BIO : 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 and father, a technophile and a movie buff. He has two previously published books: a memoir entitled FoxTales: Behind the Scenes at Fox Software and Book 1 in the DarkTrench Saga: A Star Curiously Singing.
Could you share some of your testimony with us?
Certainly. I’ve became a Christian when I was very young—eight, I think. Amazing that such an important and life-altering decision should be made at such a young age, but that’s how it was with me. It has been an amazing ride since then. I’m perplexed by the perception that the Christian life is boring or unfulfilling. I’ve never been bored my entire life. And I’ve got to do some amazing things, succeeded in ways that most wouldn’t have thought possible for someone born to a farmer and a school teacher in rural Ohio: graduated college with honors, worked at a small (but amazingly successful) software company, moved across the country to work for Microsoft, led a church youth group, went on multiple mission trips to foreign countries, learned to scuba dive, ride motorcycle. Got married and had two (soon three) amazing kids. And now I’m writing novels like I always dreamed? Good grief, why wouldn’t you want to be a Christian? It’s the most fulfilling life you could live!
Did you have a working title for your book A Star Curiously Singing? Or did you always have that title for your book? How did you come up with it?
The working title for me was just the year that the book is supposed to take place: 2000 AP. I thought that was interesting because the abbreviation showed that something about the way years are reckoned is different, which immediately begs the question: So, what else is different? (The AP abbreviation was something that I made up, BTW. Later it was changed to AH. AH is a real way of reckoning dates, though. The reader is welcome to investigate that on their own.
My publisher wanted something a little less opaque for the title. So we went back and forth and eventually arrived at A Star Curiously Singing. I’m happy with that too. It has a very classic sci-fi feel to it, and clearly touches on the plot.
For my second novel, The Superlative Stream, the title didn’t change at all from what I first called it.
Could you tell me how the book cover process works for you? The covers of your books are eye catching, just wondered if you had a say in how they turned out? Just wondering how involved you are in this process?
Believe it or not, the covers for both books were created by my publisher himself. With A Star Curiously Singing he had this really cool idea for how it should look and wanted to see if he could compose it on his own. There was a bit of back and forth, both between him and me, and between him and some of his artist friends. Even his first rendition was really good, though. It took a couple weeks before he had it in its final form.
With the second cover he must have had the procedure down, because it seemed like only a few days before it was done. I sort of chuckle about that one, though, because he hadn’t actually read my book before he designed the cover. I just said “think blue” and fed him a couple plot points and he went from there. I really like how it turned out.
How did you come up with the idea for your first book Fox Tales? Were you happy with the book cover?
My first book, which is non-fiction, is about the four years of my life right after college. I got hired by this small software company called Fox Software—it had maybe three dozen people when I started. (Many of them were related in some way.) We made this amazing database product called FoxPro. And a lot of crazy things happened behind the scenes: lawsuits, threats, bullying, buyouts…lots of stress. Mostly FoxTales is a study of the type of personalities that come together to create software from the vantage point of a naive twenty year old. A technological coming-of-age story.
As for the cover, I was totally surprised by that one. And when I first saw it, I was like “what…does…it…mean?” It made more sense after the publisher explained it. Sort of grew on me after that. Typically, that’s the way it is, though. Writers have very little say in cover design.
Can you tell me of two “Wow” moments you’ve had since you’ve been published? What made it a “Wow” for you?
You know, every time you hold the printed copy of your book in your hands for the first time, it is a “Wow” moment. As of this writing, I’m waiting for my third “Wow” moment to arrive.
Another thing that has wowed me are the times where I’ll second guess a character or scene from my book, only to later have someone come up and tell me how much they appreciated that very scene or character. It is like God using someone else to say, “You thought you were writing just for yourself, didn’t you? Ha! You were writing for me and them all along.”
Is being an author everything you thought it would be? What surprised you?
I love being an author. Love meeting other writers and readers. Discussing books and ideas. Especially within the Christian writing community. It is such an accepting and warm crowd.
Now, of course, we authors always dream about having one of our books really hit it big. Have it be the one people are talking about. Hasn’t happened for me yet, but I’m fine with that. Still love what I do.
I think what surprised me—especially with the novels—is how much marketing an author does. (Or should do.) You really need to put yourself out there. Bang a drum for your writing. Unfortunately, most writers are fairly quiet and reserved people. At least, I am. So it runs contrary to the typical writer personality, but it is good for us to grow, right?
I know that are very busy working and raising your growing family, when do you find time to write?
