Every Tuesday, get to know a bit about the stories behind the books you love, and discover your next favourite novel.
Sabitha: Nick Wilford’s here to tell us about Reckoning, the last book in the Black & White trilogy. Nick, take it away!
Nick: Reckoning is the last part of a YA dystopian trilogy entitled Black & White. The series explores two nations, Harmonia and Loretania, one of which is spotlessly clean while the other is full of dirt and disease. At the beginning of the series, the residents of each country are unaware of the other, until my protagonist Welles makes a discovery that unravels the secrets the government of Harmonia has been keeping. Through various twists and turns, in this last part we find the members of that government on trial for what amounts to genocide.
Sabitha: How did you choose the title?
Nick: I don’t really choose titles, they normally suggest themselves at a certain point – usually after the first draft is finished! This was definitely one of those cases. Reckoning suggested itself and was a natural fit for the story, so it stuck. It comes up in the work of Terry Pratchett, my favourite author quite a bit, in the phrase “There will be a reckoning” – in other words, a judgement, someone is going to get what’s coming to them. It’s got a great sense of foreboding to it, and obviously it suited the narrative of the courtroom and the former government being on trial.
Sabitha: You have good taste in favourite authors! What was your favourite thing to write in the book?
Nick: I enjoyed what happens to my main character, Welles, in this book. It’s the last part of the trilogy, and for most of the series he’s been this beacon of goodness, standing up for what’s right and striving to change things. Without wanting to give away spoilers, in this last part he becomes compromised, through no fault of his own, and goes off to the wrong side, which really jeopardizes what his partner, Ez, is trying to accomplish. I wasn’t sure whether or how I was going to bring him back, and I really enjoyed that sense of peril, things going wrong, which creates the stakes and tension in the story. I’m like a lot of writers. For some reason, we like being sadistic and putting our characters through hell!
Sabitha: What advice would you give to someone who’s writing or querying?
Nick: Can I tackle both? It’s really important to keep them separate. When you’re writing, you should try not to think about querying or about how someone else might receive it. That can be hard to do, but when you’re drafting you need to think of it as telling the story to yourself first. Without outside pressure, you’ll enjoy it a lot more, it will be more authentic, and that will hopefully translate to the reader. If you start thinking about what someone else will think, or about trying to write to trends, it’s a sure way to cripple your creativity and momentum. When it comes to querying, the most important thing to do is keep busy with something new rather than obsessing over responses, which is easier said than done!
Sabitha: Thanks for sharing your story and your process. We’re looking forward to reading! Where can the Night Beats community find you and your book?