Author interview: Nick Eames

Author Interview with Nick Eames

About the author:
Nicholas Eames was born to parents of infinite patience and unstinting support in Wingham, Ontario. Though he attended college for theatre arts, he gave up acting to pursue the infinitely more attainable profession of “epic fantasy novelist.” Kings of the Wyld is his first novel. Nicholas loves black coffee, neat whiskey, the month of October, and video games. He currently lives in Ontario, Canada, and is very probably writing at this moment.

BP: First off welcome to The Book Plank Nicholas! Can you tell us a bit of who Nicholas Eames is? What are your likes, dislikes and hobbies?
NE:  Hi! Thanks for having me.  Nicholas Eames, huh? He’s a big fan of scotch, he likes his coffee black, and he loves the Ottawa Senators like a beaver loves wood (the Senators are a hockey team, in case you DON’T live in Canada, and beavers are…actually, nevermind—you wouldn’t believe me if I told you). As for hobbies: reading, writing, and video games top off the list, but if it’s awesome, I probably like it.
BP: What gave you the idea to start writing Kings of the Wyld?
NE: I’m not sure, actually. I remember thinking someone must have written a book wherein mercenary ‘bands’ were an allegory for rock ‘bands’, except someone hadn’t. Imagine my surprise!  

BP: Kings of the Wyld is your fantasy debut, writing one can be a daunting task, how did you start writing it?
NE: I’d actually written, as many authors do, another book before this one. It was long, overwrought, very serious, and will probably never see the light of day. With Kings of the Wyld I said, ‘Screw it, I’m going to write something simple, and sincere, and hopefully funny.” Lo and behold, what I ended up with was a way better book that was written in my own distinct voice. Do I wish I’d done so sooner? Yes. Do I regret the time I spent on the unpublished monstrosity? Not a damn word!

BP: There are a lot of Epic Fantasy books out there, on which front do you think that Kings of the Wyld stands out?
NE: I’d say it relies on humour more than most fantasy novels I know of.  And when it comes to books about swordfights and dragons and vengeful gods, it doesn’t so much reinvent the wheel as try to remind you how awesome the wheel was in the first place, before everyone started reinventing the damn thing! Also, it has the ‘rock-and-roll’ angle going for it,   

BP: Kings of the Wyld is to be released the 23rd of February, if you would have to pitch your book, how would it go?
NE: I’d approach whoever I was pitching it to and lock eyes with them.  “This is book about friendship,” I’d say.  “A book about love. A book about hope, and hopelessness, and adventure, and rock-and-roll.  It’s a book about country roads and dark forests and old ruins and frosty mountain peaks. It’s a book about courage, and fear, and vengeance, and redemption.”
“But—” they’d begin to say, probably intended to tell me how big their TBR pile is growing.
“FINE!” I’d yell.  “You’ve forced my hand!  My bad guy has bunny ears and there’s a wizard in one-piece pajamas!”
(At which point I assume they would snatch the book from my hands and run to pay for it.)

BP: If you would be given the chance to retract the book from publishing and make one final change would you do so? If yes which part and why?
NE: There will no doubt come a day when I read Kings of the Wyld and think: “I could have done that better”, or “I wish that part was worded differently”, but it hasn’t come yet. Instead, when I read it I think, “How the hell did I come up with this?” and also, “How the heck am I supposed to do it again?”

BP: Which part of the book did you enjoy writing the most?
NE: Probably the part right before the climax (insert climax joke here), which I had in my head since the very first page. There’s a loose ‘soundtrack’ to the book on my website, and the song for that chapters is Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Freebird.  I used to walk to work and imagine how the scene would unfold, and once I finally got there it was the easiest thing in the world to write.

BP: Were there any difficulties you encountered when you were writing Kings of the Wyld?
NE: Not really, no.  It was honestly a pretty painless experience.  There were a few times while editing that I got a little skittish about meeting a deadline, but luckily my editor, Lindsey, is a goddamned author-whisperer. She seemed to recognize whenever I was stressed and diffused it with relentless positivity.

BP: There are a lot of Wyld ideas in your book, horrible creatures, magical swords etc, is this something of a boys dream come true being able to write this?
NE: Funny you should use the word ‘boys’.  To me, the books greatest failing is that, aside from a few casual threats, it doesn’t exactly pass the Bechdel test (two women speaking about something other than a man) with flying colours.  Don’t get me wrong: there’s some great female characters in the book, and I think the story is one that appeals to both men and women, but I can and will do better in future books.

That said, after trying for ten years to write a book about war, politics, culture, and other self-important subjects, it felt pretty great to cut loose and say, “Damn it, there’s going to be monsters in this book. And magic swords. And skyships. Because all of those things are awesome!”    

BP: There are books that also feature these ideas but some go easily over the top, how were you able to keep it all controlled and balanced?
NE: I’ve got to give the credit to others on this one.  My editor obviously helped to make sure everything worked, as did my agent. Also, there was an agent before my agent that almost-but-didn’t take me on, but was tremendously helpful in shaping the setting—which went from ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ to a world with its own, though familiar, identity. I am grateful to them all.  

BP: The fantasy genre is very broad, what do you like most about this genre?
NE: Well, speaking as someone who still feels they’re on the outside of the bubble looking in, it seems that everyone—from the authors, to the editors, the marketing people, and everyone else involved in the process of putting books into people’s hands—is extremely supportive of one another. There’s a lot of love going around, and people go out of their way to lift others as they rise themselves. As for the books, I think there’s never been a better time to get into fantasy or sci-fi, which is great for readers, but bad for those of us wanting to snag a David Gemmel award.  

BP: Now that you Kings of the Wyld has been published by Orbit, do you have any other projects that you wish to pursue in the future?
NE: Nope, I’ll be retiring to the Himalayas as soon as I turn in book three! Just kidding! I’m not sure where I’ll go next—I suppose that depends on whether The Band, when all is said and done, affords me the luxury of pursuing new projects. I’d really like to write for video games at some point, and there’s a few book ideas clamoring for attention in this skull o’mine.  

BP: Who are some of the authors where you get your inspiration from?
NE: Guy Gavriel Kay (for eloquence and prose), Patrick Rothfuss (for small, beautiful moments between friends), and Sebastien de Castell (for writing action that involves the reader, and for his rapier—pun intended—wit).

BP: And finally, can you give us a sneak peek of what will be in store for the readers of Kings of the Wyld?
NE: I sure can! Go to wherever you find music and cue up The Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’. Have a listen—or, even better, close your eyes and listen.  As the song begins, imagine yourself soaring over an impossibly vast, monster-infested forest: The Heartwyld.  See there: that sprawling city just beyond the trees?  No, don’t go there!  That’s Conthas—it’s a cesspool—and we’ll be back there soon enough.  Head north instead.  Watch out for bandits and ignore that burned-down house beside the road.  Keep on until you reach the quaint little town of Coverdale, where a man named Clay Cooper has just finished his shift standing watch on the wall, and is eager to get home before dark…

There you are: all set for Kings of the Wyld

Thanks again for hosting me!


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