Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Frank Cavallo ~ guest post and his novel Eye of the Storm

TITLE: Eye of the Storm
RELEASE DATE: 08/10/2016
AUTHOR: Frank Cavallo
KEYWORDS: fantasy, adventure, sword & sorcery, wizardry, knights, magic, horror
CATEGORIES: Horror/Fantasy
ISBN: 978-1535327077
IMPRINT: Dark Serpent

ONE LINER: Catapulted into a lost world, Eric Slade and Anna Fayne must hunt down an ancient treasure that holds their only chance to return home

SYNOPSIS: On a research mission in one of the most remote regions of the world, former Navy SEAL Eric Slade and Dr. Anna Fayne are caught in a mysterious storm. Catapulted through a rift in space-time, they are marooned on a lost world.

Struggling to survive and desperate to find a way home, they must confront the dangers of this savage land—a dark wizard and his army of undead—a warrior queen and her horde of fierce Neanderthals that stands against him—and a legendary treasure with the power to open the gateway between worlds, or to destroy them all: the Eye of the Storm.

Guest Post: 
Where did the idea for The Eye of the Storm come from?

This book is the product of two long standing interests of mine, which came together almost accidentally over the course of several years. The first is old-time pulp fiction. The second is cosmology.
That may seem an odd marriage, so I’ll try to explain.
I love the great sci-fi and fantasy writers of the nineteen-twenties and thirties: Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith. H.P. Lovecraft, etc. Sure, some of that stuff is horribly dated by today’s standards, just simply by virtue of how much more we know about actual science now. Lovecraft wrote tales of intrepid adventurers slashing their way through dense jungles on Venus. Edgar Rice Burroughs famously turned Mars into the fantastical world of Barsoom. Given how much better our understanding of these places is now, a lot of the work from that era understandably comes off as a little quaint these days.
But when it was good, it was really good. There was a unique quality that the best of those stories captured. I’m not even sure exactly how to define it. They had a sense of mystery to them, the kind of mystery that comes from striking out into the unknown—into worlds barely imagined, with horrors and wonders alike waiting to be discovered. In many ways this was very much a product of that time. The rapid technological advances of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries must have created a feeling that nothing was truly impossible, that no frontier would go unexplored for long.
For a while that exuberance seemed to die out, but there was a bit of renaissance for this stuff when I was a kid, which is how I came around to it, in the seventies and eighties. The re-birth of Conan the Barbarian in comic book form led to a re-discovery of other pulp heroes like John Carter. Both of those, in turn, combined with Burroughs’s Pellucidar books seems to have inspired Mike Grell’s much beloved Warlord series.
I devoured all of this stuff, and I read as much of it as I could.
Much later I learned that there was a name for this peculiar little sub-genre I liked so much. It was called (derisively by some) Sword & Planet. In short, it was a basic “stranger in a strange land” premise: an Earth man (usually a soldier) gets transported to another world where he has to use his skills and his smarts to battle through a pre-historic fantasy world, often dealing with alien or “ancient advanced technology” in addition to the standard sorcery contained in most fantasy.
Something about that concept grabbed me. In part, it was the combination of sci-fi elements with classic heroic fantasy. But it was more about the characters themselves, that these weren’t strictly tales of distant worlds, they were about one of us making his or her way through them. From the Pevensie children in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, to Dorothy in Oz right up through Marshall, Will and Hollie venturing into the Land of the Lost, this kind of story always had a particular hold on my imagination.
Because of my long love affair with this brand of fiction, I had always wanted to write a fantasy novel myself. When I sat down to actually do it though, I didn’t go that route at all. Instead, I tried to write a totally self-contained, invented world like Middle Earth or Westeros. It was a conscious choice. At the time, I thought that was the more “adult” approach, that those types of fantasy universes were the hallmark of a more serious kind of literature. After all, no one was really writing Sword & Planet tales anymore. With the exception of that minor rebirth in the 70s, they had more or less faded away with the pulp magazines. Just like no one believed there were aliens on Mars or jungles on Venus anymore, it all seemed somehow passé.
I went around and around with my idea for years, putting it on the shelf while I worked on other novels and then coming back to it periodically, but I was never satisfied with what I had.
That’s where the cosmology comes in.
I’m not a scientist. Far from it. I’m a lawyer by trade. But I love to read about science, albeit the sort-of dumbed-down version that gets put out for the untrained layman like me. I will never have the mathematical know-how to really get a handle on quantum mechanics or astrophysics. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to fill my head with as much of it as I can. It’s just fascinating stuff, to the extent that I even really get any of it.
One of the most intriguing concepts being floated these days is the multiverse theory. If you’re not familiar, in a nutshell, it’s the idea that our universe is not everything. It may be only one of an infinite number of parallel universes all “floating” endlessly in a sea of universes. Some theories even suggest that the Big Bang itself was actually the energy release from a collision between two “branes” or membranes of this higher dimensional reality.
Sounds like sci-fi, but people way smarter than me think it might actually be true.
With this in mind, I was tinkering with my never-finished fantasy manuscript one day a few years back when it hit me—that was exactly what I was missing.
All the stories I really loved were about men of this world transported to other worlds—and now the latest theories in cosmology were telling us that there really might be other dimensions, other universes. It seemed like a perfect fit. I started re-writing with that in mind, and the story pretty much took over. From there it told me where to go.
So in a way, this book is my attempt to bring back the feeling of those old Sword & Planet stories, but to do it in a modern way, with a 21st century approach.

AUTHOR BIO: Frank Cavallo is the author of The Hand of Osiris and The Lucifer Messiah. His short stories have appeared in a variety of publications, including Every Day Fiction, Ray Gun Revival, and Lost Souls. He has also written for the Black Library’s Warhammer property, including several short stories in their monthly fiction magazine Hammer & Bolter, as well as a novella featured in the collection Gotrek & Felix: Lost Tales.


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