Mark of a curse: Herald sportswriter pens novel on the darker side of success

Austin Daily Herald sports writer Rocky Hulne has written a book, “Blessed with a Curse,” currently on sale as an ebook through Amazon. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Austin Daily Herald sports writer Rocky Hulne has written a book, “Blessed with a Curse,” currently on sale as an ebook through Amazon. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Austin Daily Herald sportswriter Rocky Hulne has seen a lot of sports in his time.

From his time with weeklies to The Capital Journal in Pierre, South Dakota and finally here in Austin, Hulne has seen everything from championships to teams struggling to getting out of the gates.

So it may not be a surprise that out of this love of covering sports, Hulne has produced his first novel, “Blessed with a Curse,” now available as a digital download for $2.99 through Amazon.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 6.52.25 PM“It was something I always wanted to do since I was young,” Hulne confessed. “I wanted to do it as a profession, but it can be hard to make a living writing book so I got into journalism.”

The book isn’t a light affair, covering a variety of darker themes that arise from a rather unique pairing of inspirations — Hulne’s love of the movie “American Psycho” and his love for sports.

“The idea was not always in mind,” Hulne said. “‘American Psycho’ has always been one of my favorite movies and I told a friend once that I thought being a a sports fan, it would be kind of fun blending the two.”

The book isn’t so violent as the cult movie starring Christian Bale as a serial killer, but it does encompass several dark topics ranging from dealing with the pressure of outside influences to concussions.

The book follows small-town Minnesota athletic standout Jack Jackson as he progresses through high school, college and adulthood and how he deals with those pressures and everything that comes along with success. He also faces tragedy early on and finds himself battling the results of that tragedy.

“Originally, it was always going to be dark,” Hulne said. “I wanted to have more humor, but it had to be a darker story or it doesn’t come across as well.”

The story tries to capture what it’s like to be that kind of standout, especially in a small town.

“It’s got the spirit of high school sports and small town atmosphere,” he said. “It shows the problems with college and professional football, concussions and balancing the money and all of that.”

Many people will say they will write a novel, but often times it’s a start with no end. In Hulne’s case that turned out to be one of defining challenges.

“Just staying on line and doing it and not letting it sit for two weeks,” he said.

Hulne began the process of writing the book about three years ago. A majority of the work encompassed the past two years, but really it was longer than that.

Hulne said his work brought a certain influence to the work. Just being around the world of sports gave him several of places to pull things from.

“Just being a sports writer and being around sports on the sidelines,” he said. “Picking up stuff and being a sports fan all my life.”

Hulne hopes people will take something out of his story on an emotional level.

“Just to see people experience a story and experience the emotions that come with it and know that sometimes things aren’t as good as it appears to be,” he said.

Hulne hopes to write another book but admits the next one will be a little lighter.

“Probably something a little more laid back,” he said, laughing.

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