Five years after introducing us to the Princess Leia-esque Hail Bristol in Behind The Throne — the first book of The Indranan War trilogy — sci-fi writer K.B. Wagers is bringing Hail’s story to a close with Out Past The Stars (paperback, Kindle, audiobook), the third and final book of The Farian War trilogy. In the following email interview, Wagers talks about the entire two-trilogy saga, the final chapter, and what’s they’re working on next.
Photo Credit: Donald Branum
For people who haven’t read any of these novels, what was The Indranan War trilogy about, what is The Farian War trilogy about, how are they connected, and when and where do they all take place?
Oof that’s always such a tall order. [laughs]
The Indranan War trilogy is about gunrunner Hail Bristol, who’s actually a princess of the Indranan Empire. It’s about family and revenge, starting when Hail is dragged home to take the throne because her sisters have been murdered and her mother is slowly going mad. Hail had her own reasons for leaving home, but we see that nothing is as it seems and she must make a choice: leave Indrana to the vicious people trying to take over or fight for her people.
The Farian War sees Empress Hail attempting to settle into her new role, only to be derailed by an impending war between two immensely powerful alien races. A war that threatens humanity and takes Hail down into the depths of her own personal hell. Chronologically, it starts about six months after Beyond The Empire, the end of the last book in The Indranan War, and the connection is really only that we’re continuing to have a peek into Hail’s life.
And then without spoiling anything, what is Out Past The Stars about, and how does it connect to the previous book in The Farian War trilogy, Down Among The Dead?
[laughs] It’s so hard to talk about this without spoiling anything.
Out Past The Stars picks up right where Down Among The Dead left off: on a bit of a cliffhanger. Hail has just discovered that [SPOILER] and now has to contend not only with trying to bring peace to the warring Farians and Shen, but prepare for an even bigger threat that is bearing down on the galaxy.
When in the process of writing Down Among The Dead and the first book of The Farian War trilogy, There Before The Chaos, did you come up with the idea for Out Past The Stars?
You know, I didn’t? We had a pretty rough outline we were working with from the get-go, but these characters and this story constantly threw things into my path that I wasn’t expecting. (One of the hazards of working with gods, monsters, prophets, etc., I suppose) The one constant of Out Past The Stars is that nothing is as it appears, which was a theme that’s been present for all three books of this trilogy.
All of the previous books, in both trilogies, were sci-fi space opera stories. Is Out Past The Stars one as well?
Out Past The Stars is a space opera the same as the others.
Are there any writers, or maybe specific stories, that had a big influence on Out Past The Stars but not on There Before The Chaos, Down Among The Dead, or The Indranan War trilogy?
Not really? I don’t tend to read much of anything at all while I’m in the process of writing because I’d rather avoid influences. Though the sub-conscious does what it wants.
How about non-literary influences; was Out Past The Stars influenced by any movies, TV shows, or games?
Pretty much the same here. I did play a lot of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey while I was writing this book, but I can’t recall any specific point where it may have bled into the story.
As you know, there are people — myself included — who have been waiting for Out Past The Stars to come out so they can read all three in The Farian War trilogy in a row. But do you think this is the best way to experience this story?
It really comes down to what readers prefer when the actual reading happens. I can tell you that you won’t have the pain of waiting for the next book after the cliff-hanger endings of the first two.
And for someone who hasn’t read the Indranan War books, would you suggest marathoning all six novels back-to-back?
I mean, it would be quite the feat. Reading them back-to-back like that would potentially highlight the differences between the first trilogy and the second. The Indranan War is a bit more action based, while The Farian War has a lot of political maneuvering involved, making the story slower at times.
Though I assume people should read the trilogies in the orders they came out…
A reader could read the two trilogies out of order, starting with The Farian War and then going back in time to read the other without being too lost. But there are some spoilers and you get a deeper sense of the relationships if you read them in order.
Now, back when we did the interview for Beyond The Empire [which you can read by clicking here], the third book in The Indranan War trilogy, you had already announced The Farian War trilogy. So, I have to ask: Is there going to be a third trilogy?
Sadly, no. We don’t have any plans for more Hail novels at this time.
Dang it. Why not?
I adore Hail and love the world, but it’s time to move on. Maybe at some point we’ll revisit the world and have some new adventures but I’ve got some other projects to focus on.
By which I assume you mean the sequel to Pale Light In The Black, the military sci-fi novel you put out last year around this time. In the interview we did about Black [which you can read by clicking here], you said the sequel was going to be called Hold Fast Through The Fire. Do you know yet when that will be out?
Hold Fast Through The Fire is out July 27, 2021. Though it’s not really a sequel as Pale Light In The Black is a stand-alone, but it’s set in the same universe with some of the same characters and chronically it happens after that book in the world timeline.
In the interview we did about A Pale Light In The Black, you said that you started writing that novel right after you finished writing Down Among The Dead. Did you also then go right from writing A Pale Light into Out Past The Stars?
I had a lot more time to work on Out Past The Stars, so A Pale Light didn’t have a whole lot of influence. Rather, I spent a good chunk of time at the beginning of 2019 rereading The Indranan War and the first two books of The Farian War trilogies. I wanted to make sure that I was dealing with everything I wanted to in the series since I knew we were saying goodbye.
You also said in the interview that there was nothing in the works as far as an adaptation of A Pale Light In The Black was concerned, but that David Barron, who had produced six of the Harry Potter movies, had optioned Behind The Throne, as a possible TV series. I assume not, given the pandemic, but is there any news to report?
I don’t have anything I can share, though there has been some movement and I’m very excited about the future.
If that TV show does happen, who do you want them to cast as Hail and the other main characters?
Oh, so many of my fan castings are wrapped up in other projects right now or no longer quite the right age for these characters. I’m also aware that my job is just creating the characters and the world on the page. Translating that onto the screen creates a whole new story. There are people out there who know the logistics and such of filming and that the actors chosen need more than just looking the part. I am looking forward to seeing who they pick. It’s unlikely I’ll have any influence in that decision but if I do it’ll be a remarkably interesting step in the process.
Finally, if someone enjoys Out Past The Stars, and they’ve read both trilogies and A Pale Light In The Black, what sci-fi space opera trilogy of someone else’s would you suggest they read next?
Honestly with those limits there’s nothing I can suggest as I haven’t read any completed trilogies lately. Of the few books I managed to read this year most of them are either series that are just starting or stand-alones.
So instead, I have one of my favorite books of the year: The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson, which is a mind-bending story about multi-verses. You can only travel between worlds if the other version of you is dead, and Cara is very good at dying.