WINGS OF THE STORM(THE DUNES OF AELARON #1) BY CHRISTOPHER GUHL & AARON BUNCE | AUTHORS Q&A | Escapist Book Tours
TITLE : Wings Of The Storm (The Dunes Of Aelaron #1)
AUTHOR : Christopher Guhl, Aaron Bunce
GENRE : Fantasy
INTENTED AGE GROUP : Young Adult and Up
DATE OF PUBLISHING : 2018
PUBLISHER : Autumn Arch Publishing, Podium Audio (narrated by Nikki Massoud)
Welcome to my tour stop for Wings Of The Storm by Christopher Guhl & Aaron Bunce, hosted by Escapist Book Tours. I am so grateful to be part of The Escapist Book Tours and for getting the chance to do a Q & A with the authors. Make sure to check The Escapist Book Tours out because they do an awesome job of introducing a lot of new titles mainly self pub and indie published SFF books.
If you are interested in checking out the official page for the book tour – CLICK HERE
Content/Trigger Warnings :
Shown on page :
=>Some violence and gore
Alluded to :
My name is Vayo, and I am a slave.
My people lived in Argia, the City of Light, before Nabonidus the Defiler swept across the land. He
conquered, murdering and enslaving the other tribes. I was born after the fall, in a crumbling pit of
despair and sadness.
Nabonidus crowned himself ruler of the land, building his new kingdom from the rubble of our fallen
world. I live and serve them now, my head bowed, and my eyes down. That is, until a master servant
My new duty? Attending the King himself, serving the man that ruined my people. Desperate for
blessings, I placed an offering to the Mother Goddess on my roof. Afterwards, I fell into a strange dream.
One where I soared over the dunes on wings of radiant feathers. Shouts and screams startled me awake,
and I watched as the King’s men carried my friend away. I followed, deep into dark tunnels beneath my
Fleeing the horrors I witnessed below, I hid in the one place they would not think to look. Inside that
forbidden temple and buried beneath the rubble of our broken past I stumbled upon a peculiar sight.
A beautiful warrior, with her arms wrapped around a shimmering, blue egg.
Life as I know it will never be the same.
1. What was your inspiration for writing Wings Of The Storm?
Aaron: Initially, I wrote the prologue as a prompt for a writer’s workshop while finishing my English
degree, but never really contemplated the larger story. Chris and I are always throwing story ideas at
one another, and I’d been bit by the recent desire to write some new fantasy. We started working on a
concept based off dragon riders, but we both felt that dragons, albeit super cool, were overdone. And
thus, our worldbuilding sessions began. We built multiple pantheons of gods and goddesses, as well as people, their beliefs, the world history, and then bridged the connection between the mortal world and the divine. We wanted to write a story about a character, deprived of everything, suddenly coming into possession of the one thing capable of changing not just her fate, but that of all her people.
Chris: And instead of dragons, or other, typical, fantasy creatures, we wanted something that was still
impactful, powerful, and had a nice look to it. We settled on massive, elemental birds. The desire to
write something that was still good ole fantasy, but not cookie cutter fantasy, was what really drove me
to the concept. I like being different.
2. What are some of the fantasy books that have influenced you as authors?
Aaron: J R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are some of the most formative in fantasy, but you could say that Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern was huge, too. I love to write grimdark
fantasy but have found that I am not as big a fan of reading it. Red Planet by Robert Heinlein was the
first chapter book I ever read cover to cover, so you could say that he helped propel me forward. I also
love C.S. Lewis and his Narnia series, for mystery blended with sci-fi, Dennis W. Green’s Traveler trilogy. As a writer, I find the works of Tambo Jones, previously published as Tamara Jones, to be the perfect blend of fantasy and horror. Her book Ghosts in the Snow still rings as one of my favorites.
