Get to know Mythrill author Cyrus Bales — the author of Saltbreaker.
Tell us about your writing? What is your process?
With every story I write, I think about not just the narrative, but what I want that narrative to say about the wider world. Before I start writing the text of a chapter, I have to have planned out exactly where the story is going and why. All my work is heavily allegorical and I want people to enjoy the narrative as characters but also have more to think about if they want to analyse it deeper.
In terms of my process of sitting down and writing, I have deadlines for myself and make sure I meet them. It's far easier to edit and fix a chapter once you've got the content down, so I always push myself to get the text down to specific timeframes, then refine it later.
Who would you say are your influences in writing?
I think Terry Pratchett is probably the greatest author in human history. His ability to create detailed social commentary within interesting stories is pretty much unparalleled. Whilst his work is obviously more satirical and humorous than mine, that intertwined nature of strong narrative and allegorical insight is something I strive for. His ability to describe characters and develop them is also incredibly aspirational.
One of the book series I come back to often though, is The Death Gate Cycle by Weis & Hickman. The quality of world building in it is magnificent, not just in it's totality but the manner in which it's slowly drip-fed to the reader. Margaret Weis even has a signed copy of my first book that I sent her due her influence on me.
Lastly, as a modern fantasy writer, it's impossible to not be influenced by Brandon Sanderson, even if I am behind on reading his prolific level of releasing books.
Did you have previous experience with Serialized Fiction before you partnered up with Mythrill or did you have to adapt to the format?
Before Mythrill, and before writing my first novel, I worked as a scriptwriter and had written a few serialized pieces of work within the satirical comedy genre. It was obviously a little different from what I'm writing now, but a useful piece of experience on my journey here. My first novel was also split into five acts in an attempt to force the reader to put the book down and take a while to think about what they had just read. I think breaking a story down into specific chunks improves the experience of it, which we can see in the difference between how weekly TV shows tend to capture the public's imagination more than a regular Netflix binge.
What has been the experience like seeing your characters come alive in Lore Cards?
As a mixed race person with an Indian background, my people are not necessarily represented in modern fantasy literature as much as they should be, especially in the West where all too often a fantasy world is just different version of Europe. With my work I address that balance and don't feature any white characters at all so it's been really heart-warming to see Indian representation through the beautiful artworks that are being produced. Also giant sea snails the size of galleons, because who doesn't love seeing an awesome monster!
You got 2 sentences to hook a reader into your story. Go!
The islands of Yulansis are blighted by men with grisly ambitions of conquest and terrible powers given to them by unseen forces. Jasmira is forced from her island home into the midst of conflict, magic and monstrosities.
Finally, tell us why you partnered up with Mythrill? What made you go for it?
Mythrill gave me an opportunity to tell a story in a slightly different way to an audience that might not be familiar with my work. Fantasy is often put down as low-brow fiction when all too often the character work and stories being told have a richness of depth that rivals and surpasses the classics. When I was contacted by Mythrill's founders about this new platform for fantasy writers, I jumped at the chance to support the glorious and wide genres of fantasy and science fiction which I adore so much.
You can read Saltbreaker exclusively on Mythrill by downloading the app.