I am so excited to welcome John Otte to Lands Uncharted this
week! Author of the Failstate series and the Ministrix series, John
is also a pastor serving a congregation in Missouri.
Laurie and I had the pleasure of listening to John tell some funny
stories a few months ago, at our local ACFW (American
Christian Fiction Writer’s) meeting, just before he moved.
Shortly after that meeting, I purchased Failstate and enjoyed it
immensely. Failstate is an anti-superhero
book written with a comic-book flair. You can read my review of the Failstate series here.
Let’s hear from John about his two series, as well as his books in the works!
1. Thank you for visiting, John! First, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Absolutely! I’m a Minnesota-transplant to the Kansas City area. I’m a colossal
geek, a father, husband, author, gamer, and child of God (but not necessarily in
2. When and why did you start writing?
I’ve been writing in some way, shape, or form pretty much as long as I can remember. When I was in
elementary school,I created horribly drawn comic books. In junior high, I “graduated” to poorly
written novels. I’ve tried my hand at stage plays and screenplays. But I’ve
always come back to writing novels. There’s just something about writing a book
that resonates with me.
3. You recently moved from South Saint Paul, Minnesota (my hometown) to Blue
Springs, Missouri. What is the most striking difference between the two cities?
The heat! Seriously! My family moved in early February and, within the first week,
we hit 70 degrees! And for the past two weeks, we’ve had temperatures in the
high 90s. People keep telling me that this has been an unusually warm year,
which makes me all the more nervous as July and August are approaching.
Related to that, while we were moving, one of the local movers found my roof
rake in our garage. He asked if I ever worked with concrete. When I said it was
a roof rake, he wondered aloud if it was for scraping off shingles. When I
explained what it’s really used for, he looked so confused!
4. Do you have any tips on moving you could give our readers?
Don’t do it in winter if at all possible, especially if you’re moving to or from Minnesota. The last two
times my family has moved, it’s been in winter (once in December, and this last
time in February). I keep promising my wife we’ll never have to do that again,
but I’ve already broken my word once.
5. You’ve written the Failstate trilogy, two supplemental Failstate books, and the two
Ministrix books so far. You’ve submitted another book and are working on the outline
of yet another! Tell our readers a little bit about what they can expect from the
Failstate trilogy as well as the Ministrix series.
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In Failstate, you can find the adventures of a teenage superhero who saves
the world in spite of his lunk of a big brother. With the Ministrix series, it’s
a space opera (think Star Trek) about a future where the church has become
extremely legalistic and violent. The only alternative is an atheist regime
that’s hostile to all expressions of faith. The stories in that series are of
people who are caught between the two in some way.
6. When you think of all the characters you’ve written, is there one you like the best, or
one that you relate to the most? Why?
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created him in a computer game many years ago and then “imported” him
into the series. He’s just a lot of fun. The one I relate to most, though, is
Failstate. I think I put a lot of myself into him when I created him as a
7. Besides being an author, you are also a pastor. How does being a
pastor affect your fiction writing?
In some ways, it makes it difficult, simply from a time
management perspective. Being a pastor is not a 9-to- 5 type of job; it’s very
difficult to eke out the time I need to actually write. But it also gives me an
interesting perspective since I write Christian fiction. Lutherans don’t quite see
eye to eye with a lot of other denominations, so I’ve tried to bring a different
perspective to my stories.
8. Here at Lands Uncharted, we love Top 3 lists. Could you humor us and give us your
list of Top 3 fantasy lands you would like to visit?
Okay: 3) The Star Wars universe. I’ve been a Star Wars fan for almost as long as I can remember,
and I would love to be able to visit that world for at least a little bit, preferably as a
Jedi (although not during the Clone Wars, for obvious reasons).
2) The Star Trek universe, mostly because I’ve always wanted to try out a holodeck and see
what it can do.
And finally, 1) Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn world. If you
haven’t read these books, you absolutely should. Sanderson is a master at
fantasy worldbuilding, and it is so incredibly cool.
9. What is next for John Otte? Can you tell us a little bit about your current work in
Well, right now I’m kind of between projects. I’m waiting to hear from
my publisher about one idea and, while I’m waiting, I’m taking a stab at my first
fantasy novel (at least, my first in a while; it’s been ten years since I’ve tried
this). The story at my publisher is another Ministrix book and tells the story of a
crew of thieves and grifters trying to steal the most sacred object in that
universe. The one I’m working on right now is the story of a young woman
who’s part of an acting troupe and who desperately wants to be a hero, either on
stage or in real life.
10. Would you leave us with a favorite line or passage from one of your books?
Boy, that’s a tough one. But if I have to choose, I’d go with the opening lines of
Failstate: “Being a superhero was hard enough. Being one on reality television…
Why had I thought this was a good idea?”