Interview with Book to the Future: Parts 1 and 2

Greetings, and I hope everyone had a safe, happy Thanksgiving!

I recently was lucky enough to be interviewed by book reviewer Steve Johnson, who published the interview in two parts on his website, Book to the Future. His in-depth questions covered the inspiration behind Knight in Paper Armor, my writing process, the book’s connection to the Holocaust, how the part titles are related to the ten sefirot, and more. If you’re interested, follow the links below — and make sure to follow Book to the Future, as well, because it’s a terrific site for literary fans of all genres.

Part One

Part Two

Interrogation of Nicholas Conley (Part One)

Knight in Paper Armor has been with you for a long time, how long has this story been formulating in your writerly mind and what were the specific inspirations?

The first inklings of the concept – and the title – came to me all the way back in 2010, actually, before my first book even saw print. It took me a long time to figure out how to write it, however. Every time I tried to draft it, it felt like I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t crack the code. Most of these drafts had very little in
common with the finished novel, but there was always one core element that remained—the idea that, basically, there’s something wrong with the world, and there’s this boy—Billy—who, through his strange powers, feels the pain of everyone out there, and wants to help.

Here’s the thing. What is this “pain of others,” exactly? As a writer, with a concept like that, you have to decide whether you’re going to be vague, for the sake of not polarizing readers, or if you’re going to be upfront, honest, and forthright about the brutality, inequalities, and unfairness of the real world. Explicit parallels felt necessary […] READ MORE.

Interrogation of Nicholas Conley by Book to the Future: Part I

Interrogation of Nicholas Conley (Part Two)

How has your Jewish heritage influenced this book in particular, and can you give a bit of an explanation of why you chose the titles of each part to correspond with Ancient Jewish mysticism?

Ah, thanks so much for asking this. So much about this book is rooted in my own Jewish background, on so many levels, but the most immediately apparent is in the character of Billy, and how his story is meant to reflect the nature of the Jewish diaspora, I.E., the exile and spread of Jewish communities, scattered across the globe, into distinct regional groups. For instance, you have the Jewish population who came to America as refugees in the 20th century, fleeing from antisemitic oppression, and for them there was often a concentrated effort to “blend in” and be “less Jewish,” or to emphasize one’s identity as an American, first and foremost, to the point of changing Jewish-sounding names to more American ones. This was my own family’s background. Growing up, I always knew I was Jewish, but because my connection to these roots was largely secular and deemphasized, I felt separated from my own “Jewishness,” by time and space, and had a deep longing to connect more deeply to my cultural heritage. Later, as an adult, this is what drove me to embrace the deeper, spiritual connection I now feel with Judaism, and as a parent, the power, love, and cultural elements of these traditions is something I deeply value and carry with me on a daily basis.

Anyway, with Billy: though he faces antisemitism from a young age, he’s a kid who is lucky enough to be surrounded by Jewish culture and traditions—at first. That changes quickly, when he’s violently ripped away from his family, and dropped into a gentile bubble. He never even gets a Bar Mitzvah. He still deeply connects to his inner Jewishness, and it’s something he values tremendously, but situations have caused him to feel unable to reach out and be fully connected to it. This represents the diaspora […] READ MORE.

Interrogation of Nicholas Conley by Book to the Future: Part II

Knight in Paper Armor: The Reviews Are In!

Knight in Paper Armor has now been out for over two months (!) and the response has truly blown me away. While I’ve written multiple books, this one has — by far — earned a response like no other.

Here are some of the reviews that have popped up online:

This book hits hard.

Jeanette Andromeda, Horror Made

As bleak as it seemed at times, there was an unyielding undercurrent of hope and light, selflessness and voices that would not be silenced. It brought not only a great balance to the story, but also a great reminder to me as a reader. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the seemingly endless onslaught of negativity, the pain and the suffering, sometimes you forget how much beauty and hope there is amidst it and how powerful those things can truly be.

Tricia, Bookworm Coalition

“Scary, inspiring, and ultimately life-affirming.”

– Dr. Olga Núñez Miret

Knight in Paper Armor is [Conley’s] latest novel and, in my opinion, is not only the most ambitious but also the maturest of his work to date.”

Steve Johnson, Book to the Future

“The story is part sci-fi, part dystopian, part fantasy, and it crackles with the ominous and intense undertone often found in dystopian literature like 1984 or Animal Farm or Brave New World.”

J.R. Alcyone, author of Five Fathoms Beneath

“Conley’s writing style is engaging, smart, and easy. His characters are multi-dimensional and you get a good sense of them having backstories even if you don’t get to delve into many. His compassionate cheering for the underdog is absolute and palpable throughout the story, and he portrays the banality of evil wonderfully. This book is a bit of an emotional roller coaster, and it’s a ride I’d read again.”

