How Did This Happen?
Two questions people often ask after hearing the title Amish Vampires in Space are "What?" followed by "How?" The answer to the first questions is easy: A speculative novel written by author Kerry Nietz. The answer to the second question takes a little more explaining...
The title started as a joke. It was Jeff Gerke’s fall back answer for the only sort of Amish fiction that his speculative fiction company, Marcher Lord Press, would publish.
Kerry used that joke title as a starting place. He asked himself how Amish vampires might come to be? And then how would they get into Space?
A plausible science fiction scenario emerged. Ideas began to flow. Characters and motivations arrived. Before long, Kerry was thirty thousand words in. He shared his idea with Jeff. After Jeff stopped laughing, he encouraged Kerry to continue.
The book was complete a hundred thousand words later. Jeff loved it and accepted it for publication. The normal editing process began. Cover art was created.
The book was released to much fanfare. It was mentioned twice by Publishers Weekly. Twice by the Library Journal. There were dozens of interviews, both written and spoken. Plus, sales were great! The bestselling book Kerry had ever written.
(AViS was his fifth novel. Sixth book total.)
Then came adversity...
“DO WE REALLY NEED ANOTHER AMISH VAMPIRES IN SPACE BOOK? "
JIMMY FALLON, THE TONIGHT SHOW
“TO ACTUALLY INCARNATE THE PUNCHLINE OF A JOKE
IS NOT SOMETHING I WOULD'VE DONE"
STEVE LAUBE, AGENT AND PUBLISHER
“TOO OFF IN LEFT FIELD. "
ANONYMOUS SYFY CHANNEL EXECUTIVE
Amish Vampires...in Jeopardy?
To some—primarily those reacting to the title or the cover—Amish Vampires in Space appeared to be mocking the Amish, or attacking their firmly held beliefs. In addition, some writers of Amish Romance fiction felt it was poking fun at them, and their profession. (Though AViS has since found some ardent fans in that group too, notably Kathleen Fuller)
Near the start of a new year, Marcher Lord Press was sold. While the new owner praised the writing in Amish Vampires in Space he felt it too controversial for the new direction of the company. He returned the rights to Kerry...
So, with the help of Jeff Gerke, and cover artist Kirk DouPonce, Kerry scrambled to make Amish Vampires in Space an indie title. He worked through the two weeks between Christmas and New Years to get everything just right. Within a month, he had the book on sale again.
A couple months went by. AViS was mentioned by Dave Barry on his blog, and an article in the Washington Post was devoted to the novel.
Then, after things cooled off a bit, Kerry decided to upload a new version of the book that addressed a handful of typos. Part of that process put the print book in a "Temporarily Out-of-print" state with the online booksellers. It took four days of fiddling to get everything like it needed to be. On a Tuesday morning in March, the book finally was available again.
That night, this happened...
After the Tonight Show appearance, the buzz about Amish Vampires in Space intensified. Twitter was especially interesting to observe, as it gave a glimpse into the title's worldwide reach. Kerry counted dozens of countries where the book was being discussed, and at least seven different languages being used.
Since then, the novel has exhibited a near-immortal (undead?) quality. Every few months it will show up on another social media site or a "What? How did this happen?" list. It has spawned two sequels (Amish Zombies from Space & Amish Werewolves of Space) and a new generation of mashup fiction. It was also recently optioned by a production company as a possible movie or series.
Kerry's proud of his efforts. Happy that he stepped outside the box. And generally, readers are too.
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But wait! There's more!
If you've read Amish Vampires in Space already, please tell your friends about it. Write reviews, share your copy, or buy another to give away. (Have a picture of yourself with the book? Use the contact form to get it added to the gallery above.)
There's more to the story, though. The sequels are available, and are every bit as suspenseful and thought-provoking as the first. To find out more about Amish Zombies from Space, click here.