Q&A: John W. Otte
Minnesota pastor John W. Otte doesn't write normal stories. Which, for his readers, is good. Very good. His latest novel, Failstate is a Y.A. story about teenage superheroes on reality television. Sound odd? It is... but it's a lot of fun!
WHAT INSPIRED YOUR BOOK FAILSTATE?
There was a day when I was feeling a lot like Failstate. I felt worthless, talentless, and jealous of someone else and his abilities. I realized how silly I was being and I started meditating on 1 Corinthians 12. I told my wife about how I thought there was a story there somewhere, and she suggested that maybe it could be about superheroes. The rest of the pieces started falling into place after that.
WHEN MAKING UP STORIES, HOW MUCH DO YOU DRAW ON YOUR OWN LIFE EXPERIENCES AND PEOPLE YOU KNOW, VERSUS DRAWING ON RESEARCH ABOUT COMPLETE STRANGERS?
It’s about half and half. Like I said, with Failstate, it was based on my own feelings and some of the characters are based on what I’ve seen. But I’ll also do some research to flesh out the other characters.
IN YOUR NEW NOVEL, WHO IS THE CHARACTER IN THIS STORY WHO SURPRISED YOU MOST?
In Failstate, I think it was Veritas. When I started writing the book, I didn’t have much of an idea of who he was or how he’d turn out. He quickly became one of my favorite characters. The same thing is true of Titanium Ram. He’s kind of silly, but he makes me smile.
WHAT DO YOU WANT READERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR BOOK?
That God is the one who gives us our special gifts and abilities, and that we’re stronger when we work together rather than get worked up over who has what gift and why.
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
I’m working on the sequel to Failstate. I still don’t have a title for it yet, but that’ll show up eventually. I’m also editing a book I’m calling Hive about a pregnant teenage cyborg. Yes, I write weird stories.