, or if you have completed the hunt and are ready to enter the entire phrase to win, head on over HERE.

I have the privilege of introducing you to author, Kerry Nietz. His newest book, Amish Vampires In Space, made quite a splash a few months ago and I think you’ll enjoy reading his thoughts on the whole thing.

Kerry Nietz - Amish Vampires in Space - Book CoverHere goes!

Okay, Kerry, before we go any further: Amish Vampires in Space? What is that about?

What, you want me to give you the plot?

No, I mean, that seems crazy. Why on Earth would you write such a thing? And who published it?

Well, it doesn’t take place on Earth—

You know what I mean.

Right, I know what you’re getting at.

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 novel’s title 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 sure to be a hit. He shared the joke at writing conferences he attended, as well.

ASCSwithEmblemA 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. (The DarkTrench trilogy, which started with the award-winning A Star Curiously Singing.)

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 went through the editing process.

Amish Vampires in Space was published in October 1st of this year.

Wow, so you essentially took a joke title and ran with it.

Pretty much. A joke title that turned into 135,000 words of story.

Sounds hefty.

I’d avoid dropping it on your foot, but it really isn’t that big. The print version is just over 600 pages, but there’s lots of bonus material in there. Samples of other great Marcher Lord Press stories—three in the print version, six in the eBook!

The story itself is around 500 pages.

Huh. So was it fun to write? Any big challenges?

It was great fun to write. A speculative novelist’s playground! Plus the characters really drove the plot. They just started showing up on the page and took over. AViS is my longest book, but it felt like it could’ve been much longer if I hadn’t reined the characters in a little.

The biggest challenges were a) creating authentic Amish characters, and b) contriving plausible science fiction vampires. I had some help with the first one, in the form of a friend who’s an Amish romance writer.

I was pretty much on my own with the second….but not really. God is always gracious to me when I’m doing research. Providing just the right science or intriguing idea when I need it.  It is a difficult process to describe, but it has happened with all my sci-fi books. It is typically like “Well, Lord, I’ve written myself into a corner here…whoa, oh wait, this will work. Thanks!”

So you have other science fiction books. Do those mock other cultures as well?

Hold on, let’s get one thing straight:  My intent in writing Amish Vampires in Space wasn’t to mock the Amish at all. To me the whole scenario seemed more interesting if everything was played straight—including the Amish and their culture.

MaskCoverTo that end, I asked my Amish fiction writing friend to read the completed manuscript. He had lots of good suggestions to make the Amish portion more authentic, but he didn’t find my portrayal exploitative. At least, no more so than the scores of Amish novels that are already out there. And in some ways my portrayal might be more genuine, because I don’t overly glamorize the culture either. I tried to write them like any other free willed people: capable of both good and evil.

I often explore other cultures in my books, though. My DarkTrench trilogy speculates a world under sharia (Islamic) law. Those books center around this techno-slave named Sandfly. He has an implant in his head to help him connect to the future version of the internet, but it also controls his behavior. Again, the intent wasn’t to exploit or demean, but to extrapolate a future that some in that culture would like to see happen. (Just search for “caliphate” to see what I mean.)

I also have a book entitled Mask that examines a slice of American culture. More specifically, the idea that everything is up for a vote, including sometimes what is considered “good” and “evil.”

Sounds like you’ve written a fair amount of words.

I have over 560,000 words in print now. Hard for me to believe. I’m actually sort of shy.

Hmm…me too. So what advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Start early. You might get published before you die.

What?

LOL. That’s something an elderly author once told me on a plane. We happened to be sitting next to each other on a flight from Detroit to Seattle. (I worked at Microsoft at the time.) When he told me he was a writer I said that I always wanted to write.

“Start early,” he said. “You might get published before you die.”

That’s good advice for any dream, actually: Start early, you might accomplish it before you die.

Kerry Nietz_Author PhotoYeah, that’s something to think about. Thanks for sharing.

Welcome. And now I want to say “our books”.

What?

That’s the clue for the scavenger hunt folks. Write this down before you move on: our books.

Right. Is there anything else you want to say?

Sure, my website is www.kerrynietz.com. I have an author page on Facebook, as well. Please check them out, and buy my books!

Isn’t Kerry a riot! I hope you enjoyed his interview as much as I did. Be sure to tell him so in the comments here and check out his books.

BEFORE YOU GO, write down the Stop #19 clue:

our books

Your NEXT STOP is Kerry’s very own website.

33authorHunt-nextStop

*BONUS PRIZE! If you’d like to win a book from my Angel Eyes trilogy (winner’s choice), leave a comment here about Kerry’s interview. I’ll announce the winner at the conclusion of the scavenger hunt.

