Interview time!

And now for something completely different! I recently had the chance to sit down and ask the fantastic John Otte some questions. Read on to discover more about him!

You're a husband, father, author, and pastor. With all that on your plate, what's a typical day look like for you?

Busy. I know, that's not exactly helpful, but there is no "typical" day for me, not really. I mean, I have a bit of a rhythm to my weeks. Tuesday through Thursday, I spend time working on my sermon for the weekend. And I'm responsible for getting my older son to and from school. And I try to make time to spend with my wife as much as I can. But the thing about being a pastor is that the schedule can change in an instant. For example, over the past two and a half weeks, I had four funerals, most of which came as a complete surprise. So my schedule can vary widely from week to week depending on what's happening. That means finding time to do the author thing can be tricky. I try to do something related to writing every day, but sometimes, that just isn't possible.

You reference 'geeky grace' on your blog. What does that mean to you?

It means being true to yourself, true to the way that God made you He doesn't make junk. If that means you've got geeky tendencies, be geeky and be proud of it!

What type of influences led you to become a consumer and author of Speculative Fiction?

That's a really good question, and I'm not sure I can answer it completely. All I can say for sure is that I've liked spec fiction stuff for as long as I can remember. My siblings and I used to watch the Star Wars videos regularly to the point where we had them memorized. When I was in junior high, I stumbled across novelizations of the original Star Trek episodes and that got me into Trek. And it was all downhill from there.
And even when I started writing, I was always writing speculative fiction. For example, when I was in fifth grade, a friend of mine and I wanted to collaborate on a book that would help raise awareness about the plight of farmers (this was back in the heady days of Farm Aid and the like). So she wrote chapters about how the farmer went into town to punch a banker in the nose. And I wrote chapters about how the farmer met crab aliens that shot lasers out of their eyes. I have no idea why our collaboration never worked out.

Your new novel, The Hive, releases on October 16th. Can you tell us a bit about it?

For a long time, this book had the nickname "the pregnant teenage cyborg book," mostly because that's what it is. It's about a girl named Zain who's part of a cybernetic collective known as the Hive. She's supposed to be an engineering drone, but one day, she finds herself separated from the Hive. Even stranger, she's pregnant. While she tries to find a way back home, she winds up on the radar of two powerful intergalactic governments who want to claim her baby. So she has to go on the run to avoid being captured.

Do you have a favorite character in The Hive?

This is going to sound strange, but I think my favorite character is Hopkins, the AI for Scorn's apartment. I had a lot of fun writing that character and he's one of my favorites.

There are some really cool technologies that pop up in the novel -- not the least of which are advanced AI and holographic computer tech. Do you think such a thing is probable in the real world?

I think it's definitely probable. Science fiction has a track record for envisioning technology that eventually becomes reality. Just think of all the things that Star Trek has predicted, from the original communicators, to flat screen computers that fit in your hand. So long as humans can imagine it, I think humans will try and create it.

I'll give you a break with an easy question: what is your favorite quote from a Sci-Fi source?

Oooooo, good question. So many choices If I have to pick just one, I'd go with "No, I am your father." I just remember being blown out of my seat when Darth Vader said that to Luke in Empire Strikes Back. It was such a great moment and remains a fantastic line.

I'll end with the question that I'm sure you were expecting: when can we expect Book Two?

Technically, it would be book three, since The Hive is a sort of a pseudo-sequel to Numb. But to seriously answer the question, as of right now, there is no official Book Three on the horizon. That isn't to say I'm not working on something. I'm in the middle of revising a first draft of a new story that would follow the events of The Hive and would feature characters from both Numb and The Hive. I'm liking how it's turning out, but I haven't shown it to anyone yet. Well, except for me wife, and that's mostly been, "This is what I've just written, let me tell you about it!"

John Otte is the author of the Failstate Series and the Ministrex Series. His latest novel, The Hive, releases on October 16th.

You can find John spreading geeky grace via the following social media:


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