Kell Inkston is the author of Nocturna League series, Voidstar Empire series, and most recently Courts Divided series, all set in the Omniverse he created; as well as Breath series, which are short stories in a different setting (link to the author’s website). The reading list of Kell Inkston’s complete works are at the bottom of this page, in a reading order, together with covers and Amazon purchase links.
This author is one of my most recent, and one of my proudest literary discoveries. I fell in love with his Nocturna League series and since then have read almost all of his published works. Kell Inkston’s writing style is quite unconventional, giving each of the characters a unique voice and a three-dimensional appearance. Apart from being perfectly consistent in his story lines, world building and character development, he possesses a beautiful expression and satirical inclination, as well. The author graciously agreed to answer several questions about himself and his writing.
Q1: Please tell us a bit about yourself. What made you become an author and how did your life change since you published your first novel, and then of course numerous subsequent novels and short stories?
A1: Hi there, Myriam! Thanks so much for having me!
I’ll first state (for the sake of avoiding any confusion) that I try to remain pseudonymous in my writing, so I apologize in advance if I can’t get too in-depth with what I have to say.
To answer what really made me an author is a tough question. It just sort of happened to me one day that I should make something for the betterment of the world, and I figured that crafting a narrative would be the most effective way to do it. Words are the clearest message we have next to physical action, after all, and you can’t be everywhere at once; though your books can.
I became an author at a fairly early age inside my teenage years. I smashed out the original version of Kingdom Slayer, a high-action fantasy adventure featuring several of my most important characters. The book came in at a lengthy 144,000 words, and soon after finishing it, editing over many times, and taking it to market to publishers, I found it was simply too long for most first time authors. I had written something practically unpublishable because the printing costs associated with printing a complete unknown would be too risky for a book of that size, especially considering it was all I really had to show.
Many years later, here we are! I’ve published a good deal of books myself via amazon.com, and have little libraries of my writing scattered about at least a dozen places on the internet.
Q2: I love your author website, it is quite different than the usual author websites, as is your little avatar. What was the inspiration for your website, the avatar, and how were they created?
A2: Thank you! I wanted to go for a more minimalist approach to web design, considering most of the site would be writing based (as a writer) I wanted to avoid “salesy” vibes on my website, because I feel like it doesn’t really communicate who I am very well. I understand that many authors get great success by having pop-up opt-ins and static landing pages and all that, and maybe one day I’ll consider it, but for now I like keeping it simple, ink on paper and as relatable as an unknown person on the internet can be.
As for the avatar, I’m afraid I’ll have to pull back a little for that one. Kell (the character, not me as the author) is someone you’ll meet in the stories to come, and I hope you like him! He/it was carefully designed, from head to toe, so I’d dare say I’m proud of how Kell looks. Sorry I can’t say more about this, there’s just a lot about it buried away in secret at the moment.
Q3: You have the funniest and the most entertaining short story in the newsletter subscribe section of your website – Subscribe of Die! (link to the author’s newsletter). What inspired you to write it?
A3: I wanted to have a humorous draw-in for my email list, to try and get readers to subscribe so I could have them join my beta reader team, street team, etc.. I also wanted to write something sort of spooky, but in a tongue and cheek sort of way. I went through my typical creative process and eventually decided it would be funny to have some partially-stereotypical teenagers from the American 80’s try to solve the dark mystery of my evil id counterpart: Kill Bloodstain!
The objective was to write a story in a fairly campy 80’s horror movie style, while still doing some tongue and cheek deconstruction of the thematic. It was super to put together!
It didn’t take very long to write, either; lasting only about three days on my keyboard, but I was pretty proud of the result. I was worried that the heavy referential humor and parody might come off as offensive to some, but it turns out that everyone who told me they read it really really liked it. Maybe I’ll do a full novel about it one day; just depends on what the readers want, I suppose.
Q4: Your latest novel Woodcastle was recently released, and two more books have been announced. How did you come up with the idea of such a mixed genre series and such exceptional, original and versatile characters, as well as the whole idea of Omniverse (which I will ask you about in detail in one of the following questions) and the space gates? I mean, how does one come up with characters like Negative Space Exploration and Research Minion or Ambient Atmosphere Creation Minions, not to mention all of the less complicated ones? And your necromancers are different than any other literary necromancers, what was the inspiration for all of them?
A4: Whoa, now this is going to be a lengthy one!
