No Song, But Silence
Series: Wind Tide (#3)
by Jonathan Nevair
Published: November 18, 2021 by Shadow Spark Publishing
Genre: Space Opera, Science Fiction
CW: death of parent (mentioned), death of sibling, graphic violence and death, blood, trauma, genocide, colonialism, terrorism, executions
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The tide of justice ebbs. A mysterious and reclusive superpower threatens to extend its reach, colonizing new star systems for Wind energy and spreading a corrupt political empire. The People’s Army, once the hope for a new federation of allies in the Arm, has dwindled to a mere spectator in the fight for political control. Ailo’s role in its revolutionary fervor is over. The esoteric philosophy of the legendary Cin Quinti is her only concern now. But when an unimaginable threat sends a political shock wave through the Arm she must weigh the cost of self-preservation, hiding in the shadows as civilization falls to despotism and tyranny.
Light years away on Kol 2, a young librarian grows inspired by a mentor’s clandestine teachings. What he discovers with the newfound knowledge reveals a moral avalanche. The dubious and cruel political power corrupting his society must be exposed, but it will take a leap of faith to challenge an empire.
1. Tell us a little about how this story first came to be. Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma or something else?
The Wind Tide series started with a voice – Razor speaking first-person in the opening chapter of Goodbye to the Sun. From there, a world grew around that opening passage. I tend to be very visual and sensory based in creating content for my books. Most of the settings derive from mental images or feelings, often these come in the form of light, color, and sound. I’m all about mood. But I will say that the series overall tackles issues of morality, and that’s a concept and dilemma that runs through all three books – the struggle of family vs. state responsibility, one’s obligation to others in society, and struggling to consider the consequences of forms of justice that aren’t based on personal vengeance and retribution (and that includes broader ecologies as well as human relations).
2. What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?
That the last book in a trilogy is hard to write! You have many responsibilities to readers in that final book. You need a story that stands on its own but also connects to the previous novels, even if only through central themes or a few characters. Add to that the need to make it have a dramatic climax and resolution to not just the one book but all three books that work as a larger narrative. I didn’t realize just how many promises I’d made to readers in the first two books, and I learned that it’s very hard to weave a tight story fabric in that last book in a series.
3. What surprised you the most in writing it?
Characters that pop up while writing! Ferra came out of nowhere and ended up being a key player in the story. Sometimes while writing your fingers type a person onto the page and you are like, “oh hello, who are you?” I’ve learned to welcome those surprises and not fight them – it’s your subconscious sending you signals that someone needs to be there. Ferra needed to be there (don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t say more on that).
4. If it’s not a spoiler, what does the title mean?
Ahhh… I can’t say because it would spoil it! I can share this: it comes from a line in Antigone by Sophocles (which is the inspiration for Book I: Goodbye to the Sun).
5. Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?
Absolutely! (And no they don’t know) I’ll also never say who they are. Jati especially is based partly on someone who was a unique thinker and psychic life adventurer who didn’t adhere to limits or restrictions that many others do in our world. Since the series is based on Greek sources, many of the characters in all three books share aspects with people in the earlier texts but none are direct re-castings.
6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?
Oh, absolutely. All three books do, in fact. Though again, I am hesitant to share them. They relate to themes about personal vs. state responsibility, a struggle with forms of justice that go beyond revenge, ecological ethics, and a need to respect differences and work toward collective futures by breaking out of longstanding intellectual binaries.
7. What is your favorite part of the book?
The end! It’s everything I wanted it to be and yet, it terrified me for the longest time not knowing what it would be and how it might turn out on the page. I’ve read it too many times with editing stages etc, but it still gets me every time (eyes watering thinking about it now…)
8. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?
Lazro, for sure. He goes through a series of transitions and transformations in this book, both ethically and culturally, and it was difficult to express in writing what he kept and what he lost in that process throughout the story. I had a difficult time with his personality because he is fairly reserved and even-tempered. It’s much more difficult for me to write a character like that than someone who is snarky, outspoken, or daring, etc.
9. What are your immediate future plans?
I’m writing a standalone space opera that will release next November 2022 (Shadow Spark Publishing). I’m pretty excited because it’s an opportunity to write a story in a new setting that will go from start to finish in a single novel. I’ve also got a short story dropping in the next few months and I’ll be appearing on a podcast in January about world building in space opera with other authors I greatly respect and admire so that should be super fun.
From the moment he saw Star Wars: Episode IV in the theater as a child, Jonathan’s eyes turned to the night sky and the capability of FTL drives to whisk him off to distant star systems. After two decades of academic publishing, he finally got up the nerve to write fiction and bring those worlds to life.
Jonathan lives in southeastern PA with his wife and rambunctious mountain feist, Cricket. When not writing and teaching, he spends his time chasing his dog through the woods and hoping he’ll be able to walk in space before he croaks.
Jonathan Nevair (he/him/his) is the pen name for Dr. Jonathan Wallis, Professor of Art History at Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia