It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Writer Wednesday post, but I’m really happy to be back with one (and a v entertaining one!) for Maura Milan’s Eclipse the Skies!
This is one of my favorite series of all time (amazing character dynamics! so much action! space glory!) and it’s so exciting to be able to interview these characters, who are some of my favorite!
If this is your first time reading a character interview from me (and an author!), well, you’re in for a treat, because this one is amazing. I feel like we got a really good balance of character dynamics, worldbuilding, and plot that you get a perfect taste of Ignite the Stars and Eclipse the Skies.
Writing this was like writing fanfiction, and I really hope you enjoy this fluffy look into this wonderful space duology (but hopefully longer one day? haha jk,,, unless?). Enjoy!
Vicky enjoyed her new gig. After traveling the universe in search of some steady work, settling for a little backwoods gray planet with basically nothing going for it (not even its name, Armpit) wasn’t how she thought she’d end up settling, but something about it felt right.
She’d been working as a bartender/dishwasher/waitress at Nowhere Ramen for a few weeks now, working with Kami, the tall gray-haired woman who was her boss/manager/chef. She got a place to stay (albeit kind of dark and cramped), a steady job (there was no one else here), and got to meet a lot of new people (interesting . . . characters). And after all that adventuring, it was really nice to be able to settle down.
Plus, she was able to eat the universe’s best ramen whenever she wanted, formed under unique gravity conditions that weren’t even disclosed to Vicky. It was basically a win-win situation.
It was another regular night of serving archnol and ramen to patrons when the rumble of a jet parking echoed outside and the fabric flaps covering the entrance were pushed open. Multiple figures were silhouetted in the light of the entrance, and for a moment, Vicky felt a twinge of fear reminiscent of the colonizers and dictators she’d seen over the years.
Instead, a group of young looking people walked in and crammed themselves into one small table by pulling up extra chairs. There was a Tawny girl with short cropped blue hair, a blonde boy, and a short girl with an intimidating stare.
KAMI: You’re back?
THE BOY: Couldn’t stay away from this place for too long. Food’s too good. Three bowls of the Classic please.
KAMI: Go over and give them these. And take your dinner break.
Vicky was still a little intimidated by her boss, and not just because of her height, but she nodded and brought the tray over.
VICKY: Here you go.
Vicky wasn’t the most hospitable, but normally people didn’t mind. They were here for the ramen, not the service, anyways. She set the bowls in front of each of them.
VICKY: Can I get you anything else?
THE BOY: Yeah, drinks! What kind of brew pairs well with The Classic? Probably something lighter, with notes of orange maybe?
THE SHORT GIRL (to Vicky): Don’t mind him. A round of whatever archnol you have. And keep it coming.
VICKY: So, three bottles?
THE BLUE-HAIRED GIRL: Not for me. Archnol gives me a headache. I’ll just take some H20 jelly if you have any.
VICKY: I’ll get your drinks, one sec–
Suddenly, Vicky’s stomach rumbles, and she feels an embarrassing heat rise to her cheeks.
THE BLUE-HAIRED GIRL: Seems like you’re hungry. Wanna join us?
Vicky eyed them a little skeptically. They looked friendly enough, but seemed like a close-knit group. But she was getting kind of lonely with only Kami for company, as much as she tried to convince herself otherwise.
VICKY: Um, sure, I guess?
Kami already had a bowl of ramen held up for her to take. She grabbed it and set it down beside Brinn. She left quickly going back to the bar to grab the bottles of archnol. Returning with them held between her fingers, she set them in front of everyone, who had already started eating, and pulled up a chair.
They didn’t really talk, just ate their noodles, and Vicky followed suit. Until the blonde boy burped and set down his chopsticks.
THE BOY: Do you know how many times I’ve dreamed about these noodles? Twice.
THE SHORT GIRL: That’s it? I thought you’d say a hundred or something.
THE BOY: I think two times is a lot. I barely dream as it is. Tell us how you make these noodles, Kami.
Kami glares at him.
THE BOY (to Vicky): Do you know her secret?
Vicky’s hand paused mid-air, right in the middle of shoving a lump of noodles in her mouth.
VICKY: Kami’s a little over-protective of her recipe. I take it you come here often. What’s your names?
KNIVES: I’m Knives. That’s Brinn and Ia.
Brinn gave Vicky a friendly wave while Ia stared at her, before going back to her noodles. Vicky stared back.
VICKY: Ia as in . . . Ia Cōcha?
Vicky looked nervously around.
BRINN (to Vicky): Don’t. You’ll only get her started.
IA: As in the Blood Wolf of the Skies, Sovereign of Dead Space, yada yada yada.
BRINN (to Vicky): See what you’ve done.
IA: Hey! I added the yada yada yada to lessen the impact. So what if I have a few titles here and there? You should have one too. What about Blue?
BRINN: Blue? That’s a color, not a nickname.
Vicky nodded, not sure what to say. But everyone here seemed comfortable, so Vicky just . . . accepted it and moved on.
VICKY: Uh, what brings y’all here?
KNIVES: Well, there’s this munghead named Einn who’s threatening to destroy the universe. He leads the White Hearts.
Vicky looked around, remembering that many of the patrons had recently added two white hearts on their clothing, as a form of fake loyalty in exchange for protection. Kami had assured her not to worry about it.
IA: Did you just call my brother a munghead?
