Nicholas Eames is the bestselling author of The Band series. Known for his humorous but heartfelt stories, Nicholas has made a name for himself in the Fantasy genre.
I was introduced to his first novel “Kings of the Wyld” when it was recommended to me by an exceptionally friendly staff member. Taking the book to the counter, all the other employees made comment on how great the story was – I had never seen this kind of consensus in enjoying a book before.
I quickly learned why.
Kings of the Wyld fast became one of my favourite books, and I am so glad that Nicholas kindly granted us some of his time to answer our questions.
Congratulations on your successes with Kings of the Wyld and Bloody Rose! I think we all fell in love with Clay Cooper. Will we be seeing more of the same family lines in Outlaw Empire?
Thanks for the kind words! And yes, you’ll be seeing pretty much everyone and their kids (literally) in the final book of The Band series. Gotta pull out all the stops, right?
Did you know where the storylines of Bloody Rose and Outlaw Empire were heading when you wrote Kings of the Wyld?
Not a clue, actually. I wrote Kings of the Wyld to be a standalone book, since it’s very much a story about a band’s last great adventure. Of course, fantasy readers (and agents, and editors) love a good trilogy, so while I devised the plots of books two and three shortly after finishing the first, it was important to me that each book feature a new cast of characters, so as not to devalue the point of the first.
What difficulties do you face writing the death of a beloved character?
Great question. When I wrote Kings of the Wyld I wanted it to be different from what I’d been reading for the last decade or so—which is to say books wherein the main characters could and would die at any moment. While this is a great tool for fostering tension and keeping the stakes high, I think it’s possible to do so while not killing off characters for shock value alone. That said, the death of one character can be a very useful tool for motivating another, which is why—Well, I suppose I’d better stop there…
You have said there is a lot of your relationship with your brother written into the friendship between Clay Cooper and Gabriel (I am paraphrasing). Have you used any other real world inspirations with any of the other characters?
I have. My brother was also the inspiration for the two-headed ettin, Gregor and Dane (although they’re named for the Allman Brothers). My brother lies—like, a lot—but always in service to telling a better story. I’d like to think that if I were blind and we were joined at the hip, he’d go to every length to make sure the world I “saw” was a beautiful as possible.
While plenty of other characters are inspired by music legends like David Bowie, Prince, or Pat Bentar, I’ve got a few friends who made it in as well. My friend Devon, who read the book three chapters at a time while I was writing it, was the inspiration for Larkspur, and Pete, the man-in-black who sits at the Riot House bar and radiates calm contentment, was based off of (and named for) a regular at my old restaurant who wore a Black Sabbath shirt every day of his life and remains the happiest man I’ve ever met.
Was the decision to start optioning The Band for television an easy one?
This isn’t something authors usually have a say in, unless they’re a blockbuster name already. So long as the people wanting to option the book seem capable and sincere about trying to get it sold to a studio, I think every author would jump at the chance. That said, 95% of the time the option amounts to nothing and the rights revert to the author after a few years time. There’s a year left on my own option, and I’m cautiously optimistic that good news is on the horizon.
Can you share with us how many drafts, rewrites, and unpublished novels you went through to be successful on your first novel?
Most authors write between four and six books before they write something worthy of getting published. Some nail it the first try. I wrote just one book before Kings of the Wyld, but it was huge (300k words). Way, way too huge to be published as a debut. I rewrote it several times over the course of about fifteen years before I gave up and tried something new. Luckily, that “something new” turned out to be Kings of the Wyld.
Which just goes to show: sometimes giving up on your dreams is the best way to achieve them.
Which novels absolutely have to be included when building a dream library?
Well, that’s very subjective, but there’s definitely a few books (and authors) that were extremely influential to me as an aspiring writer, so I’ll list them here. Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series, Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard Series (The Lies of Locke Lamora especially), and pretty much everything by Guy Gavriel Kay. His two-part Sarantine Mosiac (Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors) are the books directly responsible for my decision to try and get published in the first place.
Is your writing style a mad helter-skelter rush to the finish line? Or a methodical, well thought out process?
Neither! It’s actually a blind tortoise aimlessly wandering toward a distant goal. I write very, very slowly, and while the end product isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea, I choose every single word specifically. Literally every one. I’m even picky about the number of syllables in a sentence, and if it sounds nice when you say it out loud. That said, I don’t really plan anything ahead of time. While I usually know the ending and a few key plot points, I like to get there by the most unpredictable way possible, which means (for me, anyway) trying to surprise myself every chapter or two.
While this has worked well for me twice, I can’t say it’s an ideal way to write, since I’m beyond terrible at hitting deadlines. I’ll probably never stop trying to get better at it.
You have short fiction of your own (Sacred Semantics), was this a welcome change to write as opposed to novels?
It was fun, yeah. I’d never written a short story before, but I’m very proud of how it turned out. It’s always nice to know your “voice” as a writer can exists and thrive outside of the story you’re most well-known for.
What is on the horizon for you?
These days, Outlaw Empire (book three of The Band) stretches as far as my eye can see. When it’s finished, however, I’ve got some other stories in mind, and I’d love to try my hand at other mediums. I’m a huge fan of video games and comics, so I might try to explore the possibility of writing those as well. Fingers crossed!
Thank you very much! I appreciate you taking the time to answer all our questions.