Chris: I started off really slow into the world of fantasy. Nancy Farmer’s The Sea of Trolls trilogy got me into reading fantasy, then I worked my way through Percy Jackson books, until I was in a bookstore and saw a Brandon Sanderson book with a cool cover. That got me into Mistborn. What pulled me in was that it was similar to a short story I wrote years prior in college about a priest saving a young woman from a dangerous mist, then vows to show her the secrets of that endless mist. Fast forward through that and I landed on Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle series, and that was a punch to the gut to get me into creating my own worlds.
3. What was the research and writing process like?
Aaron: Research is huge. We researched cultures and their history, as well as regions, language
conventions, and general practices. It snowballs from there, as we look into religions and mythology.
Once we have a good idea of the cultures that inspire us, we start to form the pantheons of gods and
their stories. I started with creation and moved my way from there. The relationships between deities is always fun to form, and usually ties right into the world and peoples’ stories. Once we’ve got the heart of that worldbuilding done, we start outlining who our main character is, what defines them, and how they exist within that world. I start writing as close to the turning point or defining moment as possible, as to not bore readers with too many run-up chapters.
Chris: Echoing world-building. It was so much fun in writing sessions with Aaron. He would come up with an idea or character, then I’d add on, “Oh, that’s cool. What if they did this too?” Aaron would respond, “I LOVE THAT! Then they could do this and this and this.” It was like that every session we had, and was very productive creatively. Then once we got to the point of actually writing the manuscript, I steamrolled forward with the first draft, Aaron came through after with the revision and rewrites, then I came back through another time to polish it up.
4. Do you have any writing rituals?
Aaron: Not really. As I’ve learned, it is more about schedule. Be regular, surround yourself with the right ambience and environment, and use time management aids. I have a 15 minute productivity timer, which helps me focus only on my intended project.
Chris: I sit down and write. I’ve got a (now) two year old son, so every minute counts! I take advantage
of work lunches and breaks, and that’s my writing time. Late at night when my son and wife are
sleeping? That’s more writing time. I open up my laptop, iPad, heck, even my phone sometimes and get words in.
5. If you couldn’t write in the genre you write in, which genre would you prefer to write in?
Aaron: I think of genres differently than some writers, as my stories usually encompass elements of
many of them. Yes, overall it might be fantasy, but there will be adventure, mystery, romance, and some horror in there as well. I think that, is what makes writing so engaging. If a book is too formulaic and straightforward, I struggle to stay engaged.
Chris: A straight adventure novel would be fun. I used to read adventure books before I got into fantasy, like Andy McDermott and the like. While those still have somewhat of a fantastical air to them, it would be fun to try my hand at something like that.
6. Which genre would be the most challenging for you to write in and why?
Chris: A mystery. I would love to write a good, solid mystery, but not sure if I have the chops for it (yet). There is a lot of thinking and planning needed to write something like that, and a pantser like me would have a tough time of it.
Aaron: Probably clean romance. I don’t dislike romance, but I definitely skew toward the grittier end of
stories. I don’t necessarily need graphic violence and nudity, but I prefer to take an unencumbered
approach. If a story takes me to some more intense violence or sexual content, I don’t like to restrict it.
With that said, I don’t like violence just for violence’s sake, or sexual content that doesn’t provide value.
7. Tell us about a funny/weird/cool/most shocking thing you discovered while researching for the series.
Aaron: Actually, it was the biology of birds and how eggs are formed. Really fascinating stuff. When you consider how the egg forms inside the bird, then covered in calcite, a form of calcium carbonate, and then laid whole, protected, and intact. The whole process feels like a miracle all on its own!
Chris: Okay, ew, dude.
8. How has your journey of book publishing been?
Aaron: It has been a long one. When first starting to write way back in the old days of 2011-2012, I
wanted to do things the traditional way. Again, I was hardheaded and believed myself to be the next big thing. Hahaha. I look back on me then and laugh. I spent well over a year querying agents, to no avail. Then spent time querying publishers. The massive quantities of rejection that I went through back then helped form my thicker skin today. I rode the early wave of indie/self-publishing after that, and never looked back. Fortunately, we have some awesome companies that help indie authors now. I credit Podium Publishing, for one, as they’ve helped us create some amazing audio books.