Jessica Settergren, No Pithy Phrase

“Like the great sci-fi writers of decades past, Conley uses a future setting to make insightful social and political commentary on contemporary society. At the same time, the story emerges, page by page, paragraph by paragraph, in such an engaging fashion, the underlying social message never supersedes or overpowers the characters or the plot. It is the perfect blend of social relevance with edge-of-your-seat, engaging storytelling.”

Michael S. Fedison, The Eye-Dancers

Knight in Paper Armor is a bright spot in a landscape of despair. I think we can agree that 2020 is not what we were hoping for. This book really gives me hope for the future if our youth grow up to fight even against seemingly impossible odds like Billy and Natalia.”

Liliyana Shadowlynn, The Faerie Review

“Moving, engaging and written with no-holds-barred, this tale is one that mimics reality, both past and present. Thought-provoking, dark, filled with emotional action, this dystopian tale should be a must read for those who appreciate a little mental meat to chew on.”

Dianne Bylo, Tome Tender

Knight in Paper Armor addresses some hard-hitting social issues that make you look at discrimination, differences, and the connection we all have.”

Betanda Shanam, Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored

Thanks so much, everyone, for all your support. Stay safe, stay healthy, and have a happy Thanksgiving.

Knight in Paper Armor

Amazon

Google Play

Barnes & Noble

Billy Jakobek has always been different. Born with strange and powerful psychic abilities, he has grown up in the laboratories of Thorne Century, a ruthless megacorporation that economically, socially, and politically dominates American society. Every day, Billy absorbs the emotional energies, dreams, and traumas of everyone he meets—from his grandmother’s memories of the Holocaust, to the terror his sheer existence inflicts upon his captors—and he yearns to break free, so he can use his powers to help others.

Natalia Gonzalez, a rebellious artist and daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, lives in Heaven’s Hole, an industrial town built inside a meteor crater, where the poverty-stricken population struggles to survive the nightmarish working conditions of the local Thorne Century factory. Natalia takes care of her ailing mother, her grandmother, and her two younger brothers, and while she dreams of escape, she knows she cannot leave her family behind.

When Billy is transferred to Heaven’s Hole, his chance encounter with Natalia sends shockwaves rippling across the blighted landscape. The two outsiders are pitted against the all-powerful monopoly, while Billy experiences visions of an otherworldly figure known as the Shape, which prophesizes an apocalyptic future that could decimate the world they know.

Knight in Paper Armor: The Paperback Has Arrived

Not a fan of ebooks? No worries. The paperback edition of Knight in Paper is now available, alongside its digital sibling.

Snag your copy on Amazon today!

Knight in Paper Armor

Knight in Paper Armor

By Nicholas Conley

Billy Jakobek has always been different. Born with strange and powerful psychic abilities, he has grown up in the laboratories of Thorne Century, a ruthless megacorporation that economically, socially, and politically dominates American society. Every day, Billy absorbs the emotional energies, dreams, and traumas of everyone he meets—from his grandmother’s memories of the Holocaust, to the terror his sheer existence inflicts upon his captors—and he yearns to break free, so he can use his powers to help others.

Natalia Gonzalez, a rebellious artist and daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, lives in Heaven’s Hole, an industrial town built inside a meteor crater, where the poverty-stricken population struggles to survive the nightmarish working conditions of the local Thorne Century factory. Natalia takes care of her ailing mother, her grandmother, and her two younger brothers, and while she dreams of escape, she knows she cannot leave her family behind.

When Billy is transferred to Heaven’s Hole, his chance encounter with Natalia sends shockwaves rippling across the blighted landscape. The two outsiders are pitted against the all-powerful monopoly, while Billy experiences visions of an otherworldly figure known as the Shape, which prophesizes an apocalyptic future that could decimate the world they know.

NEW RELEASE: Knight in Paper Armor

It’s here.

It feels unreal to say that. As an author, stories aren’t something you necessarily craft: if anything, as millions of writers have said millions of times, stories feel like they write themselves. It’s hard to take credit for them, as the author, when it feels like you were just the lucky person who could see through the portal into another world, and describe it all.

Honestly, though, books are places that you live in, breathe in, populated by characters and scenarios, both beautiful and tragic, that often feel as lifelike as anything else in the world. And while I feel a deep connection to each of my books, I’ll admit that Knight in Paper Armor is the one that feels the most real. Out of anything I’ve ever written, this is the one that’s struck me harder than any other. Knight in Paper Armor isn’t just a book, to me, but also a story, a setting, and a group of characters that have been with me for a long, long time. And now, I’m excited to share this world with the rest of you.

That’s right: Knight in Paper Armor is now available, and as a release day promotion, the ebook edition can be bought on Amazon — on today only! — for just $2.99.

The price of a coffee — what could be more appropriate? 

