“It’s real this time.”
“Yes, he did.”
“Someone finally did it.”
“Rumor has it that Jeff Gerke finally had to pay up on that bet…”
And one of my favorites:
“Seriously…this is PURE genius.”
What are all those comments about? Why, Amish Vampires in Space, of course. The next book from Marcher Lord Press, due October 1st. My latest child.
“But, that sounds crazy,” you say. “Sounds like you’re pandering, or mocking, or trying to milk (?), what, three diverse genres in order to get yourself noticed. Seriously, what are you up to? How did this happen?”
I’m glad you asked.
Let me start by saying this was really nobody’s design but my own. I didn’t lose a bet, I wasn’t threatened, and my arm definitely wasn’t twisted. There was no contest, nor is this part of a diabolical scheme to gain readers. (Though wouldn’t that be nice?)
It started nearly three years ago. A Star Curiously Singing was already in print, and possibly even its sequel, The Superlative Stream. I’m not certain. All I know is that one day our fearless leader, Jeff Gerke, surprised us with a mock cover he created. Now, I should mention that one of the things Jeff likes to dabble in, aside from publishing, editing, and writing is graphic design. Three of my five novels feature covers he designed, in fact.
So, one day he sent us all this cover art. The imaginary author’s name was Michael Boone, and the title of the novel was Vein Pursuit. The book was part of the Amish Vampires in Space series. The cover featured a bonneted lady with fangs, a spaceship, and what appeared to be a rack of Amish hats. Jeff called it the ideal Christian speculative novel. A sure bestseller!
Years passed, and somewhere in all that time I told him that someone—some MLP author—should write that novel. I didn’t think it was me, because the title screams “camp!” and I don’t do that. Someone like Hero, Second Class’s Mitchell Bonds might be a perfect fit, though…
More time passed. More books were published. But no one wrote that book.
Then last year I started thinking about how such a novel might be written, minus the camp. The genre mishmash has lots of potential for conflict. The Amish are a structured people, governed by routine, rules, and tradition. (As were the societies in other books I’ve written.) But outer space is rarely structured, and vampires are chaos incarnate. Also, the Amish, practicing their interpretation of scripture, are non-violent. Pacifists. Vampires are not.
Then, I got the beginning of a premise, and also, a possible theme. (A discussion I had on Speculative Faith helped with the latter.) Then the characters started to arrive on the scene. I saw a middle-aged Amish man with a secret, and a space captain in a mundane job. I saw a crewmember with a bit of a prejudice and an odd habit, along with an Amisher bishop with prejudices of his own. A thief, a doctor…oh, and science! Lots of science.
So I started writing. Thirty thousand words in, I told Jeff what I was doing. After he stopped laughing, he encouraged me to continue. So I did. Ten months later I finished. The manuscript was roughly 130,000 words long, incredibly fun to write, and generally camp-free. A solid “science meets agrarian” story, with a hematophagical twist.
Jeff read it, suggested some minor improvements, and here we are today.
Amish Vampires in Space. Flying your way in October.
(Editor’s note: Marcher Lord Press has just made the book available for preorder.)