Chris: Aaron’s been with me from the start. I found his “micro-press” through a mutual friend (shout-out Jarod Meyer and his William of Archonia series). I pitched my young-adult sci-fi novel about an all-female society of clones to him, and he helped me get my first book, Naevia-18, published. Then he took on a mentor role and helped me self-publish my next book to get me going on my own. We collaborated off and on with our own, individual, projects, then Aaron reached out to me about The Dunes of Aelaron, and here I am!
9. Tell us about the most fun and favorite thing you got to write in the book.
Aaron: This should probably come to no surprise to people that know me, or have read my other books, but when Vayo leads a group of her people to try and escape from Zerua City, they pass down and through a hidden door. It leads them into a series of dark tunnels and chambers under the city. To save on spoilers, let’s just say that my love of horror and thrillers came into play while writing those
Chris: He had a lot of fun with that scene. And somehow I didn’t have to reel him back at all. Bravo!
Hmm…my favorite…my “thing” in books is that I love adding twists. There’s one in particular in Wings
that I got to concept and write out, and I think it plays out really well. Can’t say much more than that
though without spoiling it.
10. What do you love the most to write and hate to write in your stories?
Aaron: This is a complicated question, as our love-hate relationships can shift between projects. I used to hate writing synopsis and back cover blurbs. They were the bane of my existence, and yet, now they are some of my favorite things to write. I also hated to write chapter one’s, because that is the first step on a long-long journey, and yet, now I am addicted to starting stories. At this point, my least favorite part is writing bios. LOL
Chris: Everything Aaron “used” to hate, is everything I currently hate. (•_•)
11. How did you come up with the world and could you tell us a little about the process of creating it?
Aaron: Sure. We wanted a basic premise that set the Dunes of Aelaron apart from other fantasy worlds. For starters, it is a desert world. This plays into an imbalance and is the overall arc of the series. They have had no storms or rain for many generations. But the greatest element that we created, was that this is not a world of weather seasons, but of sunlight. Just imagine preparing for a change in season, but instead of winter, it is an indeterminate period of nighttime. Or, unrelenting hot sun. This element plays into everything happening in the characters’ lives. Lovers are not wed during Suna, because they believe it will burn too hot and bright, like the sun, and not last. They also will not wed during Darka, as journeys should not begin in darkness. That is why the tribes reserve important events, like marriages, for that middling season of Eluna, where the bright sun and heat fades, and the world finds balance.
Chris: Adding on to that, as I was writing the first draft, I kept wanting to write the word “day.” I had to
stop myself, then we came up with an idea of how these people could tell time. We toyed with a
massive, hourglass like clock hanging above the Hobaya, but then settled on a recurring phenomenon
called a “sandfall.” So now Vayo and her people, what they would consider a “day,” to them is a
12. If Nabonidus The Defiler was to plan his new year resolutions, what would it be?
Aaron: Funny story, but this question actually ties in really well to his arc in Wings of the Storm, so if I
answer honestly, it will provide huge spoilers. To be safe, I will simply say—fall into a brooding,
contemplative mood and question every decision he’d ever made.
Chris: Ditto. And probably cut back on the tart cherries.
13. What are the best things and the worst things about your main character Vayo?
Aaron: Vayo has some wonderful traits. For starters, she is young and energetic. Considering her tribe
was conquered and is forced to live in a walled-up, stinking slave quarter, she is also pretty optimistic.
She is compassionate and very much wants to trust but is also naïve. Unfortunately, that is her downfall.
Chris: She’s also a little stubborn, in both a good and bad way. She’s not afraid to stand up for what she believes in, but let’s that consume her a little too much (to the point that she gets in trouble).
14. If Vayo’s life was made into a movie, what would be the name of it?
Aaron: Perhaps, “From slave to hero—how one girl reforged the bones of a broken people.” Or, since
this book really is the story of her life, “Wings of the Storm” works really nicely, too. Because they live in a heat-blasted, desert world, their people have been waiting and watching for the return of storms.
