Wizards and witches have long been a source of fascination and they have taken the book world by storm in recent years. The Veil of Corruption, C.B. Lyall‘s second contribution to this subset of the fantasy genre (her first was the series-opener The Virus of Beauty) has plenty of fun twists, and it seems like her own journey to writing a novel had some, too.
We were able to ask Lyall a few questions about how she creates her books, the themes of this recent release, and what we can look forward to with the next installment in her supernatural series. You can also read our review of The Veil of Corruption here.
Q: Where did you get the inspiration to write about magic in a world of witches and wizards?
A: I’ve always loved stories with magic in them. I loved The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson and The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind. I also read a lot of Terry Pratchett and loved his humor. The Virus of Beauty actually started as a short story for a workshop I was taking, but the instructor noted that I was really writing a novel. She was right. Wilf and his fear of magic grew into not one novel, but three.
Q: Your first book, The Virus of Beauty, is in part a struggle of witches vs. wizards. Does that theme continue in this second book?
A: Yes, the theme of sexual inequality continues in the second and third books. The books try to show what can happen when a world is out of balance. The consequences in the Magical Realm are very severe. When magic is unevenly distributed, and the wizards try to dominate the witches by reducing their access to magic, it causes the entire realm to become unstable.
Q: In a switch of the stereotype in book one, it’s the witches getting the viruses — not the witches inflicting the viruses. Is that dynamic similar in book two? Where did this idea come from?
A: Witches always seem to be the villains in stories, and I wanted them instead to be the victim. However, I didn’t want to change them physically. I wanted the witches, despite their ugliness and warts, to be sympathetic characters. The idea grew out of our society’s obsession with physical beauty when it should be our goodness and compassion that are measured.
Q: Does Wilf’s love of soccer stem from your own love of sports? How does it play an important role in the books?
A: As a family, we have always played a sport. My husband and I currently play tennis and golf. My sons played soccer, tennis, rugby and ice hockey growing up. It’s amazing watching my grandson and his father share their love of sport together. They are both avid soccer players and fans. I thought, what if Wilf lives and breathes soccer, but his father sees it as a waste of time? How would that dynamic affect their relationship?
Q: Is it challenging to switch points of view from Wilf to Myra to Katryna? Did you have a method you used to write each of these?
A: The books are mainly told from Wilf’s point of view, with more chapters dedicated to him. It seemed organic that the story needed to be seen from Myra’s and Katryna’s viewpoints as well. I think it adds more depth to the story knowing how the action is affecting them as well as Wilf. I didn’t have a method. I tend to write the story chapter by chapter, and although I have a plan for the storyline, I don’t know who is going to tell each part until I start to write it. On several occasions, I have started in Wilf’s point of view and then gone back and changed it.
Q: What was the most challenging part of the book to write?
A: First, it’s creating the story and plotting it. Although this is a series, each book has its own story while simultaneously moving us towards the series’ end. Sometimes I get lost in the middle of the book. In The Veil of Corruption, I ended up with two chapters that belonged in book three and had to revise that part of the story. I usually know where I’m going to start the story and where I want to finish it before I put words on the page.
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from reading The Veil of Corruption?
A: I hope readers will become engrossed in the story and that the characters’ dilemmas will haunt them a little. Even though the story has a fantastical setting I bring “real-world” issues for the characters to face, such as addiction, betrayal, gender conflicts and issues of consent. I would love for readers to have an emotional attachment to the characters and be able to identify with them and their problems.
Q: Can you give us any hints as to what we can look forward to in Wilf’s next adventure?
A: Wilf is days away from turning sixteen. Two things will happen that day — the soccer championship he desperately wants to play in, and his sixteenth birthday, when he must demonstrate his total control over his magical powers before the Wizard Council. He’s not sure he can do either. With time against them, Wilf and Ermentrude are determined to find Katryna and prevent Hywel from obtaining control over the magical population. Two Books of Magic are the keys to solving all Wilf’s problems — or so he’s been told.
Learn more about Lyall on her BookTrib author profile page.