Damien Black

Old Nick's Letters

Welcome to Old Nick's Letters, a series of blogs and occasional videos compiled by the writer whenever he feels the constellations are propitious.

And so it begins…

Somehow, I always knew I would arrive at this point.

Deep breath, dramatic pause… After years spent labouring in the dark, I am finally poised to make the transition from freelance hack to indie author. Roll fanfares and cue much rejoicing in the fields…

As of time of writing, few people know I exist; for all I know, no one is reading this post. It doesn’t matter. I am here, at this point. And to me, right now, that is all that matters.

A few words then for my phantom readers, about me and how I came to be here…

Some years ago I was preparing to take a trip around the world. Needing a break from my meticulous planning, I had decided to put the guidebooks aside and opt for a little vegetal R&R. There was an old pad lying in a corner of my room. I’d been an indifferent artist on and off for years, but had long forsaken drawing – and writing – for music.

Picking up the pad I began drawing.

I don’t know where it came from. Divine inspiration bequeathed by God? Overactive imagination informed by years of reading? Strong weed purchased from my local dealer? Take your pick – perhaps the three are not mutually exclusive. Whatever the cause, by the time I was done I had several continents mapped out. I hadn’t indulged in the fantasy genre for years – having been far too busy pretending to be cool for such idiosyncratic diversions – so it came as something of a surprise.

Looking at the map through my stoned fugue, I found it pleasing to the eye. I fleshed out a few quasi-kingdoms from its lovingly drawn parameters, put it away, and thought little more of it.

A few years later I was back, the dust of half a dozen countries on my Aussie-made hiking boots. I’d travelled to the other side of the world and back, and had little mind for fictional ones.

Then I stumbled on the map… and I remembered.

The story had always been there. Since my early teens – fuelled by RPGs, TV, cinema and of course literature – it had been coalescing gradually at the back of my mind. The inevitable distractions of so-called real life had pushed it there, but it had remained, a slender flame stubbornly refusing to go out.

In my spare time I scratched away at the vaguest of ideas. A world once ruled by an ancient race of sorcerer-kings… an eldritch legacy that would threaten the very existence of the latter-day mortals who stumbled upon it… an epic narrative that evoked a pseudo-history as much as it spun a yarn…

Slowly but surely a defined plot strand emerged. It has taken me several years since then to get to this point: Devil’s Night Dawning, the first instalment of that epic, the Broken Stone Series, which I am delighted to say will be available for purchase imminently.

Perhaps I took the first step when I drew the map. Perhaps I took it many years before that, when I began to feed my imagination with tales of high adventure and brooding myth as a child. Wherever they truly began, those faltering baby steps have brought me to the first stage of this journey, one I feel I have been preparing for – sometimes consciously, sometimes not – for much of my life.

On the brink of the unknown, I have only one certainty: somehow, I always knew I would arrive at this point.

I am thrilled. I am terrified.

I am an indie author.