KNIVES: It’s the truth.
IA: He didn’t always used to be like that. And then he tried to kill me. I guess you’re right; he is a munghead.
BRINN: We were on our way to some information dealers to see what we could dig up. I couldn’t even find anything on the ArcLite. Some news articles, but they don’t say much. This guy is like a mystery, like a gaping black hole that no one understands. Which makes him even more dangerous.
Vicky glanced at Ia. She suppressed a shudder at the thought of not even the Blood Wolf being able to stop Einn.
IA: If I was on my own, I would have found him by now.
Vicky noticed Brinn look away, face tense, after Ia’s words.
BRINN: You can’t do everything yourself, Ia. What would happen if you were injured, and no one was there to save you?
IA: Injured? Me. Trust me, Brinn, that would never happen.
BRINN: You really think you can win against Einn? One on one?
Ia was quiet.
Both of them looked on edge and ready to snap at any minute. Knives clapped his hands, sensing the tension everyone at the table was feeling.
KNIVES: So, how did you end up working for Kami? She doesn’t seem like the type who’d hire part-timers.
VICKY: I traveled a lot in the past few years, taking whatever work I could find, and I finally wanted something steady. I actually saw an ad for this job in a tiny outpost–bragging the best ramen out there–so I left on a whim and took it up. And here I am.
BRINN: What’s your favorite place that you’ve visited?
VICKY: That’s a hard choice, but I really loved the gentle hills and flowery landscape of Avra. Which is funny, considering how much I also love this rocky gray planet.
They all peered out of the grimy window, looking down the steep rock column that jutted off of the planet’s surface and held up the ramen joint and its parking lot.
VICKY: What about y’all?
KNIVES: The Harix Corridor.
Vicky: You went there?
Knives raised his eyebrows.
KNIVES: I raced there.
IA: Big deal. I did too.
KNIVES: I guess we’ll have to visit it together one day. And race.
IA: You’re on, and I’m not going easy on you.
KNIVES: Pshhh- I wouldn’t even want you too.
While Ia and Knives quibbled/flirted (was there even a difference??), Vicky turned to Brinn.
VICKY: What about you? Have you been anywhere interesting?
BRINN: I haven’t really traveled much. I grew up on Nova Grae; I really miss being home.
VICKY: So your family is still there….
Vicky trailed off at the expression on Brinn’s face.
VICKY: Sorry. I didn’t mean to get too personal…
Knives forced out a cough. It did nothing to dissolve the tension.
KNIVES: We all have our share of family problems. For those two, the wounds are pretty fresh; I’ve had it long enough that it’s already turned into a scar right here.
Knives tapped his head.
BRINN: We should get going. I figured out a way to get there even faster if we get some gravitational swing from a nearby planet. It’s massive, which means a bigger push.
Vicky set down her drink.
VICKY: Oh, of course! Sorry to hold y’all. Good luck with your search.
She stood up, collecting their bowls and bottles.
BRINN: Thanks, Vicky. It was really nice seeing a friendly face.
KNIVES: See ya next time.
IA: By next time, he means tomorrow.
KNIVES: The ramen is so good. You hear that, Kami?
Kami waves a dishrag at him from her nook of a kitchen.
Ia got up and brushed off her space suit. She followed Vicky to the bar where Vicky set the bowls into the sink and waited for she to scan her pay cube on the pay sensor. Vicky wrote up a handwritten receipt and handed it to her, scribbling a little smiley face on there.
IA: If you’re ever up for some mischief, let us know.
VICKY: Maybe I’ll take you up on that one day.
Ia smiled, and Vicky waved as they exited. An interesting bunch, they were.
This was so so lovely to read (I mean. I wrote part of it, but after Maura filled it out, it became even more lovely. As in looked like a legitimate post.) and I adore these characters with my whole heart.
I miss them so much after Eclipse the Skies and hope that you enjoyed this, whether this was your first introduction to the duology or a bit of bonus content after THAT. ENDING. (Or hopefully more books? One day? haha jk,,, unless?)
(I’m still haunted by that ending everything hurts please send help.)
And make sure to let Maura know if you enjoyed reading this! She put so much work into this and it couldn’t have been half as wonderful without her edits to my memory gaps (and like. actually answering the questions.)
More About the Book
Ia Cōcha never thought she’d be working for the Olympus Commonwealth. But that was before she found out her trusted brother Einn was trying to tear apart the universe. Now, Ia, the Blood Wolf of the Skies, has agreed to help the Royal Star Force on one condition: when she finds him, she gets to kill Einn herself.
Brinn Tarver has just come to terms with her Tawny identity when the public lashes out against her people, crushing her family. At her breaking point, she starts to question everything she believes in—including Ia.
After the death of his mentor, Knives Adams is doing his best to live up to a role he didn’t ask for as Aphelion’s new headmaster. Still, with each new step deeper into war, he feels torn between his duties and the pull of Ia’s radical—sometimes criminal—ideas.
As they fight to keep darkness from eclipsing the skies, their unpredictable choices launch this breathtaking sequel to explosive new heights.
More About the Author
Maura Milan currently resides in Los Angeles, where she can be found hanging out in cafes and drinking matcha lattes. In her free time, Maura enjoys watching Korean dramas and hanging out with her schipperke, Thor, who she believes should become a professional comedian.
To this day, Gilbert Blythe is her ultimate boy crush.