The Bridge to Magic: An Interview with Author Alex Thornbury
The Bridge to Magic, Alex Thornbury's debut YA fantasy novel, introduces readers to a world where the catastrophic Blight imperils humankind's existence. The only remaining city, Terren, must choose whether to accept the unavoidably fatal outcome or cross a bridge into the perilous deadlands, where magic and its guardians have been exiled.
The story follows the orphaned Elika, who fears the bridge, as she discovers that magic is hiding within herself. Hunted and haunted by the uncertainty of her past… and future, she must decide to destroy her magic or cross the bridge to an unknown fate. Magnificently crafted, The Bridge to Magic is a thrilling and captivating web of fantasy fiction. It’s definitely going on our must-read list!
To learn more about the story behind the story, read A Good Book To End The Day’s interview with the author below.
What has influenced you the most as a writer?
Probably not a what, but who. My mentor and editor, Brian Keaney, had the most profound effect on my career as a writer. Right from the beginning, I wanted to be a better writer than I was. I aspired to the likes of Robin Hobb and Patrick Rothfuss, yet my early drafts were dreadful, no matter how long I spent revising them. No matter how hard I worked and edited them, I always hated what I wrote. And rightfully so. I cringe when I look back on those early attempts at writing. I approached Brian for help, and very quickly he made me see why what I wrote was junk. He explained what I was doing wrong and how to fix it. I rewrote my stories with his teachings in mind and the resultant manuscript was a complete transformation. And for the first time in years, I liked what I had written. Without his guidance and help, I would not be where I am today. He showed me how to achieve my life’s ambition and set me on the path of being a professional author.
Tell us about The Bridge to Magic and the inspiration behind the story.
The Bridge to Magic is an exploration of an idea that came to me quite suddenly. What would you do if faced with an approaching terror: fight and hope, be resigned to your fate, or take the path to unknown lands and an uncertain future? What would hold you back? What would drive you across that menacing bridge?
Always we find reasons not to do something, not to reach for a dream or seek a better life. It might be a dream of leaving your job and opening that coffee shop you always wanted, or a move to live by the sea. It takes tremendous courage and strength to leave everything behind: family, friends, security, and the familiar. And we look at that insurmountable bridge across the wide chasm to a place we cannot clearly define, to an uncertain future we both long and dread, and we nurse the fear of losing our path back, of making everything worse. And how deep is that fear? In The Bridge to Magic, the approaching horror born of magic that kills all in its path, the Blight, tests it.
What part of the book was the most fun to write?
Any part which involved Bill Fisher. I loved his character, his humor, and his quirky nature. He is seven hundred years old and had lived through the Sundering War, so he always has many tales to tell. Unlike everyone else, he secretly loves magic but feels abandoned by it. When I write scenes with him, I never know what he will come out with until he speaks. So, there is always an element of surprise with him.
What were the challenges in bringing this book to life?
The biggest challenge for me was the art of world-building. There is a very fine line between orienting the reader and exposition. The richer and more complex the world, the harder it is to achieve this balance. This is primarily an issue in the first third of a book. My writing mentor would always shoot down boring exposition sections, whilst telling me that there is a prevalent lack of clarity in how my world works. So how am I to convey to the reader the workings of the world, whilst also not being able to explain it or talk about it? I would ask in frustration. It had to be woven subtly into the story as part of the natural storyline, he would reply. This is a skill that is extremely hard to master in the fantasy genre.
This is the first book of The Sundered Web Trilogy, can you tease a bit about the upcoming books?
Book 2 delves deeper into the world of magic and its guardians, and the dreaded Syn’Moreg, the demi-god who sundered the world in half. Elika finds herself in a world that, until now, only existed in tales. Magic and mages are everywhere, and men are born into bondage. Elika discovers she has the power to unravel the mages and uses those powers to free men from their oppressors. But in dabbling in powers she does not understand, she draws the attention of Syn’Moreg and his shadowy servant. The story continues the exploration of why Syn’Moreg sundered the world, the true nature of magic, and Elika’s secret birthright.
The third and final book will complete the story. I know how it will end, and the rough outline of the journey there, but not the finer details. That will come when the time comes to write it. In this final installment, Elika knows what her task is, she knows who she is and where she came from, and she learns of her cruel link to the Bridge she destroyed as a young girl. She will learn where her heart truly lies but is it too late to save her love? Can she repair the Sundered Web without sacrificing herself to do it? And once again the three paths are laid before her — the path to men, to magic or to gods. Which path will she choose now?
Do you have any other projects in the works at this time?
Aside from Books 2 and 3 of The Bridge to Magic, I have plans to finally release my epic fantasy series The Sprite Catcher. This one is my true literary baby. It was meant to be my debut and the book that outlived me for generations to come. I have been working on it for 12 years. When it was time to release it, I got cold feet. So I decided to take a break from it and wrote The Bridge to Magic as my debut instead.
What does literary success look like to you?
My books still being widely read two hundred years from now, or even a thousand. In my teens, when I faced my mortality and wanted my life to go beyond the span of years we are given, I thought stories were the best way to achieve that. I always thought there was something notable and perhaps a little romantic about stories outliving their authors. So I dreamt of one day writing a book that would carry a part of me far into the future.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Do not force the story. Let it flow out of you and lead you on a journey, and do not get bogged down in fine details or sentence structure in the first draft. Just write it, then expand and edit it later. Once the bones of the story are laid out, you can edit it as much as you need, down to the finest detail.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
You can follow me on Goodreads, Instagram, Facebook, or my blog.
My passion is writing, and most of my time is committed to working on the next book for my fans. But I try to keep my social media alive and active and will try to respond to emails or messages.
Thanks so much for being part of the A Good Book To End The Day family! Is there
anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for allowing me to participate in this interview and for an opportunity to tell the readers more about myself and my books. The journey for me to get here was long and hard, but worth every moment. I hope the readers enjoy Elika’s story.