Woodcastle has been a labour of love for roughly three years, which started out at a stray NaNoWriMo project. Of course, I couldn’t tell the whole story in just 50,000 words, so I stretched it out to something much closer to fantasy length.
The plotting and thematic for most of the story was pretty easy, as I had already written out the world and setting over the course of several previous books.
Did I mention that my first book Kingdom Slayer had three sequels? It did! It was a four book series, and I didn’t try to publish any of them until they were all done, because I really, really didn’t want to have inconsistencies. I’m a little more lax on mistakes now, but that’s mostly because I don’t usually have those kinds of accidents anymore unless it’s a new world and series. That said, I still do try quite hard to deliver an immersive experience and a believable world within its bounds.
Coming up with creative ideas that made sense in the world was truly a step-by-step process. Most of these things I had put together down the road writing the four novels in Kingdom Slayer’s series: Worlds Divided.
The space gates have been a hallmark of the novels since the very first one, it’s just how people get around. I had to ask a whole lot of interesting logistical questions regarding that, of course, because so long as a person knows a gate code, they’re more likely than not just able to put in the code and go to the corresponding gate, like a telephone that’ll take you anywhere. I loved the idea of trans-dimensional travel, and I figured that sorts like Overlord Chaos and Royal Knight Order would be wasted talents if they didn’t tangle with allies and enemies all across causality. This led to a few very big “why” questions that I’ll answer throughout the books, so just keep your fingers crossed!
Overlord Chaos’ Minions are a fun sort. Once he infests (or infuses, as they might say) they are conscripted into his service as about eight tenths of the creature or person they used to be, with the other two parts replaced with a full love and adoration for their dark master.
This leads to there being about as many minion varieties as there are minions, and Chaos, with his sort of one-track mind, figured having them each be great at one specific job would be the most efficient way to go about running his network of dimensional towers, known by most as Towerne. By the way, it was Naming Stuff Minion who came up with the name, as it is her sworn duty to come up with good or at least okay-sounding names when his mighty darkness isn’t quite in the mood to do so.
As for the necromancer, I really had to reach deep into the bag for them. I wondered for a while just how cool it would be if necromancers could instil animation on just about anything, from old, dead organic matter, to less-expected things like furniture and flora. The idea was that by making their own bodies out of whatever they so pleased, they could gain an effective, if time-consuming form of immortality, as they would have to continuously craft bodies out of what they had available, and only the most skilled of necromancers can control their forms with any dexterity resembling a human. You’ll find out much more about them in Gravetower, which I’m going to try to get out in June!
I hope that answers the question well enough!
Q5: Nocturna League is one of my favourite series ever written. If I am not mistaken, this is your first series in Omniverse? I feel like saying that it is written in your signature mixed genre style. Some of the characters are quite unusual, The Captain, Boris and the rest of the sea sorts. What inspired you to create such an unusual world filled with such unusual characters? I mean, all of your books are beautifully unusual, but Nocturna League has won my heart with its originality, Boris is my favourite character, and then The Captain and Grancis closely follow. Can you tell us more about these and other characters, and the world of Eversea?
A5: BORIS WOULD BE OF THE VERY GREATFUL FOR YOU OF THE SAYING OF SUCH THINGS!
Nocturna League is probably the favourite series I’ve written, partially because I still have a lot I still want to do with it, and I really have a soft spot for the characters.
It isn’t technically the first series I have written, nor chronologically, but it was the first I released any fair volume of work on, so I often consider it my first officially.
I wanted to pull in a great many inspirations I had, but also mix them with other things I loved. Perhaps that’s not a very literary or sensible reason, but there you have it.
I usually “50/30/20” my book’s overall influences. The big “50” is from my previous books and the overarching plot of the work as a whole. The “30” is usually something I find really cool and want to try, like my own spin on a thematic, or a world, or something of that nature. The last “20” is my magical tone-shifting bad writing juice that I chug every morning, it’s the one that causes all my mistakes and stabs me in my little metallic shins when my guard is down.
Anyway, considering the “world” of the books is a compiled group of dimensions, it would only be fair to continue adding new worlds and themes to it. There is a big reason why all of this is happening to these characters, but I can’t tell you yet. I can’t tell anyone anything yet about the beginning of the Rondian Space Gates or the great impending doom looming over these poor souls.
