Hey Nerds and Nerdettes!
Today we have an interview and giveaway with author S.A. Hunt, creator of the OUTLAW KING series–A Scifi Western filled with awesome. I’ve known Sam for a while, and not only is he a fantastic writer with wonderful ways of weaving together a story, but he’s also a great guy over all who loves interacting with fans.
He’s also graciously giving away five box set digital copies of the first and second books in the series, and one digital copy of the newest book TEN THOUSAND DEVILS.
After coming home from a stint in Afghanistan, veteran Ross Brigham learns that his father has passed away. Dearly departed Dad was a famous fantasy novelist, and the 300 fans that show up for the funeral demand that Ross finish E. R. Brigham’s long-running magnum opus.
Ross and two of the author’s devotees investigate his untimely death and discover that he might have been murdered…and the time-bending gunslingers of Dad’s steampunk novels might be real.
As they try to acclimate to the arid deserts of the author’s fantasy world, the three damaged heroes become pawns in a war for humanity’s survival. The Muses have grown tired of immortality and now incite atrocities on Earth, trying to lure down a leviathan from the stars. Can Ross and his new friends stop the scheming satyrs before both worlds are eaten?
Inspired by such old-school fantasy classics as Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.
Pressed on all sides by a seemingly omnipotent being called the Rhetor and chased by desperados, the protagonists of The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree are led across the desert to confront their mysterious antagonist by the Outlaw King himself, the wizened gunslinger Normand Kaliburn.When one of their own is captured and taken beyond the Wildlands to the heart of the Antargata K-Setra, our heroes will learn the true origins of Ed Brigham’s fantasy world… and that incredible revelation will shatter everything they thought they knew about the secret world of Destin.
The fellowship is fractured again when Ross and two others slip through the veil and return to Earth, where they must stop a Silen planning to instigate a school shooting at Blackfield University.
Meanwhile, back on Destin, Noreen fights to survive as Normand’s past comes across the ocean to haunt them. In the distant Wildlands of K-Set, Sawyer must contend with the almighty Glass God Obelus and embrace his true calling as a gunslinger.
Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. You’re pretty awesome about interacting with your fans, so hopefully this interview will let them know a little bit more about you.
We should probably start there.
Q1. When not writing, publishing, and talking to fans, what is it you tend to do? Any eclectic hobbies to share with the world?
S.A. Hunt: Other than art, I play videogames and read books. During the summer, I do a lot of bike-riding and sometimes hiking. I’d be a swim-freak if I had a place I could go swimming at!
I used to make wood art by using a magnifying glass to focus the sun into a laser-point and burn lines into pieces of wood. It’s just difficult enough to be satisfying, just easy enough to be meditative, and it gets you out of the house and into the sun. Just don’t stare at the focal point unless you want to ruin your eyes. The smoke smells nice too.
Currently my favorite video games are Shovel Knight and Kentucky Route Zero. Kentucky Route Zero is a damn phenomenal game–it’s like a contemporary portal fantasy that’s a cross between A Wrinkle in Time, Twin Peaks, and Welcome to Night Vale. The loneliness and creeping displacement is tempered by a feeling of home generated by the soulful bluegrass soundtrack, creating a Weird Americana experience I can only say you have to experience for yourself. The story is amazing and the graphics are beautiful.
Shovel Knight just makes me want to punch children and break shit.
Q2. You also were in the service for a while. Thanks so much for your service to our country. Did any of your experiences with the military transfer over to your novels?
S.A.Hunt: Not really from the military per se, but while I was enlisted I went to Afghanistan and that did a lot to inform Outlaw King. The world in my fantasy gunslinger series has introduced a lot of Middle-Eastern flair to the spaghetti-western leitmotif–I like to call it my “falafel-western”.
Afghanistan is a deeply, deeply different place from America. I wanted to capture that same feeling of geographic displacement and culture shock and use it to inform my novel’s transition from Earth to the fantasy world of Destin, to throw both reader and protagonist off their game.
Q3. Besides your protagonist, who is your favorite character in the books?
S.A.Hunt: Probably either Deon Walter, or Memne. Walter is such a badass, and he’s also gay. There are some incredible and extremely competent top-tier soldiers in the U.S. Army that are gay, and I wanted to pay a little tribute to that–and open a few eyes–by putting a similar soldier in my series. It’s not much on my part, but they deserve some kind of representation, I think.
