Kerry says he 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, a father, a technophile, and a movie buff. Mask is his fourth novel.
Is there a story behind your book Mask?
My story ideas always come from a variety of sources. After finishing the DarkTrench trilogy, where the character was a “thinker,” I really wanted to do a high-action story where the protagonist was more of a “doer.”
And for a while I’ve had this germ of an idea about a guy who is this government-backed armored people hunter, who at some point has a change of heart. I thought something about who he was sent to collect would contribute to that change. I even had the start of a poem that would come to me every time I thought about the story: I am the mask. The mask is me…
Popular culture was an influence, as well. All the things we can vote on today—from popular reality shows, to a simple “like” or “dislike” on Facebook. Then there’s the fact that so many people now vote in elections purely out of self-interest. The “what’s in it for me” meme.
There were many classic sci-fi stories that informed Mask, as well.
What started you on your writing journey?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have some story idea bouncing around in my head—scraps of something written on notebooks or stored in computer files.
The pivot point came when I was still working in the software industry. I was on a plane traveling from Ohio to Washington and just happened to sit beside an elderly gentleman who was a published writer. It was a great conversation—me just picking his brain about his life. At one point I mentioned that I wanted to have a book published someday. His response was simple: “Well, start early. You might get published before you die.”
That was when I started thinking about writing fulltime.
What distracts you from writing the easiest?
The Internet! It is necessary evil in a writer’s life. On the one hand, it is an invaluable tool for research, networking, and marketing. On the other hand, it is like a flashing light in the periphery of your vision—distracting you when you need to focus.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
Science fiction is certainly a favorite, but I enjoy all genres of books, both fiction and non-fiction. I maintain a list of books I’ve read and reviewed here using a Shelfari widget.
I’m also a Vine reviewer on Amazon, and cross post my reviews on Goodreads, as well.
So, if you’re interested in what I’ve read lately (or over the last few years) the information is readily available.
What is your favorite season of the year?
If it weren’t for the leaves, it would be autumn. I just really like the outdoors when it is still warm enough to walk without a coat, and the colors are starting to change. The mosquitos are gone, humidity is low…it is just a pleasant time of the year for me.
Unfortunately, we live in a woods, so much of my time in late fall is consumed with leaf collection. It is pretty epic.
The kids like the piles, though.
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about
All my books start with theme, really. I think it is the most important part of the story, the thing that gives it resonance.
My earlier trilogy, the DarkTrench Saga, was all about the nature of God and Christianity in relation to other belief systems.
In Mask, the themes are much more subtle, because it is primarily an action piece. Ultimately, it is about the responsibilities of self-governance, and the value of human life.
Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)
The first verse that comes to mind is Psalm 55:22, “Cast your cares on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”
Though I come across as easygoing to most people, I inherited a tendency for worry from my paternal grandmother. That verse helps me keep things in perspective.
It also makes it clear that there is an effort of our own will necessary when worries come our way. We need to consciously give them to God. It is a good thing to remember.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
LOL. My next book is something really different: Amish Vampires in Space.
The idea started as a bit of a joke. Amish romances have been popular in Christian fiction for a number of years now. They invariably get good placement in Christian bookstores, while speculative fiction typically gets stuffed in a corner somewhere. And even then it is usually just the Narnia novels with a Ted Dekker or Frank Peretti thrown in for good measure.
Anyway, a few years back my publisher made up this mock cover for the breakthrough speculative novel, and it was titled Amish Vampires in Space. It featured ladies in bonnets with fangs…and a spaceship.
I told him that someone should write that book. I wasn’t sure if I could write it, because the title suggests camp, and as a hard sci-fi guy, I would want to do it as if it could actually happen.
Then one day I got an idea about how it all might work. I started writing. Now I’m about 60,000 words in. It is a bit of a challenge—quite different than anything I’ve written before—but I think I can pull it off. Hope I can. The goal is to release this fall. (My favorite season!)
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Kery Nietz has agreed to give away a copy of his novel, MASK.
The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
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