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Black Magic Behind The Scenes

Behind the Scenes Preface

Black Magic was a book that took a few years to reveal itself to me. While reading a popular urban fantasy series, I was enjoying the concept, but not super into the author’s execution. The whole time I kept having these thoughts about what might make the series better. At the time, I was a pretty heavy reader of non-urban fantasy, so it took a while for me to decide to make something of all the ideas that had been swirling around in my head. Fun fact: Alex’s last name in the early brainstorming days was Cross. Some of you might already see how that was a problem. Luckily I punched the name into the Amazon search field, and discovered none other than mega-bestselling author James Patterson had an entire series based on a character named Alex Cross.

Where I’ve skipped a chapter, it just means I had nothing particularly interesting to say about it beyond what was presented in the original text. Plenty of spoilers abound, so proceed with caution!


Early fans of the series will know that this prologue wasn’t written until after the first five Black Records books were done. For various reasons having to do with relaunching the series, I decided to do a hefty revision of the first three published books. The result of that was a no-hold-barred introduction that lays bare the darkest patch of Alex’s bleak personal history. This is an event I’d developed for her backstory right from day one, and only hinted at in the first few books. After a bit of thought, I decided the story would play out better if this was an open secret shared between readers and Alex, even if many of the people closest to her in the books don’t learn about it until much later. 

Chapter 1

I once had someone comment that it seemed silly Alex would go through so much trouble to retrieve a Magic: The Gathering card, but as a teenager when MTG first released, the Black Lotus card had mythical status almost right from the get-go. While some aren’t worth all that much, an Alpha Set Black Lotus sold at auction for $166,000 in 2019.

Chapter 3

While the Bolt-Hole isn’t a real place, it’s based on one of my favorite drinking holes in the city. The Narrow is tucked away in an alley off Main Street near 2nd, and is worth a visit if you’re in the area. They’ve added a hard to read sign over the years, and there are no hidden entrances for fae and other disreputable figures to use, but it’s a cozy little space to grab a drink late at night… if you can find a seat when it’s busy.

Chapter 5

I’m often hard on Yaletown when I reference it in any of my writing, which is probably unfair. While it is a yuppy-infested collection of overpriced boutiques and bars, plenty of normal people live there too. Okay, maybe not plenty, but some. At least one good friend of mine does, so maybe he’s the only one. Alex and I are both East Vancouver kids, and Yaletown just isn’t our scene. Although, Alex is probably a bit more opinionated on the matter than I am in real life.

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