Memne, I’m just in love with. Personality-wise, she’s developed from this sly little minx and a bit character into a warm, feeling, brave, caring woman, as well as an integral part of the Outlaw King crew. I can’t imagine her not being a main character now.
Q4. Tell us a little bit about your writing process. Are you a pantser? A plotter? Do edit as you go or complete a draft and then edit? How does it all flow for you?
S.A. Hunt: Almost totally a pantser. I’ve tried to do outlines, but once I start writing it always deviates. Always. Either a character does what they want to do and I have to follow (usually because they’ve developed into their own personality enough to lead the story on their own) or because I have a much better idea for an element or a scene than the direction the outline was going.
It reminds me of this time I had to drive to Newport News, Virginia, for some Army training. I took my wife with me because I wanted to spend time with her before I went overseas. We were driving north into the state and one route went way the fuck up north, went through Richmond, and then cut east at a sharp right angle toward Newport News.
Confused as to why the GPS would make me drive all the way there and make the trip twice as long, I went northeast along what I thought was a shortcut, totally removing Richmond. We were driving along, minding our own business, when we rounded a curve and found ourselves in a line of traffic. At the front end of the line was a lakeshore.
“Take ferry,” said the GPS.
My wife was livid, but I enjoyed myself. A very personable seagull stood on the railing and watched us in our car the entire way across.
I’m not sure exactly how that pertains to plotting and pantsing other than that I’ve usually had more (and better) adventures going off the beaten path. Like when I got back from mid-tour leave and I couldn’t get a plane out of Kandahar back to my duty station in Arena. I ended up having to basically hitchhike back to work, hitching rides on various planes, MaxxPros, and helicopters, and it took a week on top of the month I burned trying to get out of Fort Hood and the two weeks I spent in Ali Al Salem, Kuwait, trying to get a plane.
I wouldn’t give it up for anything, though. I saw and did some unforgettable things going the long way around, including getting caught in my first sandstorm. Now I welcome the long way around with open arms.
As for editing, I edit as I go but I do another couple of edits after the draft is done. Before I start writing for the day, I read and edit what I did the day before to re-familiarize myself with the book, and often times in the evening I’ll crack open the manuscript and give it a little tweaking.
Q5. Do you have plans for another series once this one is complete? If so, give us the details, man!
S.A. Hunt: I absolutely do. I’m planning on writing the original The Fiddle and the Fire series that Ed Brigham wrote in The Outlaw King. It’ll have differences, though, to mix it up for the people that read TOK and already know how the larger plot points went.
I’m also working on a horror novel called Malus Domestica, about a young witch-hunter in smalltown America and her fight to rid the country of darkness, one soul-sucking hag-beast at a time.
Q6. If you could have one author read your book, who would it be, and why?
S.A. Hunt: Stephen King, of course! He inspired The Outlaw King, with his Dark Tower series, and basically planted the seed of my writing career. I’d give anything to see him crack open the first book. I bet he’d love Ten Thousand Devils!
Q7. You also do art work. You created the covers for your books. Do you offer this service to others as well? Cause I gotta tell ya, Whirlwinds cover is SWEET!
S.A. Hunt: Thank you! I used to do covers for indies, but I had to retire–I got tired of being terrified to open my email. You can see some of the covers I’ve done here.
>Is there anything you want to say to your fans while we have their undivided attention?
S.A. Hunt: I love you, Outlaw Army, every one of you, with all of my heart. Thank you for taking a chance on me and reading my work. You mean the world to me and you have changed my life. I hope I get to keep writing books for you for a very long time.
All right, Sam. Let’s wrap this up. Finish it off with whatever you may want to add. You know they want to get to the giveaway!
S.A. Hunt: Don’t let the world push you down–do what makes you happy. The heart wants what it wants, and you should follow it (unless you’re, like, a cannibal or a mugger or some shit). Make your dreams happen, because there ain’t no regret like the regret you can’t go back and fix.
I’d like to thank S.A. Hunt for taking the time to do this interview! It’s been amazing.
S. A. Hunt enjoys painting the dynamics of relationships and the human experience on the canvas of the weird and the dark. He lives in a run-down shack in the woods in Summerville, GA, where he makes music with spoons. Find out more at http://theusualmadman.net/
Be on the lookout for an email coming your way soon!