View this post on Instagram

Release day! The ebook edition of my newest book, Knight in Paper Armor, is now available. Thanks so much for your support, everyone! https://www.amazon.com/Knight-Paper-Armor-Nicholas-Conley-ebook/dp/B08CLSSX8Z KNIGHT IN PAPER ARMOR: Billy Jakobek has always been different. Born with strange and powerful psychic abilities, he has grown up in the laboratories of Thorne Century, a ruthless megacorporation that economically, socially, and politically dominates American society. Every day, Billy absorbs the emotional energies, dreams, and traumas of everyone he meets—from his grandmother’s memories of the Holocaust, to the terror his sheer existence inflicts upon his captors—and he yearns to break free, so he can use his powers to help others. Natalia Gonzalez, a rebellious artist and daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, lives in Heaven’s Hole, an industrial town built inside a meteor crater, where the poverty-stricken population struggles to survive the nightmarish working conditions of the local Thorne Century factory. Natalia takes care of her ailing mother, her grandmother, and her two younger brothers, and while she dreams of escape, she knows she cannot leave her family behind. When Billy is transferred to Heaven’s Hole, his chance encounter with Natalia sends shockwaves rippling across the blighted landscape. The two outsiders are pitted against the all-powerful monopoly, while Billy experiences visions of an otherworldly figure known as the Shape, which prophesizes an apocalyptic future that could decimate the world they know. #book #bookstagram #dystopian #scifi #newrelease

A post shared by Nicholas Conley (@nicholas.conley.writes) on

Paperback fans, don’t worry — the physical edition should be out shortly, as well, so just stay tuned to the Amazon page. If you want an update as soon as it does arrive, just tag me in the comments. And in the meantime, ebook readers can find Knight in Paper Armor at the following online stores:

Amazon

Google

Itunes

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

Thanks for your support, everyone reading this. I genuinely appreciate everyone who stops by, every comment, and every like. You guys are awesome, and thanks for everything you all do.

Onward, as the new adventure begins!

Knight in Paper Armor

By Nicholas Conley

Billy Jakobek has always been different. Born with strange and powerful psychic abilities, he has grown up in the laboratories of Thorne Century, a ruthless megacorporation that economically, socially, and politically dominates American society. Every day, Billy absorbs the emotional energies, dreams, and traumas of everyone he meets—from his grandmother’s memories of the Holocaust, to the terror his sheer existence inflicts upon his captors—and he yearns to break free, so he can use his powers to help others.

Natalia Gonzalez, a rebellious artist and daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, lives in Heaven’s Hole, an industrial town built inside a meteor crater, where the poverty-stricken population struggles to survive the nightmarish working conditions of the local Thorne Century factory. Natalia takes care of her ailing mother, her grandmother, and her two younger brothers, and while she dreams of escape, she knows she cannot leave her family behind.

When Billy is transferred to Heaven’s Hole, his chance encounter with Natalia sends shockwaves rippling across the blighted landscape. The two outsiders are pitted against the all-powerful monopoly, while Billy experiences visions of an otherworldly figure known as the Shape, which prophesizes an apocalyptic future that could decimate the world they know.

Knight in Paper Armor Nicholas Conley

BOOK REVEAL: Nicholas Conley’s ‘Knight in Paper Armor,’ coming September 15, 2020

This one has been a long time coming. Writing a book is always an amazing experience, but seeing this particular novel finally come to life — from the moment the spark of an idea first hit me, years ago, to the impending reality of its release date — has, honestly, felt transformative.

It’s exciting. Nerve-wracking. Definitely surreal. But here, I’m thrilled to finally pull back the curtain, and announce the release date for my next book: Knight in Paper Armor — coming September 15th, 2020!

Knight in Paper Armor Nicholas Conley

Knight in Paper Armor

by Nicholas Conley

Release Date: September 15, 2020

Billy Jakobek has always been different. Born with strange and powerful psychic abilities, he has grown up in the laboratories of Thorne Century, a ruthless megacorporation that economically, socially, and politically dominates American society. Every day, Billy absorbs the emotional energies, dreams, and traumas of everyone he meets—from his grandmother’s memories of the Holocaust, to the terror his sheer existence inflicts upon his captors—and he yearns to break free, so he can use his powers to help others.

Natalia Gonzalez, a rebellious artist and daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, lives in Heaven’s Hole, an industrial town built inside a meteor crater, where the poverty-stricken population struggles to survive the nightmarish working conditions of the local Thorne Century factory. Natalia takes care of her ailing mother, her grandmother, and her two younger brothers, and while she dreams of escape, she knows she cannot leave her family behind.

When Billy is transferred to Heaven’s Hole, his chance encounter with Natalia sends shockwaves rippling across the blighted landscape. The two outsiders are pitted against the all-powerful monopoly, while Billy experiences visions of an otherworldly figure known as the Shape, which prophesizes an apocalyptic future that could decimate the world they know.