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Wednesday, September 7, 2022

COVER REVEAL Q&A: Eleventh Cycle by Kian N. Ardalan (interviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

 

Official Author Website
Pre-order Eleventh Cycle over HERE
Add Eleventh Cycle on Goodreads
 
Today is a fantastic day as we are thrilled to showcase the cover reveal for Kian N.  Ardalan’s Eleventh Cycle. This is the start of a new series for him and based on the blurb sounds fantastic. Read our Q&A to know more about the start of The Mistland series & what to expect from it…
 
Q] Welcome to Fantasy Book Critic Kian. To start with, could you tell us what inspired you to be a writer in the first place?

KA: Thanks for having me! It is such a great opportunity.

To be honest, becoming a writer was never planned. I always saw something creative for me in the stars. Funnily enough, a high school English teacher of mine once predicted I would become a writer.

I remember just writing on a subreddit calledwritingprompts and garnering a lot of attention. That was when I realized I could do this for a living and the rest is history.
 
Q] Why did you choose to go the self-published route?

KA: Again, never planned. I didn’t think I was ready to publish, but had readers who were genuinely keen of my work. I decided to release it for anyone else who would also like a look as I didn’t want to go through agents and publishers. I did not expect the reception that I got. It landed me an audiobook deal and a residency writer position.
 
(Art by Nino Is & design-typography by Shawn T. King

Q] The artwork for Eleventh Cycle is beyond dazzling (to say the least). What were your main pointers for your cover artist as you both went through the process of finalizing it? What were the main things that you wished to focus on in it?

KA: The cover came together in two parts: the artist and the designer. But throughout it all, there was one key point I wanted to be present. The book was Dark Souls inspired, so the art also had to deliver on this aesthetic feel. Both the artist (Nino Is) and the designer (Shawn T. King) created something beyond expectation.
 
Q] Let’s talk about how Eleventh Cycle came to fruition? What was your inspiration for this fantasy story?

KA: Dark Souls. Dark Souls. Dark Souls. (And Hollow Knight)


I loved playing these games which delivered story not overtly through dense dialogue, but rather through seemingly unconnected pieces. When properly observed, these pieces would come together to reveal an ineffable depth. I yearned for a book, which did the same; giving you all the pieces to a world and allowing its hidden stories to come through as an epiphany.
 
Q] Can you tell us more about the world that Eleventh Cycle is set in? What are the curiosities (geographical, mystical, etc.) of this world?

KA: Eleventh Cycle is set in Minethria and the realm in question stretches only as far as the bordering mist allows, after which it is nothingness. Religions have sprouted after the onset of the forgotten; people who vanish entirely from existence without a trace and their memory is stricken from folk’s mind. As oblivion comes ever closer, the Inspired evoke magic through art forms and colour-mages use their paint.

There is so much world-building that I struggle to sum it all up, but it is all being watched over the rising moon and sun; both of which are the Elder King’s eyes.
 
Q] Is Eleventh Cycle going to the first book of a series? What can you reveal about your plans for the series (number of books)? Is there a series title?

KA: Eleventh Cycle is the first book of the Mistland series. I plan somewhere between four and five books (depending on how I wish to stretch out a certain series of events).

The very first book begins with the birth of a new Seed and continues on to explore the events of this cycle. There is more than eleven thousand years of buried and altered history and in true Dark Souls fashion, I wish to uncover its secrets.
 
Q] Can you share something about the book that is not mentioned in the blurb and why should fans should be excited for this new story?

KA: One thing I am incredibly proud of is the effort I have put into disability representation. I feel as if it is often done dirty in fantasy (through healing magic or glossing over the consequences). Through lots of research and talking with disabled people (who also served as sensitivity readers) I believe and hope I have done the community justice.
 
Q] For someone who has not read any of your novels, how would you describe the type of stories that you write?

KA: It feels rather self-aggrandizing so I will instead paraphrase what my girlfriend has said:
"Your characters tend to feel real as they explore their very human struggles and your books are always exciting. You cover important contemporary topics through your work as well. On top of that, your prose and imagery is very picturesque.”
Who am I to question her?
 
Q] You also have previously released a novella and a standalone fantasy novel. What can you tell us about them?

KA: Both of these works have a lot in common with each other but differ so much from Eleventh Cycle.

My novella and standalone fantasy novel began on writingprompts after I was urged to continue what I had begun, and they both play with the concept of fairytales. The novella Dragon's Heir being an alternative take on the fabled dragon and princess, while The Fantastically Underwhelming Epic explores the duality of fairytales (the whimsical and the grim) with a lot of laughs.
 
Q] In closing, do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to share with our readers?

KA: The world has changed much in the last few years in the face of the pandemic. If you don’t wish to seek refuge in any writing of mine, I implore you to find something which makes you happy and satisfies you.

The greatest of fantasy can be an allegory for human existence and I hope that Eleventh Cycle does this concept justice.

Stay safe out there! And thanks again for this amazing opportunity.
 
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(Cover art by Nino Is & design-typography by Shawn T. King

Pre-order Eleventh Cycle over HERE
Add Eleventh Cycle on Goodreads
 
OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: It has been a thousand years since the last Seed abandoned their duty. The mists are closing in. Finally, the Morning Bell tolls. A new Seed is born, but is it too late?

The rot eats away at mortals. The Witnesses pray so that they may not turn into one of the forgotten. And the constricting mists infect the lands with fear.

But there is more to this tale than just the Elders and their Seeds. Four mortals will have a part to play in Minethria’s fate. A farmer girl with only love in her eyes. A warrior born to the life of a refugee. A highborn stuck between the realm of gods and men. And a woman running into front lines and away from home.

Will the cycle finally be completed? Or will the mist swallow all?

A seed is born and the evil is slain, so doth another cycle commence. Yet the last Seed born hath turned traitor, and the mists, which had been pushed back, returneth.


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