This week, Nick Cole’s post-apocalyptic story THE OLD MAN AND THE WASTELAND will be on sale – for free – on all ebook platforms!
Now is your chance to dive into the dark heart of post-apocalyptic America in this odyssey. Forty years after the destruction of civilization, human beings are reduced to salvaging the ruins of a broken world. One survivor’s most prized possession is Hemingway’s classic The Old Man and the Sea. With the words of the novel echoing across the wasteland, a living victim of the Nuclear Holocaust journeys into the unknown to break a curse.
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In October an omnibus of Cole’s three stories, THE WASTELAND SAGA, was released in print for the first time, and includes The Old Man and the Wasteland, Savage Boy, and The Road is a River. For its release, Cole wrote a guest blog post on our site explaining how he got the inspiration to write this saga and how his career has shaped his life:
Hello, I’m Nick Cole and I write books about the end of the world. Or at least, the end of the world as we know it. Worlds end all the time. Elementary school leads, eventually, to college, and each time we advance in our world, the one we’ve lived in for a few years and think we know so well, it ends. Chaos. Change. And then, like Columbus, we arrive in a new world and meet new people. The new world becomes our world. We readers know this. Worlds end and begin all the time, each time we pick up a book.
This is where I work as a writer. I work in the in-between worlds. Between the dying old and the savage new. A while back when I’d gotten out of the Army, I was doing the whole drunken ex-soldier thing when I broke my arm and found myself reading a book a day beside a community pool, trying to figure myself out. Then I found a second-hand copy of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. I read it and realized the truth of the book. You’re not beaten until you decide you’re beaten. I respected Hemingway’s quiet fisherman, Santiago. His lonely journey and epic struggle to prove only to himself that he still had value, that he could still make a contribution. That resonated with me. After that, I made a point of reading The Old Man and the Sea once a year over the course of a single day.
In the meantime I kept on writing. I’ve always written and studied, formally and informally, the art and the craft of writing. One of my first revelations as a writer came when I began to understand voice. As I started to read and re-read these authors, I began to hear their voices and study them. I heard Vonnegut’s melancholy joke. Heller’s bewilderment. Chandler’s lyric metaphor. Hemingway’s truth. Cormac McCarthy’s depthless simplicity.
It was in the last two where I found the crossroads that began the jumping off point for a story I would call The Old Man and the Wasteland. I’d kept on writing, and wrote a few other manuscripts including one about an old man living in a village of salvagers forty years after a nuclear war. I took a chance and published on Amazon and the other indie sites. I was surprised, completely, when The Old Man and the Wasteland found an audience on Amazo Kindle. It was just an experiment and I wanted to see how it would work out. The first month I sold 8 copies. I was thrilled. Out there in the world were eight people who’d been interested enough in my book description to actually part with .99 cents and take a chance.
Then, beyond expectation, I got a good review. Reading it, I felt that the reader was extending me a kindness maybe I didn’t deserve. But I am still grateful for her kind words and encouragement. Other reviews followed. And sales. Often times I’m truly humbled by what people have to say about the Old Man. He became a friend to many of them. They wrote kind words about rooting for him, knowing exactly how he felt when everything seemed against him, being right there, in the wasteland with him, when he triumphed in some small way. When he didn’t give up. The readers were just like his friend, Santiago, Hemingway’s Old Man was, right there with my Old Man. Every day I would call my Dad and tell him the numbers. At the end of his life it became a thing we enjoyed talking about together. He loved business. I love writing. When he died this year, I asked myself, “Who will I tell the numbers to now?”
Eventually my agent landed a nice deal with HarperVoyager. Lead by Diana Gill, they asked for two more Wasteland stories regarding the further adventures of the Old Man. I agreed to a contract and wrote The Savage Boy and The Road is a River. These were published for the first time in print as an omnibus on October 15, as THE WASTELAND SAGA.
So who am I? I’m a writer. I’ve always written. Even when no one was looking. I got noticed during the initial blush of the indie revolution and the folks at HarperCollins have been kind enough to indulge me and ask that I make more stories for people. I’m honored. I’m married to an Operatic Soprano with a nice career. I write in hotel lobbies. I don’t soldier anymore, but if my country needed me, I would. Worlds end all the time. I’m a writer now. And worlds begin all the time.