Vayo flees into the one place she isn’t supposed to go and stumbles onto the one thing that can make
that happen. Enter Traba, a real-life storm bird.
Chris: It’s gotta be “Wings of the Storm”. Too good of a name to not use again. And again for the video
game. One more time for the remake thirty years from now. (¬‿¬)
15. Your favorite underhyped books you want more people to read.
Aaron: There is this one book by these two guys I know, I think it is called “Wings of the…something”,
LOL. No in all seriousness. I know a lot of indie authors and they are all some of the hardest working
people I’ve met. Rachel Auckes writes some awesome science fiction and has a really cool zombie series to her credit, as well. Dennis W. Green’s Traveler series is one of my all-time favorite worlds(s)(s)(s)(s)- that’s an inside joke, as the main character can travel between alternate dimensions. Terry Maggert and J.N. Chaney produce a lot of awesome science fiction. But I would also encourage people to lookup books by Tambo Jones. Her fantasy is without a doubt some of the most creative and intriguing stuff out there. Oh, and there is this cool dude, Chris Guhl. His book Naevia-18 is a lot of fun and would make a really cool animated series. I could go on and on…
Chris: Aaron’s Necroverse series is awesome, if you’re into horror/sci-fi (which I didn’t realize I was into until this series, oh, also, there’s your warning for graphic content). It’s like Venom mixed with
Deadpool, but thrown into a Dead Space game. Pretty cool. Jarod Meyer has a great fantasy series out. If you’re craving some dystopian YA stuff, check out Jenny Moyer’s Flashfall duology. And not sure if this is considered underhyped, or if I’m just late to the party, but Scott Meyer’s Off to Be the Wizard is my CR and it’s awesome!
See Also :
(This is our attempt at a bit of fun. We ask our authors to come up with a few short, clever, possibly pop culture laden, descriptions of their books just to give a little taste of what’s to come for readers.)
How to Train Your Storm Bird • Horrible Bosses: Nabonidus Edition • Thor: Love and Feathers
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads
Around every turn, Christopher Guhl expects to be dazzled by something unexpected, amazing, and
fantastical. Though still waiting for the day when a wizard shows up on his doorstep, he now creates the worlds he dreams of on his own, plucking them from his mind like seeds and allowing them to grow
after proper nourishing. He fell in love with writing while completing a creative writing emphasis track at the University of Iowa. Then took those skills and wrote his debut novel, NAEVIA-18, a young adult science fiction novel akin to The Giver and Divergent. Next, he moved to fantasy worlds with ABSOLUTE ESSENCE, a fantasy adventure with elemental monsters, strange creatures, and powerful magic. After a novella, DESCENT, set in the world of Naevia-18, Christopher is ready to tackle his next adventure, joining forces with a strange, cloaked man that showed up on his doorstep…
A devoted scribbler and award winning author, Aaron Bunce has been seeking a portal to another world since childhood. Once he finally gave up on finding a magical wardrobe or teleporting phonebooth, he decided to write about new worlds instead. A graduate of Southern New Hampshire’s English program, Aaron has been a writer, editor, publisher, and audiobook producer. His passion is stories, but more so, characters, as they drive the experience. He started writing in fantasy, bounced to science fiction horror, veered into LitRPG territory, and has touched many other genres in between.
Aaron and Christopher are excited to bring their newest offering to readers, as they launch an all-new
fantasy saga—The Dunes of Aelaron. Featuring wind-swept dunes, dark, meddlesome gods, and massive stormbirds, the electric first offering, Wings of the Storm, will blow readers away.
Christopher’s socials :
TIKTOK | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM
Aaron’s socials :
TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM
Prize: A Signed Paperback Copy of Wings of the Storm!
Starts: October 20, 2022 at 12:00am EST
Ends: October 26, 2022 at 11:59pm EST