Marcher Lord celebrates its 5th anniversary with the release of Amish Vampires in Space by Kerry Nietz. Yes, that is an actual title of an actual novel presently for sale on Amazon. Publisher Jeff Gerke explains how the unusual title came to be.
It was March 2010 and Amish fiction was all the rage in Christian publishing.
Entire novelists’ careers were being made in the “bonnet and buggy” genre. Publishers were telling writers, “If you don’t write Amish, don’t bother contacting us.” What had seemed like a fad a few years ago was looking more and more like a subgenre that was here to stay.
And it just cried out for a roasting.
I mean, I’m quite sure that many, maybe most, Amish folks are delightful, genuine Christians. But the way readers were flocking to novels about them, and the way Christian writers and publishers were all but worshipping them, was overblown.
I have a theory that the reason Amish fiction and TV shows about detectives exploded in popularity at the same time was that people were feeling overwhelmed by the complexities of modern life. They valued detective shows because detectives are good at seeing through the smoke to what is really happening, and that helped them feel that their own lives could be made comprehensible. Similarly, people flocked to Amish fiction because it represented a simpler, more easily understood way of living.
Whatever the cause, Amish fiction was everywhere, and it sort of frustrated those of us who didn’t love it. So I came up with the comical title Amish Vampires in Space just to poke fun at it all. I even whipped together a mock cover for my invented book. If you’ll look closely, you can maybe see the sleeping Amish vampire in the SF crate—with a nice handmade quilt draped over him. I made up the author’s name, the series title, and the painfully awesome book title. Then I showed the cover around to a bunch of my publishing friends, just for yuks.
Fast-forward to August 2012. One of my Marcher Lord Press authors, Kerry Nietz, who had already written four novels for me at that point, contacted me and said that he’d come up with a plot idea for Amish Vampires in Space and did he have my permission to write that book.
I reserved the right to not publish it until I could read it, but I told him to go for it.
To my surprise, Kerry played the idea straight. Despite the humor implicit in the title, he created a fantastic book with an altogether believable scenario in which Amish people might find themselves in space, confronted with vampires.
Then we got the real cover design, and we were blown away. This cover is by Kirk DouPonce, the same genius behind the covers of A Throne of Bones and Summa Elvetica. In fact, that’s Kirk’s “dead” body in the background. Even more than the title itself, the cover of this novel has gotten us all kinds of, um, attention.
Indeed, this book has brought much attention to Marcher Lord Press. Indeed, we have encountered more resistance to this book than we did when publishing books that examined Islam or contained obscenity and sexual content. [shrugs] But if these wacky Amish vampires manage to gain Marcher Lord Press a few new fans, a wider awareness that we’re out here making terrific Christian SF and fantasy, it’s a win!
Enjoy this suspenseful ride, dear reader, and . . . don’t take it too seriously.