An Interview with Kian N. Ardalan

A warm welcome to you, O Ashen One. It is my pleasure to share with you my interview with Kian Ardalan, author of the soon-to-be-published Eleventh Cycle.

Check out the blurb below, before entering the mists to reveal our interview!

Eleventh Cycle

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.”


A warm welcome to Spells & Spaceships Blog, Kian!

Thank you so much for having me! 

Your first published novel is the uniquely titled The Fantastically underwhelming epicof a dead wizard and an average bard. Is the fantastically underwhelming part you being modest, or is there something else behind the title?

Haha. Great question. I’ve thought about this every now and then. I had been reading Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy at the time and sort of was in this parody headspace. The paradoxical nature of that title made me chuckle and I wanted to go with that. I felt it did somewhat also lower the reader’s expectation a little bit and that’s obviously a plus for when they are pleasantly surprised haha.

What do you find readers have enjoyed the most about the book?

I would say the characters. Even with Eleventh Cycle, the biggest praise I usually get is about the way I write characters that are complex and how I express emotions. It is quite a blessing to be compared to greats in that respect such as John Gwynne.

Let’s talk about your upcoming release, Eleventh Cycle. Judging by the blurb and a few early reviews, this seems to be altogether a lot darker than your previous work! Can you tell us a little about making the transition from epic fantasy into the realms of grimdark?

I’m sorry to disappoint, but the transition came rather naturally. If anything, I felt more at home. The Fantastically Underwhelming Epic had always been a side project, but I had been preparing to write Eleventh Cycle for months. And I really treated the book as my real baby.

I will say, even though I didn’t have to change my mindset for Eleventh Cycle, I did a lot of research to ensure that the topics I wanted to address were done with the utmost care and respect.

At over 800 pages, Eleventh Cycle is quite a tome! Was there a motivation behind writing one 800 page book rather than two 400 page books?

Well, yes! But also, it’s more complicated? One one hand, I absolutely wanted to deliver on a fantasy epic. There is a feeling when it comes to delving into a large tome of a book and holding the weight of its history in your hands. But there were some people who suggested the split regardless. Yet none who did could tell me where to include a natural break off point since there was none. In the end, I leaned into the allure of a huge world shrouded in mist and the sheer largeness of it. Looking back, I would never have split the book in half anyway.

I love the cover art by the very talented Nino Is. It looks straight out of a Souls game! How happy are you with the artwork, and can we expect those same vibes of a gothic, malformed, withered beauty from your novel?

Yes, yes, and another yes. Nino was amazing, and landed the souls feel perfectly. I already let him know that he is returning for the future novels too!. As for the feel of the book, you can certainly aspect a very similar aesthetic to the cover. I remember that Miyazaki, when designing the souls games, wanted it so that no matter where you take a screenshot from, it will look like a haunting painting. I wanted that concept to come through in the book as well. I wanted there to be beauty to the withering and haunting nature of the events.

What would you like readers to think or feel whilst reading Eleventh Cycle?

That’s a great question, but a tough one too! I think primarily, I want people to feel cathartic. There is a lot of tragedy, but I did my best to also outline hope as well. To echo the message of the Dark Souls games and the Berserk manga, no matter how bleak things may seem, there is still hope.

What would be your main piece of advice to a new author wanting to self publish?

Oh wow. I can’t possibly summarise that in so few sentences as there are a lot of things I wish I knew before I started. I will say, self-publishing can get a bad rep because people assume it is worse than trad. I can tell you that some of the best book I had ever read were self-pub. As for the journey when it comes to self publishing, I would say absolutely do your homework and invest in a good cover! Marketing is paramount here.

So, what’s next for you? Are you off to pet 100 puppies to refresh after all the dark fantasy writing, or are you going straight out to write readers some more nightmares?

Haha. I am still writing! I am currently working on a book for another series. Perhaps not as grimdark, but dystopian for sure. And yet, I am itching to return to the world of Eleventh Cycle. The events of Book 2 are already sorted out and I hope to start writing it in January!

Best of luck with Eleventh Cycle, Kian!

Thank you. And thanks for the interview!

Author Website

Buy Eleventh Cycle here:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the Author

Kian N. Ardalan was born in Germany, Dusseldorf to Persian parents and has since travelled between so many places that he sees himself as a person of the world; well, with one exception.

When he wasn’t playing video games or reading novels (mostly Darren Shan and Anthony Horowitz) or trying to convince his parents to watch that R-rated movie about vampires and werewolves, he delved into fantasy worlds of his own making.

It began with a novella about a young girl, not hoarded by a fierce dragon, but rather protected and raised by one.

On the other hand, The Fantastically Underwhelming Epic wonders why the hero of the story always has to be some all-powerful child of prophecy? Why can’t it just be about a clueless, young bard who is simply trying to make good on a promise with a wise-cracking skull as their companion?

Despite his teacher’s warnings, Kian decided to lean into that realm and now invites others to also explore these vibrant (and perhaps worrying) reflections of his own psyche.

Stay tuned for his upcoming book, Eleventh Cycle, inspired by the cryptic world of Dark Souls.


2 thoughts on “An Interview with Kian N. Ardalan

  1. I’m so excited to read this book! And, the author’s description of the series being influenced by both ‘Dark Souls” and “BERSERK” are going to attract A LOT of potential readers!

    Liked by 1 person

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