Every Tuesday, get to know a bit about the stories behind the books you love, and discover your next favourite novel.
Sabitha: This Tuesday we’re talking fantasy—we’re talking to Barry Ryerson about The Magic Circle. Barry, tell us a bit about your book!
Barry: The Magic Circle is set over a hundred years in our future and forty years after the world fired most of its nuclear arsenal at each other. In this time, countries that survived have been rebuilding and, in an attempt to prevent such a war ever happening again, major superpowers signed the World Peace Accords. This prevents the superpowers from having contact with each other, on the premise that if they never even speak, they’ll never need to fight.
In this backdrop we meet three strangers. Bethany Roberts is an 18 year old art student in Paris. She’s fun, quirky, and utterly hopeless with guys. Wikus de Klerk is a South African programmer who is old enough to remember the bombs falling. And Yevgeny Arafyev works for the Russian Church as a spy, secretly crossing borders in order to recruit or kill those like him.
Because, since those bombs went off, magic has returned to Earth.
Not everyone has magic. In fact, it’s very rare and most people don’t know it exists. Bethany discovers it when she tries to flirt. Yevgeny had it as a child and uses it on his missions. Wikus is aware of it, and is desperate to have that power himself.
Yet powers outside their understanding threaten all life on Earth. How will they use this power?
Sabitha: What inspired you to write this book?
Barry: I’ve long loved fantasy and sci-fi, but very rarely do you get anything that truly blends the two. I’ve been wanting to read a book like this for years and so, now, I’ve made one. True magic and guns.
Sabitha: I love that—when you can’t find what you want to read, you write it yourself! What was your favourite thing to write in the book?
Barry: Midway through there is a battle scene where we see the fight unfold from each of the main character’s perspectives. I really enjoyed that, as it builds and shows the limits of what the characters know in a tense environment.
Sabitha: Your cast sounds really fun. Which character do you relate to the most and why?
Barry: I’d say Bethany. She’s creative, very self-conscious, and is trying to find her way in the world. Being half-Jamaican, she’s often seen as half-Jamaican by Europeans, but half-Scottish by Jamaicans. I’m half-Irish myself and feel that, too. She also has an innocence that gradually gets rubbed away throughout the book.
Sabitha: How did you choose the title?
Barry: I love double entendres and The Magic Circle means so many things. A group of stage magicians. The core group that Bethany joins. The linking of magic-users. The meaning develops and changes as the book progresses.
Sabitha: If you could pick any author to read your book, who would you want to read it? Why them?
Barry: Brent Weeks! His Lightbringer series was hugely inspirational for me on this book.
Sabitha: We love when genres collide, and we’re looking forward to reading. Where can the Night Beats community find you and your book?