A lot of people have been talking about moving to Canada for some reason, but I thought it would be a great idea to interview an author from the land of maple leaves and Jim Carrey. Nicholas Eames's debut novel, KINGS OF THE WYLD released this week from Orbit Books and he staggered in to answer my questions.
SG - Reading the book’s description and adoring that awesome cover, KINGS OF THE WYLD gives me a sense of The Magnificent Seven/Seven Samurai among other gritty, old school adventure stories. What inspired the book?
NE - In a word, music. The original concept was a setting in which mercenary bands were afforded the celebrity status of rock stars, and everything sort of went from there. Also, 'Ready Player One' by Ernest Cline was what spurred me to write it. That book was so committed to being fun before anything else--it kept me smiling page after page, and I hope my book can do the same for someone else.
SG - This is your debut novel, how many had you written before?
NE - Just one loooong one, which, after several rejection letters told me that 270k words was too big, I pared into two separate novels. It wasn't a bad book, per say, but it suffered from pretty much every mistake a rookie writer can make. Regardless, I'm grateful for the lessons it taught me.
SG - What can you tell us about Clay Cooper?
NE - Clay Cooper is essentially two people. One is a monster, the product of an abusive father and a childhood poisoned by violence. The other is the man he wants to be, the one he feels is worthy of the woman he loves and the daughter their raising. The good half of Clay--the dominant half--is essentially the most noble, loyal, and selfless person imaginable. One reviewer recently compared him to Sam Gamgee, which was pretty much what I was going for.
SG - Some of the best stories involve old friends (and enemies) coming back together for one more gig, what was it about this type of plot that attracted you to it?
NE - Well, there's a great amount of fun to be found in referencing past exploits without going into detail, and something interesting (to me, anyway) about revealing a set of characters through the eyes of those around them. The bandmates in this book don't think much of themselves, but everyone they meet perceives them differently--either as old friends, bitter rivals, or heroes to be worshipped.
SG - Is KINGS OF THE WYLD a standalone novel or do you have a series in mind?
NE - Yes. And yes. There will be at least three books in THE BAND series, though each will feature a different band and be set in successive eras of my world's history. Each book will have a self-contained story, but there will be an arc of sorts running through them.
SG - Favorite scene from the book that you can tell us about?
NE – One of my favorite scenes is the beginning of Chapter Twenty-Five, which, according to the 'Soundtrack' section on my website, is paired with 'When the Levee Breaks' by Led Zeppelin. I had this song in mind long before I wrote that chapter, and tried to capture that scene in super-awesome movies like Armageddon where the cast walks side by side in slow motion. Now I don't usually like to toot my own horn, but I think I frigging nailed it.
SG - Best writing advice you ever received?
NE - Probably to take whatever you write first and put it in a drawer forever. Granted there are exceptions to this rule--people who write a masterpiece right out of the gate--but they are exceedingly rare. I thought I was one of them for a long time. I was dead certain of it. But it turns out I wasn't. Ultimately, only you can say when it's time to start fresh, but don't be afraid to try. At the very least it will make you a better writer, and if you're lucky...well, pretty soon you'll be doing interviews to promote your new book and wondering how in the hell this happened to you!
From the cover:
GLORY NEVER GETS OLD.
Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best, the most feared and renowned 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--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.