Author Essay and Excerpt from Appalachian Overthrow, by E. E. Knight
Read what author EE Knight has to say about the pastand futureof his bestselling Vampire Earth series, which takes a new direction in Appalachian Overthrow.
Those of you who have been following the Vampire Earth saga have probably picked up on the pattern to the series. I tend to frame what I’m doing in threebook cycles, with the titles roughly similar.
Except they’re not always three books in length. I’m a bit of a purist, so I’d have to say the first four books, Way of the Wolf, Choice of the Cat, Tale of the Thunderbolt, and Valentine’s Rising established who my main character is and what he’s up against (I put Valentine’s Rising in the group because originally the storyline in Thunderbolt and Rising was to be covered in one novel, it just grew and grew, devouring scenes bloblike, and I had to divide it so the publisher could deal with something manageable). In those four books Val became a minor hero of the struggle to rid Earth of the vampiric Kurians, who are either farming or ranching humanity for their sustenance.
The second cycle involved Valentine’s fall from the position of prominence in the Resistance: Valentine’s Exile saw him moreorless kicked out of Southern Command, leaving it to Valentine’s Resolve to describe how he returns to the good fight after a period as a rather vicious and vengeful nomad.
The third cycle (Fall with Honor, Winter Duty, March in Country) built on some of his previous experiences and abilities as he was part of events that established a new Freehold in Kentucky, one unlike anything of its size in the world, a multispecies enclave that seems to have alarmed the Kurians to such an extent that they attempted to exterminate it in its infancy. Fortunately for the future, their efforts failed.
With Appalachian Overthrow, I’m starting a new cycle. Up until now, the books have been exclusively from David Valentine’s point of view. Like other lengthy works, some of the secondary characters in my series have gained quite a following of their own. Appalachian Overthrow will fill a gap in a fan favorite’s background, the massive and wise Golden One, AhnKha, Valentine’s “old horse” and the closest thing he has to a brother in my world. AhnKha fan mail (and art, I get a lot of drawings of him) runs twotoone at least over any of the other characters in the series, so I thought he deserved his own volume describing how he became a figurehead leader of a revolt in the Appalachian Coal Country and a more famous leader in the Resistance than his friend.
I really enjoyed writing AhnKha and exploring the idea of a firstperson journal which was revised and then published to correct other accounts (that exist only in my imagination) about events in the Coal Country. He’s no braggart about his experiences and is inclined to understate his own heroics. I hope AhnKha’s many fans out there will be pleased with his point of view.
Future books in this cycle will also tell a story from veteran spysaboteur Alessa Duvalier’s point of view as my group of resistance fighters takes a trip to the Baltic to attend a conference between all the Freeholds, before it winds up with a showdown with the Georgia Control, the largest and bestorganized Kurian Zone east of the Mississippi. Fans of David Valentine need not worry, he figures in all of these, although he’s only briefly on page in Appalachian Overthrow, as the period covered describes his long separation from his best friend.
I’m extraordinarily grateful to Vampire Earth and its worldwide group of fans. This series gave me that muchneeded first novel sale as a writer and has been my bread and butter for a decade now. After this set of three books, I’m hopeful that one more cycle, returning to David’s point of view for the big finish, will see things through one way or the other with the Kurian Order. I alternately look forward to and dread wrapping things up with David Stuart Valentine. He’s been a part of me so long I’ll find it difficult to finally let him go to a very welldeserved rest.