12 September 2015

Guest Post: Nyla Nox On the publication of volume 2 of ‘Graveyards of the Banks’ – ‘Monsters Arising’


Midnight in the City of London. The Masters of Finance rule the world. Small creatures run for cover. Nyla is still working on the graveyard shift in the Most Successful Bank in the Universe, trying to survive. But the Monsters in the Bank are not sleeping

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The reluctant trilogist 

Why do people write trilogies? I don’t know. I certainly never intended to write a trilogy.  All I wanted was to write about the things that were sitting on my heart and pushing to get out. All I wanted was to tell a story that had never been told before. 

And I’m actually one of those writers whose style gets called ‘sparse’ and ‘pared down’ – which means every word that is in the book has passed a number of strenuous stress tests that would leave any bank, for example, flat on the floor.  I use as few words as possible.  This has worked well for me in stories, articles and other books.

So how did I, of all people, become a trilogist? Because, as the old joke goes, it was the shortest and most efficient way to tell the story. 

My story is about a small person (like myself, like yourself perhaps) who falls, quite accidentally, into the deepest darkest heart of the Most Successful Bank in the Universe.  Her journey explores that dark world as we get to know thousands of characters and experience many crises and finally, a global catastrophe. The narrator is small but the story is immense. Again I’m pinching myself. Is this me? I actually started out as a poet!

But then, when I think about it, many classic trilogies have a similar story line.  Maybe their authors also started out writing a simple story (‘There and Back Again’, for example) and ended up with a trilogy spanning eons and thousands of characters.  Maybe they also found it was the shortest, most efficient way to tell the story…

Volume 1 of ‘Graveyards of the Banks’ – I did it for the money follows my narrator, Nyla, into the night time world of the graveyard shift at the Bank, where she creates graphics to killer deadlines that illustrate the visions of thousands of bankers who shout at her, make impossible demands and treat her like the scum beneath their feet.  But she does get some of the money she needs if she submits to the nightly bullying and extreme stress.  (And also to a zero hours contract where she can be fired any day, no toilet breaks and regular public humiliation…)  It’s a bit like a reverse LOTR that starts out in Mordor… and it ends with some major cliffhangers.

Volume 2 Monsters Arising, begins, surprisingly, with a narrowing of Nyla’s world.  The ‘death by a thousand cuts’ (as one reviewer described her experience in volume 1)  has lowered her expectations of life and she grasps at a chance of personal happiness with one of her fellow workers, a man who has also been severely damaged by his time in the Bank.

However, in the Global Center of Excellence, the larger forces that power corporations and societies will not let Nyla escape into ‘private life only’.  The pain level created by Nyla’s abusive supervisors increases to a point where something has to give.  And it does.  (All connected to the mysterious character of Vera who arrives at the end of volume 1 – yes, some of the cliffhanger questions will be answered and some will continue to volume 3.)

Volume 2 is both darker and lighter than volume 1.  We get to know some of the characters a lot better, and the Bank’s contempt for human rights turns into destruction of human life.  On the other hand, we also see how Nyla and friends try to create something positive in their ‘little’ lives, constricted as they are by the conditions under which these lives have to be lived.

Volume 2 is a volume of many twists.  Prepare to be surprised and go on a rollercoaster of emotions, hope and fear, excitement and helplessness. But you’ll never guess the end and resulting cliffhangers leading into volume 3.  At least I hope so…

So I’m beginning to understand why ‘Graveyards of the Banks’ needs to be a trilogy. But what is the effect of writing a trilogy on the writer?  I thought writing a whole novel was tough.  And it is.  Particularly towards the end of the writing process when you have to hold the entire book in your head all the time in order to get the dynamics on the macro level right.
 
But with a trilogy, there are new problems that I never even saw coming. Not only is the story three times as long, volume 1 is already published when volume 2 and 3 are still being finalized.  This is both good (I was able to be inspired by reader feedback) and bad (writing with a sense of live readers behind the book is another level of stress I was entirely unprepared for).  I try to see it as an advantage.  After all, every novel is a dialogue between author and reader. 

But how are readers going to read my trilogy? Are they going to read it in one go or ‘binge’?  Or are they going to stretch the reading experience out over weeks? I try to remember how I read the trilogies I loved.  (And I do love trilogies, as a reader, it just never occurred to me that I might be writing them, too..)

Some of them were already well established trilogies when I discovered them, so in theory I could buy them all.  This was the time of the bookshop, and I remember hunting the volumes down from shop to shop.  It certainly made me want to read them more. The experience of reading a hotly hunted volume 2 and 3 is very intense.  The characters live in my mind while I hunt for volume 2 and 3, and I am ready to throw myself into this very different world.  I remember throwing key and bag aside when I got home, half slipping out of my coat, and starting to read.  I remember running into a lamp post while reading on the sidewalk.

And now for the age old question:  can you read volume 2 on its own?  Yes!  I provide a ‘what went before’ section to get you started and off you go!  (You may want to read volume 1 afterwards…)  And here it is: ‘Graveyards of the Banks – Monsters Arising’.

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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