My wife is really gracious with me. Giving me the time I need to write when I need it. Especially when I’m sure there are days she’d like to chuck the kids and head out for the mall. She’s an artist too, though—glasswork, actually—so she understands. She’s my biggest fan.
QUESTIONS I JUST HAD TO ASK!
1. What are your THREE Favorite books of all time?
2. If you had an opportunity to go to outer space would you? Would you consider living there? Why?
Living there, not sure. It would depend on how near Earth-normal the conditions were. People that have lived on space stations for long periods usually have a hard time adapting to gravity again. But visiting outer space? Definitely. Imagine seeing the stars without any distortion whatsoever, or viewing the Earth from space. That would be awesome!
3. What THREE movies could you watch over and over again?
Again, tough. I watch a lot of movies and have many favorites. But since you asked for three, how about The Lord of the Rings trilogy. That counts for three, doesn’t it?
4. If you had the opportunity to hang out with any two people in the history of the world—alive or dead; who would you pick and what would you do? (someone other than Jesus)
Wow. That’s an interesting question too. I think it would be fun to sit in on a meeting of the Inklings when J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were both present. Just to drink some English Tea and listen to them create their worlds.
It would also be cool to be with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson when they signed the Declaration of Independence. I would be cool to just get a sense for the feeling in the room—did they have any idea how big of a step that really was?
5. A friend of yours has a time machine that they are letting you use. But you can only witness two events in this history of the world. What two events would you experience? Why?
The resurrection of Jesus Christ, from somewhere just outside the tomb door. And the first moon landing, from a spot right there on the moon with the astronauts. Though the second ultimately pales in importance to the first, I think those are two of the most climatic events of all time.
6. What THREE T.V. shows were you most passionate as a kid? (You know the ones you couldn’t miss each week)
Depends on how old I was at the time, but most of the shows I remember being passionate about had some sci-fi or technological connection. Such shows were so rare in the seventies and eighties, that when they were on, you sort of clung to them like a favorite blanket. The Six Million Dollar Man, is one example. As was Space 1999 (Star Trek and Lost in Space I only caught in reruns) and the Incredible Hulk. I also rarely missed Wonder Woman. That might have been for a different reason, though.
7. What movie impacted you as a child? Why?
Star Wars, definitely. I saw it when I was eleven. Sat in the sixth row. Most incredible spectacle I’d ever seen. Couldn’t stop talking about it. It was also the first movie I attended without my parents. Another big milestone.
Which book would you like me to give a synopsis for? The latest, or both? Ah well, I’ll give you one for each, and let you decide….
ANY FINAL COMMENTS YOU'D LIKE TO LEAVE MY READERS WITH?
I just like to encourage the writers here to keep at it. A full six years went by between the time my non-fiction book was published and the time I finally had a novel published. That’s a long time to be doing the write, edit and submit cycle, but it finally paid off. Also, learn to love editing. The more polished your manuscripts are, the better your chances of seeing a book contract someday. No, it isn’t easy. You have to work at it.
And if anyone would like to find out more about me or my books, please visit my website at http://www.kerrynietz.com/ or “like” my author page on Facebook. Thanks for reading!
Thanks for having me on your blog, Nora. It was fun!
Here is a brief desctiption of Kerry Nietz's Fiction books.
The Superlative Stream is the second book in the DarkTrench Saga series, which began with A Star Curiously Singing. At the end of that book, a couple of the characters were headed off into deep space, so this book follows their story. Near the end of A Star there was evidence to suggest that some supernatural force other than what the characters have known is out there…waiting. So, ultimately the quest of The Superlative Stream is to find the True God of the heavens. I think it is a very unique and enjoyable story, with a lot of unexpected twists. I hope it surprises people.
Thanks Kerry for stopping by and letting us get to know you and your books better. I had fun reading and discussing your book A Star Curiously Singing on the ACFW Book Club Loop as your book was the Book Club Selection. All the best to you with it's sequel, The Superlative Stream.
Leave a comment about the interview for your chance to win a copy of A Star Curiously Singing!!
Drawing May 10th -** CONGRATS goes to SHERYL BARNES on winning a copy of this book.
Winners selected by using www. randomnumber.com
THANKS to everyone for stopping by and getting to know Kerry Nietz and his books. Appreciate you encouraging him as well.
Blessings to all.
****DISCLAIMER: Entering the give away is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws. Void where prohibited; open U.S. residents residents only, odds of winning depend on number of entrants *****