GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ The Story Behind the Story: Hollow Men by Fantasy Author Todd Sullivan + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Story Behind the Story: Hollow Men by Fantasy Author Todd Sullivan + giveaway

I have had many muses over my lifetime, and the price for their words have often been high. Recently, I moved to Taipei, Taiwan, to start a new job at an English academy. Teaching young people can uplift you; helping the next generation reach greater heights is a noble calling.

Unfortunately, I have the misfortune for working for a terrible office manager. Almost a cliché in her petty cruelty, and in my first five weeks, five teachers—disgruntled, disgusted, abruptly, and without warning—quit.

The horror! The horror!

Yet as I approach my third month at this academy, I see narrative potential, a muse demanding her payment for the story she’ll reveal. If only I listen. And observe, for a story crafted from the toxic environment of a Machiavellian supervisor is a universal story. From Taiwan to America to South Africa to Saudi Arabia, it’s a narrative that readers will relate to, and so has the capability to transcend.

Write what you know.

This is how I compose fiction. My fantasy novella, HOLLOW MEN, also demanded its pound of flesh, but I am proud of the result, and I am sure readers will enjoy it. And empathize as they forget how their day began and wake up in a dream, walking down a road towards Naganeupseong Fortress to slay the ak-ma, devourer of souls.

There are dead everywhere. You count them as the oaken doors of the police station shut behind you. One body, slumped against the doorway, silver badge splattered with blood.

Another splayed on the tabletop, face partially consumed.

A third, hanging from the rafters, rivulets of blood snaking down his torso to collect in a puddle on the red floor.

A fourth and fifth, clinging together in death. The one on the left, headless; the one on the right staring with lifeless eyes, mouth opened wide in a silent scream.

You draw your gun from its holster and try to remember how your day began. This all seems familiar somehow, yet belonging to a different reality, a nightmare you woke up into.

You walk across the broken tiles, your steps echoing in the silence. You don’t know what you’re looking for, or what pushes you forward, but you know you can’t turn back. You keep your finger on the trigger, tense, ready to fire at a moment’s notice. What killed these people? And where has it fled?

Your gut tells you it hasn’t gone far. Somewhere in this tomb of winding stairs, long hallways, and corners shrouded in shadow, evil gnaws on darkness, waiting for a fresh victim.

Will it be you?

Hollow Men
by Todd Sullivan
December 9, 2019
115 pages
Men from South Hanguk undertake quests to gain social standing, to stand above their peers, to make names for themselves. To become heroes. Few ever return. Ha Jun, sixteen years old, possesses a glyph sword crafted in foreign lands. Alongside a soldier, a knight, and a monk, he travels across the country to destroy a demon lurking beyond the running trees of Naganeupseong Fortress.

Accompanying them is the dark elf, Windshine, who emigrated to South Hanguk from her own war-torn country centuries ago.Distrusted by the people of South Hanguk, Windshine has the Emperor’s protection and is tasked with recording the valiant acts of quest groups battling creatures born from nightmares. Ha Jun becomes drawn to Windshine as they near Naganeupseong Fortress, but when he discovers the blood connection between the demon and the dark elf, he will either succumb to his fear, or rise up and become a hero.

About the Author:
Todd Sullivan attended his first serious writing class in 1995 at Stanford University. Between 1997 and 2002, he participated in the National Book Foundation's 10 day summer writing retreats. In 2006, he graduated with a Bachelors in English with Concentrations in Creative Writing from Georgia State University. He moved to New York that same year, and received a Masters of Fine Arts from Queens College in Flushing, New York in 2009. Todd moved to Jeju, South Korea, where he taught English in the public school system for five years. He currently lives in Seoul, and is studying the Korean language at Yonsei University. He is also working on a speculative fiction/urban horror novel that takes place in Korea.

Print copy of Hollow Men and this fan and mask from Taiwan!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. That's a great question. I don't know where.

  2. Not sure exactly but definitely somewhere non european or anglo saxan.

  3. "Todd teaches English in Taiwan. Where would you like to teach an English class?" I think I would like to teach English in Tokyo!

  4. I would like to teach English in Germany.

  5. This author writes very interestingly about adventures. I wonder if he himself has been in places that can be called wild. As a rule, people can write about the hardships of traveling, but they prefer to live in comfort somewhere in Taiwan or Japan)) No, I’m not a hater, don’t think so. I just recently returned from Okavango delta . You can read about it if you didn’t know about such a natural reserve. Sometimes I think that visiting the wild helps us appreciate the comfort that we have.