Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tree of Freedom

More information on the monster undertaking that was Tree of Freedom. Of all the novels I have, and will publish, this one has taken the longest. Mainly because I didn't know what I was doing when I started out (seven years ago, or just barely short of that). I started out with a scene of a man in a favorite town of mine, Nice.

From there I poured on the idea that I had had while traveling the length of Western Europe, after my first deployment to Iraq. The idea was to follow (read write about) two men who ran around Europe conducting robberies. With that I wrote and finished the story within eight months. Then I edited it. Over and over. And over. Now it's done.

By the time I left the military I had edited it for several years at that point. I went to college and there I had it examined by workshops and the lot. I learned some things about writing there (as well as in the current workshops I participate in) but I also learned not to take everyone's advice. If you do try to do that (and there's a strong tendency to do so) you'll ravage your story into nothing.

I redrafted the story from there, and edited it for the past seven months. The result is the book you see before you. The book tries to tackle several issues such as PTSD and cycles of violence.

Two veterans, Rick and King, forge their friendship in Iraq. When they come back they are full of verve and bravado. But it's something much deeper than that. They are kicked out of the Army and they decide that getting back to society was the last thing they needed. They decide to stay in Europe and rob drug dealers where they can find them in the cities of Spain, France and wherever else they see men lurking in the shadows. Rick, with his girlfriend in Nice, Coralie, is growing weary of the life he has set upon and starts to have doubts about himself, his past. He promises Coralie that he would be done with the violence.

Then they find the body of Beth, King's sister. King wants revenge; Rick agrees to help but wonders about his promise to Coralie. What comes next is a furious introspection, as well as fast-paced action as they take on Beth's killers, and Rick wonders if he should help King with this task.

On the cover:
The cover was not that hard to do. That's not because of any major leap in my cover making ability, but rather the idea for the cover had been thought of a long time ago. The picture had been taken in Nice of le port, and is a location where a pivotal part of the plot occurs. I visited this place for the first time in 2004; a hot summer if I recall, and when I first really fell in love with the city. Me and a friend of mine from the military had actually parked our car in le port and slept there. We took the ferry nearby to head for Corsica a few days later.

The port remains with me to this day, and this photo here is the perfect shot for a book that first really started in this city.

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