That said, I wanted to try a “Lovecraftian” adventure, that would be heavy on the weird feelings, while still being an exciting read you wouldn’t be ashamed of sharing with your friends. I try to push the characters (The two girls especially) into increasingly crazy territory to dialog on just how valuable it is to be a human, and just what being a human means in the first place. I also think it’s super cool, so there’s that. Alongside the eldritch vein I had to include a lot of characters to make it a full crew, but I didn’t want to make it too scary, because then the series might capitalize on just bad vibes, and I wouldn’t really feel right with that. The result is a very silly, very cool series, that every now and again grabs the reader’s shoulder and says “Oh way, look at that super strange thing amidst this unironically fun and normal scene. I guess now you better overthink this, huh?”
It’s been fun, and I’m definitely going to write a lot more.
Q6: Voidstar Empire is a space adventure, of currently two books and a prequel, with three more books announced. It is also set in Omniverse, filled with even more unusual characters, and has a more serious tone. The main character Cole is incredibly unlikable, yet you managed to make the reader care about hitm. Can you tell us more about the setting and the characters, what was the inspiration? Where does it fit with the other two series and what is the connection with the initial two short stories Ketairne and Solution? And, of course, if you can tell us a bit about Cole, without giving spoilers.
A6: Voidstar Empire is another series I’m super proud of. I wanted to try and write something a little more in the popular reading vein, and I knew that military sci-fi was in at the time, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.
I messed up, and wrote a Sci-fi adventure with heavy military themes instead. : :’
I really do like the books and I think they have something great to offer most readers.
Insects are cool, though! And it really got me to thinking how I would populate a full sci-fi universe all my own.
A small pet-peeve I have with a lot of fantasy and sci-fi presentations is that when crafting a race, the writers or artists always have to simplify the idea. Like they’ll have a race of say, otters people, but they act exactly like the homo-sapien characters. I won’t say I didn’t do this too (I totally did,) but I figured for this series I would construct a society and caste-system expectant of an insect species that evolved to the point of advanced humans. That said, They have partial human sensibilities, but there’s a lot in their society that we would find horrific but they wouldn’t bat a pseudo pupil at.
That said rather than keeping the focus wholly on shooting the dickens out of some stupid backwards alien race, I did that while also pacing in and out with some commentary on inter-species relations and all that good typical sci-fi stuff.
Also I’m glad you don’t like Cole. You’ll continue to not-like-but-still-sympathize-with-him for a little while. I’ve pushed back the other books in the series until I have get around to them, though, so you may have to wait a little while for the next instalments.
Both Solution and Ketairne take place after this series.
Last thing, Cole has a whole lot to do with another character from another series.
Q7: For now, it is obvious that all of the series we mentioned until now are set in Omniverse – Courts Divided, Nocturna League and Voidstar Empire and each of the series comes with its own set of unique and original characters, depending on which part of the Omniverse they occupy; only humans are constant. Where do you get the inspiration for so many different creatures, and what can you tell us about Omniverse? Can you add more details than you already mentioned in the books without giving spoilers? Are we talking multiple worlds, planets or dimensions, or all of the above?
A7: Uh oh, I’ll try to explain it as best I can in the space allotted.
I grab my inspiration for writing from absolutely everything to be quite honest. I take it from lots and lots of real life situations, but also pieces of media like books or movies or games. I’m not really into imitating fully, so I’ll usually just steal one thing I kinda like and make it into something I love, and then its all mine! *cue evil laughter and honking noises*
That said, The Omniverse is actually a compilation of every “lower” dimension to ever exist, alongside the spaces that occupy the zones between these dimensions (subspace), and even those within the mathematical negative axis of them (negative space). These lower dimensions is 99% of the characters live out their day to day lives, completely unaware of the greater and grander scope of things beyond them.
On a layer above that we have the “higher” dimensions, known by the few that are aware of it as “The Foot of the Mountain”. These higher beings refer to the lower dimensions as “The World of the Pools” as to travel to one directly one must hop in the realm’s corresponding body of water.
Yes, it’s very, very referential.
In this Foot of the Mountain is multiple kingdoms, each one a domain over a full field of reality.
For instance there is Dreamlend, the kingdom that rules over the inspiration of knowledge and the subconscious collective. It is through this great thought form that Dreamlend’s rulers instil knowledge upon those in the Lower Dimensions. This is why things like Latin, toasters, and the writings of Shakespeare exist in so many dimensions, each one thought they were the ones to come up with it!
That’s just an example, there’s lots and lots more to learn about The Omniverse, or as I like to call it, the Ink Realm!
