Then broken crayons and flakes of waxy residue were replaced with pencil shavings and powdered graphite.
While I can't begin to take all the credit for the literary mind my life has found me with, I can most certainly admit that I was blessed with a mind that was driven to create. This drive, as it turned out, was a prime foundation for my future educators to build upon. With each passing year of schooling, The Universe was kind enough to put me under the wings of the perfect sequence of teachers--their lessons perfectly weaving into the previously laid network of knowledge set in place by their predecessors--that instilled not only an awareness of the mechanics, but a greater love of the subject and its vast potential.
And while the seeds of wisdom were planted, those of motivation and reason were also sowed.
Like many of my generation, I was a child of divorced parents, and, like parents often do in those circumstances, my mother remarried. Now, fairytales often depict the stepparent as being a malicious embodiment of evil and hatred, and while I still view this as a rather clichéd literary device, I suppose the irony of ending up with a psychotic stepfather is too perfect to ignore. While the details of my mother's and my four years of being under the same roof as a man whose name to this day still chills me need not be addressed, it nevertheless taught me some valuable and worthwhile lessons. It was during this time with this man--who offered little kindness or support in my early years outside of trying convince me and my family that I was the Antichrist (by far the nicest thing he'd ever said to me)--that the fantasies that would birth Xander Stryker and the world of the Crimson Shadow series.
The day came when my mother and I found the strength to uproot and run, making what has been referred to as our "smokescreen getaway" from my hometown of Andover, Massachusetts to Upstate New York to be in the comforting embrace of our family and the promise of a brighter future. However, as many can attest, bright and sunny times are not motivators for change, and while we'd escaped the clutches of one tormentor we found ourselves entangled with others. Finally, the pressure of a deep-rooted hatred and a rapidly expanding self-loathing turned me into what I'd always feared of becoming:
A scornful, violent, self-destructive force.
The only certainty in my life at that time was that I would more-than-likely not survive to see my 16th year, and though I'd harbored dreams of returning to Massachusetts to find the destroyer of my childhood and become a destroyer in return, the news of his death from an old friend left me with no target but the one glaring back at me in the mirror. Realizing what I had become and clinging to the demonic title I'd been instilled with, I invented Xander Stryker, a boy--a monster, like myself--with all the strengths I, myself, could not muster.
And then Xander, in his tireless mission to end his life, helped me to find mine.
What had started as a means of venting my dark thoughts and hurting others on paper as others had hurt me in life became a purpose to continue. Taking on a life of his own, Xander became my mission; a means of discovering myself with every new revelation depicted on the pages. Then, after five painstaking years of depicting Xander's story--what would later become book #1 of the Crimson Shadow series--I'd discovered the strength to move on to his next tale.
A need to grow through Xander's stories became a reason to live, and my dreams of becoming an author began.
As the years have passed, I've found greater levels of peace with myself and the world, and have discovered that Xander's stories--which years ago had saved my own life--could just as easily serve as a means of support and bringer of hope to others who, like myself, find the weight of the world too much to bear.
In this way, I can find purpose not only in my natural abilities and a phenomenal line-up of educators and supporters, but in all my pain and suffering, as well. Had the events of my life not dropped me into the pit of my own mind, I would not have been driven to create one such as myself with the power to overcome it.
I would not have been driven to save myself. So if my late stepfather was right in his claims--if I truly am a product of some benevolent evil and destined to be a villain and a bane to humanity--then I'll wear the title of "Antichrist" with pride. In the end, whether I'm good or evil, loved or hated, I am The Literary Dark Prince.
And I'll always have a story to tell.
By Nathan Squiers
Xander Stryker wants to die. Ever since witnessing his mother's murder at the hands of his abusive stepfather when he was a boy, he has spent every day trying to reach that goal. But every night he's denied the death he craves.
When his eighteenth birthday approaches, an unforeseen chance for change is offered when his life is plunged into chaos and he's dragged into a supernatural world of vampires and other creatures of darkness.
Caught in the depths of this new reality, mysteries of his supernatural lineage begin to unravel and Xander is given the ultimate choice: Continue on with his wretched life or begin a new one as the vampire he was always meant to be.
Unfortunately, the supernatural world can be just as unforgiving and brutal as any other and Xander's choice is met with disastrous consequences. Now, with the chaos of the new world pressing down on him, his past reemerges and once again threatens to crush him. Will Xander be able to use his new strength to conquer his fears, or will he succumb to his own bloody darkness... ... and allow it to finally destroy him.
Book Trailer http://youtu.be/AUc8IpwcPCM
About the Author
Nathan Squiers (The Literary Dark Prince) is a resident of upstate New York where he lives with his loving fiancé and two demonic beings that have, for the time being, chosen to disguise themselves as cats (incredibly demanding and out-of-control cats).
Living day-by-day on a steady diet of body modification and potentially lethal doses of caffeine, he often escapes reality through novels, comics & manga, movies, and (of course) his own writing. When he's not immersed in the realm of fiction (be it his own or someone else's), he can be found in the chair of a piercing studio/tattoo parlor or reacquainting himself with the real world.
Visit Nathan and find out more about him and his work at