With Requiem Moon (hardcover, paperback, Kindle, audiobook) writer C.T. Rwizi is continuing the science fantasy saga he started in 2020 with Scarlet Odyssey. But as he explains in the following email interview, this second book is no longer the end of the story.
For those who didn’t read it, what was Scarlet Odyssey about, and when and where does it take place?
Scarlet Odyssey is an epic fantasy set in a world inspired by the cultures of south and eastern Africa. The main character is a young man who is scorned by his clan for his unmanlike ways, including his latent affinity for magic, which is believed in his society to be a feminine pursuit. The story follows him as he is forced by circumstance to openly embrace who is, including his magic, and then as he becomes an unwitting pawn in the intrigues of people much more powerful than he.
And then what is Requiem Moon about, and how does it connect, both narratively and chronologically, to Scarlet Odyssey?
Requiem Moon picks up immediately after Scarlet Odyssey, and continues the main character’s journey as he arrives at the gates of a foreign city — the largest city on the continent — where he is to serve as his tribe’s ambassador. But dangers await him there, and despite himself he is drawn into deadly intrigues to prevent a war that may spread to his tribelands. Along the way he learns some shocking truths about the city, and about himself, and why he was really sent there.
When in the process of writing Scarlet Odyssey did you come up with the idea for Requiem Moon?
I already had much of the plot of Requiem Moon figured out when I wrote Scarlet Odyssey. I wanted to give my series the feeling of continuity, to create plot threads that would span the whole series and set up an ultimately satisfying conclusion. I’m glad to say I managed to remain mostly faithful to my plans, though I had to make some significant changes to improve the story’s narrative quality. But there will always be changes. Sometimes the problems inherent in an outline don’t become apparent until you attempt to put words on paper, something true for all concepts in the process of being actualized. Some of the changes I made include trimming down on the number of characters and plot threads.
Scarlet Odyssey was an epic sci-fi fantasy story. Is that how you’d describe Requiem Moon as well?
Science fantasy is really the best description for this series, though Requiem Moon leans even more into the “science” part of this niche genre than the book preceding it. It still lies in the overarching realm of fantasy, though, so I believe it will still appeal to any fantasy purists out there.
Are there any writers, or specific stories, that had a big influence on Requiem Moon but not on Scarlet Odyssey?
There is quite a bit more political intrigue in Requiem Moon so in that respect I’d say it drew its inspiration from political science fiction and fantasy like Dune by Frank Herbert and Lord Of Light by Roger Zelazny.
What about such non-literary influences as movies, TV shows, or games? Did any of those things have a big influence on Requiem Moon?
Hmm. I suppose when I’d envision my scenes as I was writing them I’d take my cues from some of my favorite space operas, like Star Wars, Star Trek, and Stargate Atlantis. I particularly like how some of these movies and shows portray the discovery of ancient and lost civilizations.
Now, in the previous interview we did about Scarlet Odyssey [which you can read by clicking here] you said that it and Requiem Moon formed a duology. Is that still the plan?
It was a duology in the sense that I had a two-book contract at the time, but there was always a plan to write at least one more book. The series is in fact a trilogy, and at this stage I’m very confident I’ll be able to get a contract to add one last entry and complete the story.
So if you do get to write the third book, do you have a name in mind yet? And far along are you in writing it?
I do have a title in mind, but it’s not yet set in stone so I’m hesitant to announce it just yet.
As for how far along I am, let’s just say I’m quite far along. I know it’s a vague answer, but you never really know how far you are until you’ve reached the end of the manuscript. Some parts take longer to write than others. Some parts have to be tossed out and rewritten. Suffice it to say I’m working hard to make sure the book is delivered in a timely fashion.
People who write trilogies sometimes expand upon them with sequels or side stories. This is somewhat of a premature question, but are you planning to do that with Scarlet Odyssey and Requiem Moon?
I won’t close any doors. One never knows what the future holds after all. But I have other writing projects I’d like to get to after this series is over, so I suspect I’ll be busy with those over the coming years. But if there is continued interest in the Scarlet Odyssey universe, I certainly wouldn’t mind coming back to it. I’ve enjoyed every minute I’ve spent writing in that universe.
You also said in that earlier interview that if it was up to you, Scarlet Odyssey and Requiem Moon would not be adapted into a movie or TV show, but a video game. Specifically, a sprawling role-playing game like Mass Effect or Skyrim. Has there been any interest in that?
No interest in any adaptations yet,. I’d welcome a movie or TV series — who wouldn’t want to see their characters on the screen in some fashion? — but I’d still prefer a video game, if only because there hasn’t been one with an African inspired setting where the default characters are dark skinned and live in places people from my part of the world would find familiar. I think that would be epic.
Finally, if someone enjoys reading Scarlet Odyssey and Requiem Moon, what science fantasy trilogy of someone else’s would you recommend they read next while waiting for the third book to come out?
If you like my work you’ll probably like S.A. Chakraborty’s City Of Brass trilogy. It’s a brilliant story inspired by South East Asian, North African, and Middle Eastern mythology. It has tons of romance and political intrigue, and her level of vivid imagery and rich world building is something I aspire to in my own work.