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44 Comments

  • Pingback by The End – #31 Author Scavenger Hunt Clue Entry | — November 29, 2013 @ 9:51 pm

    […] Miller Stop #16 Jonathan Friesen Stop #17 RJ larson Stop #18 Anne Elisabeth Stengl Stop #19 Shannon Dittemore Stop #20 Kerry Nietz Stop #21 Jill Williamson Stop #22 C.A. Beninati Stop #23 J. L. Mbewe Stop […]

  • Comment by Timothy Harris — November 29, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

    Very interesting interview. He seems like a strange guy (I mean that in a good way)!

  • Comment by shelly — November 30, 2013 @ 7:28 am

    I’m glad that the author’s intention wasn’t to mock the amish. I can see how one might think that with the title.

  • Comment by C Marie — November 30, 2013 @ 9:22 am

    Wow, never thought of zombie Amish before! I don’t read a lot of Amish novels, and pretty much no zombie novels. But it’s an interesting premise, and I’ll definitely be looking into the book! Oh, and I loved the quote.

  • Comment by Linda Marie Finn — November 30, 2013 @ 9:48 am

    Very interesting and can’t wait to read his book or your book angel eyes if I win !
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books
    http://www.faithfulacresbooks.wordpress.com
    faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com

  • Comment by Amber McCallister — November 30, 2013 @ 10:35 am

    I very much enjoyed Kerry’s interview. It’s always so much fun to find out more about intriguing authors! 🙂

  • Comment by Sarah — November 30, 2013 @ 10:42 am

    It was really interesting!

  • Comment by Jaime H. — November 30, 2013 @ 10:50 am

    I thought his interview was hilarious 🙂 The idea of the story is great, though a bit strange. I like his advice for writers.

  • Comment by ~Angie~ — November 30, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

    I love interviews where the person isn’t completely serious…it’s so boring and unexciting when it’s all serious! I was wondering how he came up with the idea…now I know!

  • Comment by amyc — November 30, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

    This author is new to me and he sure seems a lot of fun!

  • Comment by Jan Hall — November 30, 2013 @ 7:06 pm

    I enjoyed the interview. I admire that you could take a joke and make a book out of it. I like that you are not making fun of the Amish. I am intrigued and want to red this book.

  • Comment by Kerry Nietz — November 30, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

    Thanks for stopping by, everyone, and leaving such nice comments. Glad you enjoyed the interview. (And Timothy…yeah, I’ll admit to being a little unusual. I write Christian science fiction. Goes with the territory. 🙂 )

    God bless and good luck on your hunt!

  • Comment by M May — November 30, 2013 @ 8:58 pm

    Entertaining and interesting interview. Love his book idea, and might have to read it.

  • Comment by Mary Preston — December 1, 2013 @ 1:16 am

    I’m new to Kerry’s work, so such a great way to meet her.

  • Comment by Jennifer F. — December 1, 2013 @ 1:51 am

    Wow, what an entertaining interview! I’m not into the Amish fiction craze … or vampires, but it was neat to see the story behind Mr. Nietz’s new book. I’ll have to check out his other scifi works –the only scifi books I read are Star Wars novels that take place after the movies (plus, I’m more into medieval fantasy). However, my younger brother loves scifi and has begun to delve into the emerging Christian Scifi genre. Glad to see more authors writing it!

  • Comment by Emilie — December 1, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

    I would love to get a copy of Angel Eyes!

  • Comment by Chelsea — December 1, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

    Interesting interview…Kerry Nietz is definitely a character!

  • Comment by Delaney — December 1, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

    Really quite interesting. The advice, “Start early, you might accomplish it before you die.” is really awesome. I like it a lot.

  • Comment by Dena — December 2, 2013 @ 7:29 am

    I love the advice to start early so that you might accomplish your dream before you die. Kind of funny, but pretty true, too.

  • Comment by Heather — December 2, 2013 @ 10:27 am

    The cover for the Amish vampire one looks kind of, er, disgusting.
    But that’s just my opinion. Most people would probably disagree with me.

  • Comment by Kerry Nietz — December 2, 2013 @ 11:11 am

    LOL. Well, Heather, there are apparently other people that agree with you, since my cover won the coveted “Worst Christian Book Cover of 2013” award last week. Though I suspect it was the concept that won the award, not the cover. (And I would guess it is “presumed” concept, since I doubt any of the judges read the book. If they did, they’d doubtless change their mind.)

