Today I am interviewing Nicholas Eames, debut author of the new fantasy novel, Kings of the Wyld, first book of The Band series.
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DJ: Hey Nicholas! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Nicholas Eames: Hi! Thanks for having me—I really appreciate it. A bit about me? I love books (obviously) but I also love video games, history, and hockey (I’m Canadian, after all). I’ve been an ‘aspiring’ writer for a long time, and getting published is quite literally my biggest dream come true.
DJ: What is Kings of the Wyld about?
Nicholas: It’s about five retired mercenaries who reunite to rescue the daughter of their leader, who is trapped in a city under siege. The setting is loosely allegorical of the golden age of classic rock, wherein mercenary ‘bands’ are afforded the celebrity status of rock stars. They have managers, are booked for ‘gigs’ (slaying monsters, saving towns, etc.) and are accompanied by bards, who are responsible for increasing their notoriety. Beyond the basics, however, it’s a book about the bonds of friendship, and the loyalty we have for those we love.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Kings of the Wyld, and The Band series?
Nicholas: Book-wise, Ready Player One was a huge influence, because despite its subject matter (which is geared toward a niche audience) it was told with such passion and excellent pacing that its appeal goes far beyond its intended targets. That’s something I tried to do with KINGS as well. Joe Abercrombie, Sebastien de Castell, and Scott Lynch are also favorites of mine, as they all combine ‘epic’ fantasy with humor and heart.
That said, KINGS was inspired primarily by music. Its characters represent the typical members of a rock band (right down to the axe-man) and many of its scenes were directly influenced by specific songs. There’s a fairly detailed ‘soundtrack’ on my website for those wishing to find out more.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Nicholas: I’m going to try and be brief here, but I love these guys like brothers, so forgive me if I gush.
The main character, Clay, is a (mostly) gentle giant with a sordid past. His primary weapon is, in fact, a shield, which he employs in defense of his bandmates.
The band’s leader is Gabriel: once brash and wildly charismatic, he’s since fallen on hard times since losing touch with his daughter, Rose.
Moog, their wizard, is bat-shit crazy. He’s been living in isolation for nearly two decades while searching for the cure to a deadly disease. In the meantime, however, he peddles his own brand of erectile dysfunction potions.
Matrick, a former (though not reformed) rogue and hopeless drunk, married one of the princess they rescued back in the day and has since become a king. Awesome, right? Wrong, except to tell you why would spoil the story.
Ganelon, their axe-man, and the band’s most capable warrior. Although they need him to cross the Heartwyld and rescue Rose, his former bandmates are pretty sure he despises them. Again, you’ll have to read to find out why.
DJ: What is the world and setting of The Band series like?
Nicholas: Grandual is divided into five autonomous courts and runs the gamut of environments and various cultures. It is bordered to the east by an ocean known as the Great Green Deep and to the west by the Heartwyld: a vast, monster-infested forest as large as Grandual itself. It’s a traditional swords and sorcery setting, with a few twists (skyships, anyone?) thrown into the mix.
The realm was once overrun by monsters, which in turn gave rise to the bands: mercenary groups of four to six men or women contracted to hunt monsters for a living. In between gigs, they drank, used drugs, and generally acted like hooligans. So, essentially: they were rock stars.
Now, with the Five Courts delivered from peril and the Heartwyld festering with dark powers, monsters are bred in captivity beneath colossal arenas. Instead of hunting creatures in their lair, bands, desperate to achieve the glory of those who came before them, fight for fame and fortune in front of bloodthirsty crowds.
DJ: Seeing as how the story is about a band of mercenaries, I feel it’s safe to assume that their will be some sword-play and fighting.
What do you believe makes a good fight scene?
Nicholas: Your assumption is correct! I think the secret to a good fight scene is putting the reader right into the action instead of simply describing it for them. When you’re in the head of a combatant, things seem more organic and less orchestrated, since you gain insight as to why they act and react the way they do. The surprises are more surprising, the desperation seems palpable, and the stakes feel higher. Also, a laugh now and then doesn’t hurt.
DJ: I’ve also read that each member has their own type of weapon?
Nicholas: Yes! The band in Kings of the Wyld is pretty much a direct representation of a classic rock band, and their weapons represent that. There’s Gabriel, the frontman, with his fabulous magic sword. Ganelon, the viciously capable axe-man. Matrick, who wields a pair of knives like drumsticks. Clay (our hero) whose shield, Blackheart, was cut from the corpse of a rampaging treant. And finally, Moog, who is essentially the keyboardist, or that crazy guy banging the triangle, or playing the flute, or just generally being weird.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Kings of the Wyld?
Nicholas: I really want to say listening to all those epic 70’s rock albums. I had no idea how incredible the music of that era truly was, and a lot of that music is less about the song itself and more about the journey it takes you on.
That said, discovering the characters was ultimately the most rewarding aspect. The innate goodness of Clay Cooper, the relentless positivity of Moog, the relationship between specific bandmates…none of these things were planned form the start, and having characters as colorful as these made the process of toiling on a book seem more like spending time with cherished friends.
I know…super lame.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Nicholas: You mean besides what an AWESOME MOVIE IT WOULD MAKE? My sincere hope as that they look back and think, “Damn, that was fun.” Also, as long as I’m thinking wishfully here, I hope they recommend it to people that think they don’t like fantasy books—there’s a lot of them out there. Personally, I love books that can entice others to recognize the joys of genre fiction. I set out to write such a book, but whether I succeeded or not remains to be seen. My mom certainly likes it!
DJ: What was your goal when you began writing The Band series? The Kings of the Wyld is only the first book in the trilogy, but is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across to readers when it is all finished?
Nicholas: Not a message, per say. Although there will be something like a story arc tying all three together, they are essentially stand-alone books, and each tells the story of a very different band, with vastly different group dynamics. Each of them, however, will be funny (hopefully) and sad (hopefully) and have something honest to say about friendship, family, and love—all of it under a guise of bloodshed, goblins, and vengeful gods.
Also, I’d love to draw interest to the music behind the books—especially Kings of the Wyld. If you don’t love Led Zeppelin yet, you should. Believe me, you really, really should.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Kings of the Wyld that you can share with us?
Nicholas: I’ve got a lot, but here is one:
“But what does a mirror know? What can it show us of ourselves? Oh, it might reveal a few scars, and perhaps a glimpse—there, in the eyes—of our true nature. The spirit beneath the skin. Yet the deepest scars are often hidden, and though a mirror might reveal our weakness, it reflects only a fraction of our strength.”
DJ: Now that Kings of the Wyld is released, what is next for you?
Nicholas: I’m almost finished the first draft of book two, and once that’s edited and out the door, it’s on to book three. In the meantime, I may go looking for a new day job. I’ve always wanted to write for video games, so I might start poking tendrils into the industry and see if I can get my foot (or tendril, rather) in the door. Again, wishful thinking—but hey,
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Nicholas: My pleasure! Thank you for asking them!
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*** Kings of the Wyld is published by Orbit and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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GLORY NEVER GETS OLD.
Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best — the meanest, dirtiest, most feared crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.
Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk – or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help. His daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy one hundred thousand strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.
It’s time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld.
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..