Q8: The last but not least, you published two short stories Paper, and Nail, which are the only two of your stories which are not part of Omniverse. They are written more in the style of bed time stories. What I liked most about these two stories was how they focus on the dangers of ignorance supported by peer pressure. What inspired you to write them and will there be more short stories in the Breath series?
A8: I’m glad you like them! I’m still undecided if I want to go forward with the series, but I do have a “fourth” episode written already, because it’s the fourth town chronologically. I think I will finish it up, but probably not anytime very soon.
I thought that paper being an object of both liberation and enslavement would be a really interesting idea to play with, and I just took it really far and tried making a whole world about it. The setting is technically post apocalyptic, so I think that’ll be a good twist if I ever go on with it.
Q9: What kind of books do you like to read?
A9: I read self-help and how-to books nearly every day. I really like seeing how other people solve their problems in one way or another, and then maybe applying some of those solutions to my own situations.
Second to that are fairy tales and classical fiction.
Third would be postmodern fiction. I really really like it when people push the medium, and I’d like to try it out someday as well! It always comes to a shock to me when I think about all the things I haven’t tried yet. Life is truly a mysterious and blessed thing to allow the existence of art, I think.
Q10: What have you planned for the readers in the next couple of years?
A10: I’m going to try to push roughly three shorts and three novels minimum each year, but I want to do more. I suppose here’s hoping that I sell a ton of books all of a sudden and can start writing full-time, but until then people will have to make do with a steady pace.
They can expect to see Courts Divided finished this year, probably one to two episodes in Nocturna League, and a few short stories.
Also, I’ll be rolling out audiobooks fairly soon. I’ve been in the works with a very talented producer, and I think I may have finally found the one. We’ll see, fingers crossed on that, but I am hopeful that my readers may soon be listeners as well!
Thank you so much for having me!
List of complete works of Kell Inkston
Nocturna League Series
Original, fresh, satirical, gripping, addictive series about the adventures of the ship Nocturna’s crew sailing on the Eversea, which is set somewhere in the author’s Omniverse. I am not sure about the genre or the mix of genres applied. There is a ship and a crew but I don’t think they are pirates, but I am not sure. There are humanoid creatures called seasort but that is exactly what they are land-walking humanoid sea creatures, they are not shapeshifters. Then there is magic, but it is not clear where it’s coming from. I was sold the moment I saw the covers which are basically the same with minimal variations for all five books, and I still have no idea why, I was just convinced that I have to read this series. After the first book, I was quite angry that I had to make a break, because I really, really did not want to stop reading.
I think Boris is my favorite for now with Grancis and The Captain close second. But rash Colette and Dunk the sharkman I like as well. But to be honest, I’m just dazzled with everything, the whole concept, plot, characters, writing style, the world, weird creatures, Eversea, mysterious ending of each book, the way covers are just variations of the same theme…
More books have been announced.
Voidstar Empire Series
This is another series set in the Omniverse, but more of a sci-fi genre, with a lot of space ships and aliens. The main character is highly unlikable Cole, and the series follows his adventures. Without a doubt, it is another great addictive series that makes you care about the unlovable character, and eagerly read on to see what happens next.
Insurgence (Voidstar Empire #3) – Announced
Emergence (Voidstar Empire #4) – Announced
Ascendance (Voidstar Empire #5) – Announced
Sci Fi Short Stories
These stories are only related by Omniverse and re-count two unrelated events, first one about a mission gone wrong on a planet that should have been left alone and the second one is a philosophical contemplation of humanity v. A.I within a recount of one event of the encounter of two space ships and their crews, somewhere in the Omniverse.
Courts Divided Series
Series following the adventures of the Royal Knights while they try to keep peace and protect their realm from Lord Chaos. The series is set in another part of the author’s Omniverse. The main character is Meeo, Knight Love, accompanied by her best friend and the most impressive mage of the Omniverse, Knight Order. There is Knight Law, Meeo’s adopted son and dragon halfling, and an array of interesting characters. And of course there are Lord Chaos’ Minions. Lots and lots of Minions.
Bonefort: Courts Divided Book Two – Announced
Bloodkeep: Courts Divided Book Three – Announced
These two books are true original fairy tales about magic, ancient legends, heroes, Dark Overlord, magical objects and the dangers of ignorance. Truly unique stories, written in a beautiful way of Kell Inkston, encompassing all of his uniqueness and originality, as well as unexpected twists and unexpected heroes.
There was an announcement of a new series in Omniverse.