Book: The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree (The Outlaw King) by S. A. Huntcategories: Book, Horror, Fantasy, King, Western, SciFi, Science Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Afghanistan, Army, Gunslinger
S. A. Huntabout this book: THE WHIRLWIND IN THE THORN TREE is a fantasy gunslinger novel inspired by THE DARK TOWER series by Stephen King. I was inspired to write this book by numerous aspects and dreams of my life; I'd been wanting to write a full-length novel for quite some time, but I never could quite find exactly what it was I felt would make a good story. My experiences in Afghanistan proved to be the catalyst it took to fully visualize the world I wanted to create. The environment I walked into there was like another planet, ultimately cram-packed full of angles and intricacies well-suited to a desert fantasy land. This made me realize that what I wanted to do was bring to life my own gunslinger quest, something wholly departed from my idol Stephen King's series but with the same grand scope and slow-burn mystery. In a surprise twist even to me, it only took from November 2012 to February 2013 to write the book.
The title changed a half-dozen times during the process, but at the end I was looking at Johnny Cash song lyrics when I saw something that resonated with me. A line from his song "The Man Comes Around", inspired by elements from the Bible: "the whirlwind in the thorn tree". It had the abstract fantasy sound I was looking for, the wild-west jene-sais-quois I needed, and it even references the tornado that appears halfway through the book. I didn't choose the cover because I created the cover myself. I do all my own covers from scratch.
The hardest part of writing the book was undoubtedly having to convince my friends and family that I wasn't just gluing macaroni to construction paper -- this was something I wanted to make a career out of, not toil my life away in some dark factory in the backwoods of Georgia. I'll never forget the look on my brother's face when I handed him the 444-page 6x9 paperback proof.
I didn't do a lot of research outside of looking up firearm specifications, conlangs, ancient religions and cults, and mythical creatures such as fauns and satyrs. Most of the elements in WHIRLWIND are memories and experiences pulled in clumps and shreds from my own life, threaded through and strung together with the original characters featured in the novel. During the process, I learned multiple things: that writing a novel is both easier and harder than I expected it to be, that it feels incredible to finish writing it and to know that there are people who enjoyed it and want another one, and that self-publishing is a hell of a lot harder and a hell of a lot less promising than I initially expected.
To my readers and fans, both current and future: I want you to know that I love you all, and it's your loyalty that gives me the courage and tenacity to keep plugging away at this dream of mine. I want to thank you in advance for your trust and support, and that I will try my best not to let you down.
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