Author Spotlight: Nicholas Eames
Joining us for today’s Author Spotlight is Nicholas Eames!
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 probably writing at this very moment.
Find him online at nicholaseames.com.
Today’s spotlight takes place as we wander a deserted, week-old battlefield. Flies and wasps swarm the ruined corpses, while crows and ravens raise their wings and caw possessively each time their feasting is disturbed. The stench is unbearable . . . and things are only going to get worse. Unbeknownst to our author, a herd of trampling demonic cows are on their way to the battlefield – possibly to avenge their fallen brethren. Only by answering our questions will Nicholas get access to the magical Hiveguffin Scenario Randomiser(™), and possible escape.
Will he survive? Keep reading to find out!
Let’s start small: tell us about a great book you’ve read recently!
I’m currently reading THE UNHOLY CONSULT, the final book in R. Scott Bakker’s ‘The Aspect-Emperor’ series. There’s an epic battle unfolding that is several-hundred pages long, and no one does them quite like Bakker. Every page is filled with paragraphs of jaw-dropping beauty and mind-blowing scale. As the culmination of six previous books, the stakes couldn’t be higher. It makes Aragorn’s assault on Mordor look like a sand-box fight by comparison.
Okay, time to escalate things: reality warps and you suddenly find yourself leading a D&D-style party through a monster-infested dungeon. What character class are you, and what’s your weapon of choice?
Hmm…I’d say I’m a multi-classed thief, bard, and wizard. A wizard because my weapon would be an endless barrage of ‘magic missiles’, a bard because I like to tell stories (obviously), and a thief because I once had a serious case of kleptomania and BOY was I good at it!
When you’re not trawling through dungeons, do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Why?
Type. I revise over and over and over while writing (which is why I’m so damn slow at it) so I need to be able to erase words and fiddle with paragraphs until their cadence is just right.
And how do you like to work – in silence, with music, or serenaded by the damned souls of a thousand dead shrimps?
Admittedly, I haven’t yet tried writing to the sound a dead-shrimp-serenade, but I usually listen to music. Occasionally ‘epic’ playlists, but more often (while writing my current series, anyway) 70’s or 80’s rock. While I love 80’s music, the 70’s stuff was way better to write to, since it was less bombastic and more ethereal. I also listened to a lot of ‘synthwave’ stuff while working on Bloody Rose, which is just awesome—especially for action scenes.
Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or in a deep-sea diver’s suit? Tell us something unusual about your writing method!
I’m typically a pantser, though I may try plotting a bit more in the future. I think I’m unusual with how unbelievably slow I am. I know other writers who bang out thousands of words in an hour or two, but I’ve consistently worked for 12-18 hours in a day and never, ever written more than 1600 words. Ever. I tend to nit-pick every paragraph, and need every sentence to sound just right—which is essentially a waste of time, since even doing this I end up with something that needs lots of revision. Alas, that’s my reality. That said, I’d like to try and get better at drafting something rough first and going back to polish it later.
What are your most significant non-book fantasy influences?
Video games, most notably Final Fantasy. Historic figures (Hannibal, Alexander, Xenophon) also factor in from time to time. Also, I find fantasy art—from creatures, to characters, to epic vistas—really inspiring.
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
Stranger Things 2. And once you’ve seen the first season there’s really no other choice but to watch the second. It was fantastic.
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write or otherwise do any work. How do you choose to spend the day?
Welcome to my last two weeks! Since turning in the first draft of Bloody Rose I have been doing NOTHING with my days except catching up on all the books and video games I’d been putting off all summer and fall. It’s been blissful.
If you could choose one punctuation mark to be made illegal, which would it be and why?
Huh. I’m a fan of them all, in fact—even the semi-colon! Though I have occasionally read books where an author uses an exclamation point in what should be a passive narrative and it bugs the shit out of me. (i.e. “It was a market day they would never forget!” Ugh.)
In no more than three sentences, tell us a little something about your current work in progress!
It’s about a band of very flawed but essentially good individuals whose circumstances leave them no other choice but to risk their lives in pursuit of glory. Along for the ride is a young bard who discovers there’s more to being heroic than she’d once imagined. Also: zombies.
If you could co-write or co-create a series (like The Expanse, or the Malazan Book of the Fallen), who would you choose to work with and why?
Great question. I think I’d work well with other writers who use humour often, like Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch, and Sam Sykes. However, I’d have loved to work with Terry Pratchett and try to tread intellectual water with a giant like that.
Also, one of my very best friends—Bryan Cheyne—is a great writer. We’ve done a lot of world-building together, but never more. I’d love to collaborate with him on something someday.
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
The best would be to set aside a finished project and start on the next. Unfortunately, I didn’t listen, and worked on the same (unpublished) book for many long years! The worst? Well, lots of people wanted the music references taken out of Kings of the Wyld. Would it have worked as a story, still? Sure. Would it have been as awesome? No freakin’ way.
If you could visit any country at any point in history, where/when would you go, and why?
Either ancient Rome (because glory and orgies and glorious orgies) or Moorish Spain, which was something of a bastion for learning and sharing knowledge before the Europeans stormed in and fucked all up.
Every writer encounters stumbling blocks, be it a difficult chapter, challenging subject matter or just starting a new project. How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
I suppose I just plug away at it. It’s not fun, but often the most beautiful lines will arrive at the end of gruelling sessions. That, I think of how hard my creative friends (writers, artists, photographers) work at their craft, and draw inspiration from them.
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
While not obscure, The Traitor Baru Cormorant should perhaps be even more popular than it is. It’s a masterfully crafted book, with great characters and a complex, twisting plot. It’s one of the best books I’ve read, ever. Also, Jay Kristoff’s LOTUS WAR series is extraordinary and, I think, under-read.
Finally, would you be would you be so kind as to dazzle us with what we like to call a ‘shark elevator pitch’? (It’s exactly the same as an elevator pitch, but with sharks. Well, one shark. Which, by the way, is currently picking between its rows of teeth to try and dislodge the remains of the last author who stepped onto its elevator.)
Ahem. So: why should readers check out your work? A shark elevator pitch of your own book(s) in no more than three sentences – go!
My books (all two of them) are like Guardians of the Galaxy with swords, monsters, and vengeful, bunny-eared immortals. And sharks, obviously. What are you waiting for? Go get’em!
We’ve heard fantastic things about them! But Nicholas . . . that herd is getting closer. Can you feel the thunder of their hooves? Hear that eerie, demonic lowing? Thankfully, having now answered our questions, you may now activate the magical Hiveguffin Scenario Randomiser™!
. . . You lose consciousness and awake hours later in your own bed. There’s a dead, naked wizard beside you. Good luck explaining that one away.
Well, this is awkward.
Nicholas Eames is the author of KINGS OF THE WYLD, book one of The Band, out now from Orbit.