Here’s a part of the book that changed quite a bit from its original, self-published version. This was a much longer chapter in that draft, with more description of Latrell’s encampment and his philosophies. It included a speech by Latrell to his gathered followers that was equal parts evangelical tent-service and a call to military action against his perceived oppressors.
(By the way, that thumbnail picture is of a Thomas Kinkade painting, entitled The Mountains Declare His Glory. Let’s not put too much thought into it, but those who’ve finished the book will have a better idea of why I picked this painting to represent Latrell’s home base.)
There were a couple of concerns about this chapter that ultimately led to a complete rewrite. The first was that, this early on in the story, some readers might not accept the fact that such a large operation could remain hidden, even in a vast wilderness. I had it on pretty solid authority that this would be more than possible, especially if Latrell had the advantage of some cover from his government co-conspirators. However, this was (I believe) the only location in the book that I hadn’t actually explored in person, so I couldn’t say that I was 100% certain.
The second was less of a concern, and more of an editorial opinion. That being, it’s more powerful to let the details of Latrell and his operation be revealed more gradually, and through eyes other than his own. I ended up agreeing with this. So now, while you do get a dose of dread and a reasonably clear picture of the man, the full picture is left to later chapters.