Mastodon The Writing Desk: Guest Post ~ Graveyards of the Banks - I did it for the money, by Nyla Nox

9 February 2015

Guest Post ~ Graveyards of the Banks - I did it for the money, by Nyla Nox

A haunting trilogy about Nyla's journey through the gothic maze of the Most Successful Bank in the Universe in London. A group of jobless humanities graduates abandon all hope and enter the Third Basement for a life on the graveyard shift, a toxic bubble of bitches and bullies where the Bank conducts human experiments to select the Fittest to Rule. Nyla Nox worked on that night shift herself for seven years, treated by the Bank as the lowest of the low, hidden away in the Building Without A Name, right in the heart of one of the world's most powerful institutions in the City of London. Her voice is still unheard, the story of her hidden tribe is still untold. 

Available on Amazon US and Amazon UK

Long sleepless nights high above the London night, cowering in fear of bullies who had the power of instant dismissal, desperate for the money, not allowed to take toilet breaks – that was my life for seven years.  When I escaped in the morning, I wrote poetry and dreamed of a better world.

Oh, where was that?  No, it wasn’t the Prison of Askaban, although some called it that in whispers.  I worked on the graveyard shift at the Most Successful Bank in the Universe as a graphics operator, prey to the bankers who were ‘top dogs’ and the shift leaders who could do whatever they liked while our managers slept.

I am not the writer I always thought I would be.  From the age of six, I wrote fantastic stories, plays, poems and epic sagas. My trilogy ‘Graveyards of the Banks’, is a saga alright, but a saga about my life of hell at the Bank.  The experience was so traumatic and so pervasive, nothing else would come out of me before I had written this.  I didn’t want to.  I wanted to write about fantastic creatures and unknown galaxies, and sometimes I was able to escape into these, but only for shorter stories.

The ‘Graveyards of the Banks’ loomed over my mind like the ghosts of the medieval plague victims buried in the old graveyards around the Bank.  And so I wrote about them. This was a long and painful process. At first I didn’t really know how. My novel was set in the work place, although it was a very extreme workplace for sure, huge floors crammed with people, filthy kitchens, fleas in the carpets, and constant, constant anger fuelled shouting.  This was not the stuff of comedy.  It was more like a gothic tale of shadows and terror.

But there were not gothic tales of shadows set in the workplace. Why not?  I became intrigued by that question.  Why is the work place not portrayed with the same depth and width of artistic expression as our private lives?  Or history?

We spend so much time at work.  We have relationships, often very difficult group dynamics that nothing has prepared us for, and emotions run very high at work, particularly in high pressure places and, of course, on the night shift. I worked on the ‘Graveyards of the Banks’ for five years, two of them full time.  I financed those years partly with the money I made there.  Which is kind of ironic, I know…

Those five years also were my apprenticeship as a novelist.  Before, I had been a poet (and the London poetry scene was also a fairly vicious environment…), so I struggled with expanding the writing instead of condensing it.  I also struggled with the fact that, with a novel, you have to turn up day after day after day (or night, I had become so used to night work that I now mostly write after midnight).  A poem can be written in one or two sessions.

I discovered procrastination and self doubt beyond my wildest fears, and I also relived a lot of the scary experiences I was writing about.  Nobody could really relate to what I was going through – the Bank is a unique environment, as is the business of being a novelist.  The ‘normal’ people around me didn’t share either.  Who knows what they thought of me during those five years – I’m too afraid to ask…

Now that the trilogy is finished, I am very proud.  These books made me into a novelist.  So much so that I now work part time as a writing coach.  I also have developed my own way of writing about the work place, quite different from most other novels. 

Volume 1 is called ‘I did it for the money’.  I never thought a book of mine would have that title.  But the cover image shows a graveyard statue wearing a dollar sign reminiscent of the ‘Scarlet Letter A’.  There’s a hint of poetry in that… Maybe for my next book I can now return to writing sagas about places far away and tales of other suns. Or maybe the ‘Graveyards of the Banks’ are the strangest places I will ever write about.

Nyla Nox

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About the Author

Nyla Nox lives an exciting double life, writing about finance and the workplace at mergersandinqusitions,
efinancialcareers and of course in her novel trilogy ‘The Graveyards of the Banks’.  Volume 1, ‘I did it for the money’, will be out on 6 March but is already available for pre-order. She also writes stories about fantastical creatures and her work has been included in collections by Cleis Press, Zharmae Press and Drollerie Press. Find out more at her website and follow Nyla on Twitter @NylaNox

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