    That said, I think the cover is fantastic. The title is Amish Vampires in Space, and it depicts exactly that. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by, everyone! Glad you’re finding the interview entertaining. Don’t miss the next stop on the tour, where you can see what I did to poor Jill Williamson… 🙂

  • Comment by Julie Smith — December 2, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

    Interesting interview…lots to say for a shy soul. 🙂

  • Comment by Lora Strang — December 2, 2013 @ 4:20 pm

    even with just the title featuring vampires, and the Amish makes one wonder what direction the story goes & whether or not it’s something people of faith should read, but I would be willing to try it before I make a good judgement. 🙂

  • Comment by Sarah — December 2, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

    Sounds like a weird book, but an interesting guy!

  • Comment by Kerry Nietz — December 2, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

    I appreciate those sentiments, Lora and Sarah. Though my publisher admittedly publishes “anything weird,” it is always the weird from a Christian worldview. And while it is something he doesn’t mention much, he actually has a degree in divinity. He would check me if he thought I was being hurtful or had my theology messed up. Thankfully, we’ve never had a problem there. 🙂

    He did cut “breast” out of one of my books once, even though I was using it in a strictly clinical way. 🙂 Just wanted to extra cautious.

  • Comment by Kerry Nietz — December 2, 2013 @ 7:06 pm

    And thanks, Julie. One of those “bold in writing, meek in person” things. 😉

  • Comment by Patty Hancock — December 3, 2013 @ 10:22 am

    I enjoyed the interview and like that he explained so much about the story and future ones

  • Comment by Sierra — December 3, 2013 @ 6:18 pm

    Haha I liked that this interview wasn’t very serious:)

  • Comment by Sharon — December 3, 2013 @ 6:31 pm

    Still can’t believe someone wrote and published an Amish vampire book…

  • Comment by Kerry — December 4, 2013 @ 4:05 am

    Sometimes, I can’t believe it either. 🙂

  • Comment by Madonna — December 4, 2013 @ 6:28 am

    I think it was a good interview. Did a good job of clearing up some thoughts about the book

  • Comment by Valerie — December 4, 2013 @ 7:12 am

    Enjoyed the interview and now want to read the Amish vampire book although it wouldn’t have appealed to me prior to reading the interview. LOL

  • Comment by Kristen Johnson — December 4, 2013 @ 9:40 am

    Too fun!! thanks for the interview. This is on my list of books to read!!
    Thanks

  • Comment by Debora Wilder — December 4, 2013 @ 10:16 am

    The title of his book had completely turned me off. After reading the interview I have to admit that I’m a little bit intrigued by it.

  • Comment by ladysaotome — December 4, 2013 @ 11:49 am

    Very fun interview. And that advice was unique! 😉

  • Comment by Shan — December 4, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

    I’ve loved reading all these comments! THANK YOU ALL for stopping by my site on the hunt and for chatting it up with Kerry. The thoughts on his book cover are very interesting for several reasons. I, too, thought it was a joke when I first saw the image a while back, but I’ve loved reading his thoughts here about how the story came to be. And he’s right, the cover absolutely tells you what you’ll be reading. Like many of you, I’ll be putting Amish Vampires In Space on my TBR list! Merry Christmas, everyone!

  • Comment by Megan — December 4, 2013 @ 3:41 pm

    Sounds awesome!I will definitely have to read his books!

  • Comment by Julie — December 4, 2013 @ 9:26 pm

    I think Kerry’s interview was very informative. I enjoyed reading about her exchanges with Jeff Gerke (he’s a friend, and dad of one of my son’s best friends). I can totally hear him laughing .. then encouraging.:)

  • Comment by Karen Johnson — December 5, 2013 @ 7:18 pm

    Very unique young man! That sense of humor!

  • Comment by tammy cordery — December 6, 2013 @ 8:19 am

    what a great interview

  • Comment by Cheri Schueller — December 6, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

    Very interesting interview. Would love to read his book!

  • Comment by Diana Montgomery — December 6, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

    Not sure I put Amish with Zombies and vampires. No sounds very different. Not sure about it.
    Blessings
    joeym11@frontier.com

  • Comment by Rhonda Gayle Nash-Hall — December 6, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

    you are correct as I love science fiction and I suppose that an Amish version of science fiction would be no different than any other.

  • Pingback by The Winners of the #32 Author & Family Fiction Scavenger Hunt… | — December 8, 2013 @ 11:01 am

    […] Miller Stop #16 Jonathan Friesen Stop #17 RJ larson Stop #18 Anne Elisabeth Stengl Stop #19 Shannon Dittemore Stop #20 Kerry Nietz Stop #21 Jill Williamson Stop #22 C.A. Beninati Stop #23 J. L. Mbewe Stop […]

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