So where does it all come from?
Damn if I had a quid for every time, I have been asked that I would be as rich as . . . well, I would be pretty well off, I can assure you.
A lot to go through with, eh?
Let’s lay some groundwork, a little bit of worldbuilding if you will. I can’t speak for every other author and writer, painter or musician out there but I think we all have our respective roads in which the imagination has flourished – encapsulated our personal needs to build our places of escapism and wonder.
For me, personally, it stemmed from a lonely childhood to be fair. Now don’t get me wrong, I had friends – and still do – and this isn’t a rant about abuse or bullying, although some of the latter had its time in my narrative. Mostly, this was about the need to explore places beyond the veil of what was essentially a very lonely time.
Why were you so lonely?
Actually, I don’t think I was. Now that is a bit of a paradox, isn’t it? I have constantly felt lonely throughout my childhood, but I had friends, family, all around me and yet I felt lightyears away from anyone due to a highly active imagination I seemed to have nurtured from a young age. I always had this portal in my mind that would never close – day or night – and being within the gravity of that endless place always made me feel – ghost-like – perhaps; transient, as if I myself was just a short fable from a sleeping god’s reverie. Always spoken over, always left to my devices in the corner of the room or kicking the ball in the garden – never really having an impact on the solidity of life. An alien breeze passing through a chasm of darkness, unseen – unfelt.
Are these books/ stories, your chance to be seen?
Perhaps they are. I have always found people awkward to talk to. No matter if I have known them for years or minutes. There is some borderline autism in there, I think. But I’m not about to get tested for it. I’m 44 and I have got this far. But yes. Maybe they are. Maybe the books are a chance for me to be seen, and perhaps tell my story through a medium of genre befitting myself. The Boy Who Walked Too Far is essentially a parable for depression.
Where do you think the depression stemmed from?
I spent so long in being unseen that certain people, friends, cousins, even teachers saw me as easy prey. Back then in the eighties such behaviour wasn’t analysed and given credence. People in positions of power or, albeit in intelligence or arrogance got away with murder . . . of the soul. I was exhausted before I got to my teens, I think. Nothing was ever said. They got away with it. I’m a ghost.
But did they?
So effectively you were seen. But for all the wrong reasons.
Easy prey. They knew I wouldn’t fight back. I came from a broken home, but I was loved. Adored, possibly. But everything I did felt tainted. As if I lived in the shadow of something greater, and my cries for help or assistance went unwarranted. I was a flea on the back of a mountain of shadow and I could see the strings of the universe connect to everyone, bar myself, and in that segregation, I became a living ghost. I had no point of solidity. No voice.
So why didn’t you shout? You must have been so angry?
Because I have never felt real myself. I am a walking dream. Perhaps if I continued being unseen, they would leave me alone. I am, the boy who walked too far.
That’s Xindii? You have manifested those years of torment and neglect into a character?
Is that a bad thing?
No, that’s incredibly cathartic? Why do you think you have fashioned your discontent into this character?
Because I’m weird?
No, because you were simply happy. Happy doing your own thing. Content in being you. Most children and adults would be pretty jealous – and I think, probably are.
I don’t really understand.
Everyone is raised different. And every home has its problems, whether it’s kids or adults. Your tormentors’ probably see you as gifted, intelligent, talented. Not everyone has a place they can escape to. Not every child can slink into the cracks in spaces and hide from the world.
Where does the violence come from? In the books.
I was always afraid as a child. Not of monsters on the telly or the school bully. Just, sometimes the dreams I had were so real they stayed with me for days. Sometimes, even in my early forties they can still impact my day.
What were the dreams as a child if you don’t mind me asking?
A crocodile would saunter into my room. A red crocodile and talk to me in muffled tones. The voice to me was nails on a chalkboard. It was the eyes that petrified me every time he visited, black eyes that had no bottom, as if his skull were hollow and something controlled him across the abyss. It was a puppet, and something was reaching out for me.
How old would you have been?
That’s an incredibly young age for such a vivid and surreal dream.
They haven’t let up.
And the violence originated from there, perhaps?
I think the violence was a steady progression. It snowballed into something quite malignant, a breathing demon who inhabited the id. It has fed off the anguish and lack of confidence in myself since my early teens. The writing showcases the vitriol of it. God forbid if it was ever let out to manifest. Least transferring my neurosis to ink and paper lets me vent my frustration with the world. For a moment or two, I can breathe again.
This demon. It has been with you a long time. Is it to, manifested within the book, perhaps?
It has its place yes. As the main antagonist if you will.
Well, aren’t you going to introduce me?
I couldn’t do it to you. You’re kind.
A little biography perhaps? Just for the notes.
Imagine the antithesis of me. I am the alpha. It, the omega. Like myself it started out as a ghost, almost walking through the universe unseen. And for eons it did, until it found the most beautiful thing in creation to please it with its whims of fancy and travel through the places of the mind. It found the written word, and that is where it hid. And that is where I fight him.
So, you use, each individual novel as an attempt at purification in a way? To exorcise this demon.
In a way, yes. The darker aspects naturally, though the characters and villains are already there. My angst allows me to mould them, like clay, embellish my woe.
So, what are you exorcising next?
Torment. Pure unrefined torment. No child should experience such a thing, when the world is still forming around them, and we, its children, are growing into its already daunting extremities.
Could you elaborate on that? I don’t want to push.
No child should be betrayed by family. To be trapped, in pain and your tormentor relish in your despair is tantamount to evil.
My goodness, Dom, what happened?
Father of cats and one human daughter. And a strange male toddler who magically appeared.
Imagineer of the fantastic and the horrific. Explorer of the ethereal realms of the human id.
Author of The Boy Who Walked Too Far and the upcoming novella Smoker on the Porch. Sequel to ‘The Boy’, A Stage of Furies due for release in 2022
Loves cooking, reading, cycling and generally behaving like a fool.
Fighting the fight for mental health.
Will sing for pizza and dance for wine.
CONNECT WITH DOM
About The Boy Who Walked Too Far (The Xindii Chronicles #1)
For aeons we had swam in the dream sea, our night-time thoughts observed, scrutinized.
An intelligence had formed within that endless sea.
It whispered to us of a fabled land of enlightenment.
On the last outpost in creation, the remnants of the universe gather and wait out the inevitable darkness. The Construct houses the holy and the sinners’ of ages. Here at the end of everything even murder is not outdated.
Dispatched by the Pope of Numbers to investigate, the Mapper Heironymous Xindii – one of a select few who can fuse reality and dream together – and his trusty confidante, Solomon Doomfinger take up the case of a man ripped to shreds by another’s dream.
It is a case that will define or break them. The city of Testament stands on the abyss of an invisible war and at its centre a force like no other. Here, among skulking gods, wingless angels and krakens, Xindii will face his own history and a future only pre-determined by the power of friendship.
Walk with him.