Exclusive Interview: “Nightwatch Over Windscar” Author K. Eason
With Nightwatch Over Windscar (hardcover, Kindle, audiobook), writer K. Eason isn’t just ending The Weep duology she launched with 2021’s Nightwatch On The Hinterlands, she’s also ending the saga she originally started with her previous duology, The Thorne Chronicles: 2019’s How Rory Thorne Destroyed The Multiverse and 2020’s How The Multiverse Got Its Revenge. In the following email interview, Eason discusses what inspired and influenced this space fantasy horror novel, and why it’s the end of the story.
For people who didn’t read it, or the interview we did about the first book, Nightwatch On The Hinterlands, what is The Weep series about, and how does it connect to your previous duology, The Thorne Chronicles?
Nightwatch On The Hinterlands takes place on a backwater planet called Tanis, which happens to have a Weep fissure running through it, and so is prone to surges of monsters from the deep layers of void. The Weep is the legacy of a massive interspecies war, in which the losing side’s arithmancers accidentally tore a hole in space-time while they trying to destroy all their enemies. So now the multiverse has a rip in it, and there is a whole organization called the Aedis whose job it is to protect the Confederation (and everyone else) from the monsters that come out of the Weep.
That’s all background. The story is about the Aedis templar, Iari, and the vakari diplomat and arithmancer, Gaer, trying to solve a murder that looks like it was committed by a riev, one of the decommissioned battle-mecha who are supposedly incapable of violence. In the process, they discover a lot of sinister arithmancy, and many more challenges to what they believed possible.
The Nightwatch novels take place well after the events in The Thorne Chronicles, but definitely in the world Rory Thorne helped to shape. The various species we met in Revenge (alwar, tenju, vakari) play central roles. We also see what happened with the aftermath of the whole Rose situation, with nanomecha fusing with people. And we learn a lot more about the vakari from Gaer’s perspective.
And then for people who have read Nightwatch On The Hinterlands, and can thus ignore me writing SPOILER ALERT, what is Nightwatch Over Windscar about, and when does it take place in relation to Hinterlands?
Windscar takes up after Nightwatch leaves off, with Iari and Gaer and a squad of templars looking for the wichu separatists’ hideout in the steppes of desolate Windscar province. They find the hideout…and a lot more than they expected. Old arithmancy. New monsters. A much wider, more urgent threat to the Confederation than they’d realized.
When in the process of writing Nightwatch On The Hinterlands did you come up with the idea for Nightwatch Over Windscar, and what inspired this book’s story?
Windscar was always part of the plan, though it was intended at first to be two books. It just made more sense for the story to make it one.
Nightwatch On The Hinterlands was a space fantasy with a bit of horror, while How Rory Thorne Destroyed The Multiverse and How The Multiverse Got Its Revenge were fairy tale fantasy space operas. Is Nightwatch Over Windscar like Hinterlands, is it more like the Rory books, or is it some other combination of genres?
This one’s much more space fantasy horror, but without the murder-mystery element from Nightwatch On The Hinterlands.
Are there any writers or stories, that had a big influence on Nightwatch Over Windscar but not on any of the other books?
What about non-literary influences; was Nightwatch Over Windscar influenced by any movies, TV shows, or games?
A little Halo, a little Mass Effect, a little D&D.
And how about your cats, Tinycat and one you call both Murdercat and Skugga? What influence did they have on Nightwatch Over Windscar? Also, why does the new cat have 2 names?
There are actually three cats in this household. They don’t really influence my work, other than to interrupt it when someone wants food or attention. Since Iari’s a cat person, they do sometimes prance through the pages. Or lie inertly on beds or laps. Or knock things over.
All three cats have an Internet name that describes a key feature of the cat: Murdercat is adept at hunting, Tinycat is particularly petite, the Patchwork Terror is opinionated, athletic, and too smart for anyone’s good. This dual-naming thing is because we have a habit of naming cats in foreign languages. Tinycat’s name is Louhi, who’s the Queen of Tuonela in Finnish mythology. Murdercat is Skugga, whose name just means Shadow in Swedish (and he is, in fact, the cameo-cat in Windscar). The Patchwork Terror’s name is Orion; he is the exception.
As we’ve been discussing, Nightwatch Over Windscar is the second book of The Weep duology, which is the sequel to The Thorne Chronicles duology. In the interview we did about Nightwatch On The Hinterlands, you said you had no plans for more books in this saga. Is that still the case?
I have no plans, though I remain open to the possibility of future installments. I get a little restless if a series goes on too long. I’ve got some ideas percolating for a new, unrelated story, but nothing I’m ready to talk about yet.
Now, along with Nightwatch Over Windscar, you’ve also been rereleasing the books of your On The Bones Of Gods series: Enemy, Outlaw, and Ally. What is that series about, and when and where do these stories take place?
On a meta-level, it’s about the past never staying dead, and about reckoning with legacies, and the limits of choice. More immediately, it’s about ghosts, literal and metaphorical. And dragons.
It starts with a burned village, a cartel enforcer and heretic named Snowdenaelikk, and a chance encounter in the forest with an outlaw named Veiko, who saves Snow from the legion soldiers who are after her, but in so doing discovers that he can see the dead. Then Snow realizes why the village burned: a god purged by the Illhari Republic has returned, and she wants her Republic back. And revenge. And Snow and Veiko are squarely in her way.
Enemy, Outlaw, and Ally are out now as eBooks, and will be available in paperback on February 14th of next year. Are these versions of the books the same as the originals, or did you change anything?
These are the same texts as the original. I told the story I wanted to tell.
Do you think people who’ve enjoyed The Thorne Chronicles and The Weep would enjoy the On The Bones Of Gods trilogy, and vice versa?
Yes. Stylistically, On the Bones of Gods is more like The Weep that The Thorne Chronicles. It’s fully a fantasy: pre-industrial, but not specifically northern European. There’s a republic and legions like Rome, but there are also nomadic tribes. Politics. Two kinds of magic.
…and a whole lot of character-centered action and tension and politics.
Lastly, if someone enjoys Nightwatch Over Windscar, they might want to take a break from all the epic genre mashery you do. So, what stand-alone sci-fi and nothing else novel or novella of someone else’s would you suggest they check out next?
I’m a sucker for world-building. So let me recommend The Grief of Stones by Katherine Addison (with its predecessor, Witness For The Dead, in the same world as The Goblin Emperor). I love the pace of these books, the meticulous attention to detail…they’re subtle, and they don’t go out of their way to explain the world. Immerse and pay attention, and you will be rewarded.
For fantasy with a fascinating world-build, Flames Of Mira by Clay Harmon. This one’s a wild ride with a unique magic system. [For more about Flames Of Mira, check out this interview with Clay Harmon
As for straight-up sci-fi: Ren Hutchings’ Under Fortunate Stars which is a time-travel story deftly told. [For more about Under Fortunate Stars, check out this interview with Ren Hutchings.]