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.
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.
AUTHOR LINKS: http://www.frankcavallo.com
What was your writing process like for The Eye of the Storm?
My experience writing this book was a little different than for my past novels. One of the things I always try to do when I’m in the middle of a project is to get as close to the real location as possible. When you’re writing about a specific place, there’s no substitute for seeing, hearing and feeling it yourself, for going there and soaking up all the little details.
For one, I think it lends the material a level of authenticity that is close to impossible to get any other way (you can read everything ever written about Gettysburg, for example, but you’ll learn more about how the place really is by spending one day walking the field for yourself.)
Second, immersing myself in a new place always gives me a kick-start. Seeing new sights, meeting new people, tasting new foods, all of it makes me want to write. Sometimes I’ll sit down on a break somewhere, flip open a notebook and just start scribbling down every random observation I can—the way the grass smells after an early morning rain shower, how the desert sun bakes the dirt so that it’s rock hard—all the things you’d never get from a book, but strike you deeply when you’re really there.
This book is a fantasy tale though, set in a completely imagined parallel world. So, I did the next best thing—I found the spot that most closely resembled what I was writing about. For Eye of the Storm, a lot of the action takes places on rolling grassy steppes and a vast, bleak desert, much of it dominated by hordes of mounted warriors. That made my choice clear—Mongolia.
With a hired guide and a group of other travelers, I spent several weeks touring the land of the Khans. Like most tour groups in that country, where roads outside of major cities are largely non-existent, we rambled around the countryside in a couple of old Russian UAZ vehicles, spending our nights in yurt camps or pitching a tent on the steppe.
The country is huge, mostly empty and in many places totally inhospitable. I got a sense almost from the get-go how this landscape could forge a people so hardy they would conquer half the world. Despite that ferocious reputation however, and in stark contrast to the barren land they inhabit, I found the Mongols of today to be some of the most hospitable people I’ve ever met.
One family of nomads we encountered—totally at random—invited us to spend a few days with them. They brought us into their home, a portable structure called a ger, where they showed us their Buddhist shrine, their solar-powered flat screen TV and offered us their own home-made fermented horse milk.
The father was a man with a wind-burned face that looked chiseled from stone. He had sun-narrowed eyes that formed the most intimidating stare I’ve ever seen, yet he was almost disarmingly friendly. It turned out he was just as curious about us as we were of him.
Even before I left the place, this book was being written. So much of what I saw there is in the final product. The vast, red rock desert of the Gobi Desert’s Flaming Cliffs. The rolling steppes and the endless sea of grass where I camped under the stars. Fearsome warriors and their powerful horses—the Mongols who welcomed me and showed me their amazing country.
Writing this book was an experience unlike any other I’ve had, and hopefully that gives The Eye of the Storm something that it could not have had otherwise.