Monday, January 2, 2017

Frank Cavallo ~ an interview and his novel ~ Eye of the Storm

Frank Cavallo

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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

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.


Q: Are you a morning person, or a midnight candle burner?
A: I can be a dreadful person to be around early in the morning. Unfit for the presence of others until at least my first cup of coffee. Then I'm only a little less horrible. On the other hand, once I'm up I'll stay up all night, usually in much better spirits.

Q: Did you like school when you were a child?
A: Not particularly, but I didn't hate it either. It was never an all-or-nothing kind of thing for me. I hated any kind of math, so I tended to zone out during those classes, but I loved history and English so those were the complete opposite.

Q: Dress up or dress down?
A: I hate formal-wear, semi-formal wear and anything more dressy than jeans and a t-shirt. I dream about the day when I retire my law license so I can burn all of my ties.

Q: Coffee or Tea?
A: Coffee, without a doubt. Every single day, no matter what.

Q: How do you feel about exercise?
A:  I used to regard it as a necessary evil, which is why I've had an on-again/off-again relationsuip with it over the years. Lately I've gotten on board the 10,000 step per day routine (thank you iPhone 6) so I'm trying to walk a few extra miles every day. I actually enjoy that, because the long walks give me a chance to work through ideas in my head, to plot out story lines or mull over what a character would do in a certain situation.

Q: Texting, love it or hate it?
A: I am a huge texter. I probably annoy everyone I know with how often I text. It's my preferred method of communication.


Q: When did you start writing and why?
A: I started writing not long after I learned how to actually write, so around 7 or 8 years old, I guess. As to the why, I suppose I'd just say that I liked doing it, and I never stopped liking it, so I never stopped doing it.

Q: What is your favorite part of writing?
A: To steal a line from a Cameron Crowe movie -- In a word: "everything."

Q: How do you handle writer's block?
A: Usually writer's block means that I've reached a point in the process where I've taken the story in a direction it doesn't want to go, or I've forced a character down a path he or she doesn't want to follow. The remedy, in my experience, is to take a step back and let it all percolate for a while. Eventually the characters will tell me where they want to go, and they're almost always right. After that things start flowing again.

Q: Are you a sit down and play it by ear kind of writer, or do you need a structured guideline, or maybe a little of both?
A: I've changed on this over the years, to the point where I've come nearly full circle. When I first started trying to write novels, I attempted to outline everything in minute detail. Weirdly, that made me less interested in finishing a project, and I tended not to complete those books. Somehow I felt like the story had already been told. The act of fleshing out every scene seemed kind of redundant. So I flipped the script and went at it with no outline whatsoever for a while. That was a more dynamic process, because I discovered the story along with the characters, right there in the telling. But it also took forever, since things were constantly changing and I had no idea where the book was going to end. These days I'm back to outlining, although in a more general sense. I start out with a basic structure, one that's open enough to let me follow things if they start to develop in a way I hadn't anticipated.

Q: Do you always know how a story will end when you begin writing it?
A: I usually think I know, but most of the time I turn out to be wrong. That's really the fun of it.

Q: Have your characters ever taken the story in a different direction than you had originally planned? Do you have a for instance, for us?
A: Every single time. In my opinion, if they aren't doing that, then you haven't done a good enough job of creating viable characters. If you're doing it right, they'll tell you where the story should go, and they won't care how you outlined it in the first place. Listen to them. Go wherever they take you.

Q: Which holiday celebrations do you like to incorporate into your stories and why?
A: I haven't done much in the way of holidays, but I am mildly obsessed with examining ritual. No matter what I'm writing, the use of rituals always comes up. I'm fascinated with the ways in which people and cultures use formalized processes: to mark time, to reinforce social norms and identity, to connect to their past, etc.


Q: What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
A: Sorry, I never discuss works-in-progress. I did it in an interview once about 10 years ago and that project completely fizzled out. I don't believe in curses, but that's my one superstition.

Q: Do you have a new book coming out soon? Tell us about it.
A: I do have a finished novel slated for release next year. It's called "The Rites of Azathoth" (or maybe we'll drop the "the" -- we're still discussing.) It's a bit of a procedural thriller with a Cthulhu mythos slant, about an FBI agent hunting down a serial killer who appears to be obsessed with bringing forth the return of the Great Old Ones, Yog Sothoth and his minions.

Q: How can we find you? Do you have a web page, FaceBook page or any buy links?
A:  Yes, I do. Here are the links. ~


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

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.

The halls were dusty and cold as they headed into the heart of the citadel, climbing towards the Keep by Azreth’s vague directions. Spider-webs hung like curtains along the walls. Every corridor and passage was choked with the detritus of war. A hiss seethed from somewhere in the shadows.

At the crest of a winding staircase, they found a gallery-like corridor that opened under a vaulted ceiling. Despite having stalked the ruins for hours, their torches were no lower, and they cast a reddish light upon the whole of the grand hall. The walls were plastered from floor to ceiling, in brilliant shades of violet, green and gold. Unfamiliar characters were set in relief across both sides.

They continued on, hoping to glean some direction from the strange decorations. With a few of the glyphs there were images of figures. Men and beasts, elegant in detail but difficult to see in the torch-light, cavorting as if frozen in time. Some frolicked in festival, while others looked to be at war, painted blood dripping from their swords.

Each wall had several such murals, of men and women in long white robes and gold sashes. The designs were intricate and beautiful and savage.

At the far end of the hall, looming over the entrance of an inner hold, a stone carving larger than a man’s height peered down at them. It was no human face. The features of the carving were a caricature of humanity, still as sharp as from the sculptor’s hand; like everything else uncannily preserved from the ravages of time.

Horns like a bull’s grew from the temples. Jowls like a hound’s hung open, with rows of teeth flanked by twin fangs.

“We’re getting close,” Azreth said. “I remember this. The bust of Wrael. This is the passage into his throne chamber.”

They all studied it for a moment, but had little time to consider. A rumbling grew up, as if the walls were coming to life. The stone began to vibrate, and the floor shifted beneath them. It was no quake. The thunder was organic, the growling of a carnivore.

“You remember this too?” Slade asked.

“The beast king’s guardian,” Azreth whispered. “The basilisk.”

Spawned from the darkness, something slinked out from beneath the statue. Though at first as black as the shadow itself, it moved of its own accord. Only its crimson eyes were visible. Threya gripped her sword. The thing shrieked. Slade pulled Azreth behind him. Kerr ducked with him, even as he drew a dagger from his cloak.

A lizard-beast leaped into the firelight. It drooled from a snout like a wolf’s, but its body was lean and scaly. The monster slashed at Slade. The force of its thrust knocked him to the floor, a gash torn in his arm.

Threya’s sword whistled through the air, slicing into the basilisk’s haunches before it could strike again. Her second slash tore open its back. The beast flicked its spiked tail, climbing halfway up the wall in a momentary retreat. It eyed Threya with a burning scarlet glower.

It leaped next toward her, throwing itself upon the warrior-queen. Again, the force of its landing was too much, and she collapsed under it, leaving the beast perched on top of her. Its powerful legs pinned her arms to the floor, holding down her sword. It reared its jaws over her, spilling hot, fetid breath in her face.

Back on his feet, Slade jumped from behind and Kerr from the other side. Both plunged their blades through the creature’s torso. Slade clamped his arms around the beast’s throat as it howled, until it squealed with a weakened yelp as the leper’s dagger choked the life out of it. Azreth neared, poking at the carcass with his staff.

“We’re very close now,” the mystic said.

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