Who is Nicholas Conley?

Nicholas was born in Los Angeles, the son of a satellite engineer from Boston and a poet from New York. He was the oldest of five siblings in a family that moved many times throughout his childhood, though the majority of his early childhood was spent in the desert oasis of Sedona, Arizona. He was shy, introverted, and analytical; he struggled with socialization, and threw his imagination into storytelling, spending the majority of his early years creating elaborate science fiction storylines with both his younger brother and his first friends at school. Superheroes, aliens, animals, and dinosaurs were the subjects that fired his creativity.

In elementary school, his class was assigned with drafting creative writing stories, usually no more than two or three pages in length. Feeling inspired, Nicholas wrote a sci-fi/fantasy story about travelers in another reality, that totaled over 50 pages — and from that point on, he knew that he wanted to be a writer.

As a teenager, Nicholas came out of his shell. He began his lifelong habit of Hawaiian shirt wearing, coffee drinking, and obsessive daily writing rituals. After the death of his father when he was 17 years old, Nicholas’s life forever changed, as his childhood and adolescence came to a sudden, unexpected end. Stirring with emotion, he threw himself into the first draft of what would someday become his first novel, The Cage Legacy, which tells the story of a teenager who discovers that his father is a serial killer, and has to grapple with his own destiny. Though he was never satisfied with his early version of the book, he began writing short stories, seeing his first publications before he was 18 years old.

Upon graduating high school in North Carolina, Nicholas was exhilarated to begin traveling the world. Loading up all of his stuff in the car, he took off across the country, zigzagging from state to state, exploring new places, finding new stories, and seeking intriguing new people. This was the genesis of his travel bug, which has since driven him to such varied locations as Morocco, Jamaica, and Iceland.

As he continued developing The Cage Legacy, Nicholas saw the release of more short stories, and his novella “Enslavement” was published in the anthology Road to Hell. After this release, Nicholas cast aside all of the prior drafts he had done on his big serial killer novel, and started from scratch. The next year, at 23 years old, The Cage Legacy was published by Post Mortem Press, the completion of the same project he had been working on since he was a teenager.

Still needing a day job, but desiring a more rewarding career that would allow him to help others in need, Nicholas trained with the American Red Cross and began working with Alzheimer’s patients in a nursing home setting. Though he’d always had a passion for helping people, Nicholas felt unprepared for the complicated system that revealed itself, and overwhelmed by the helplessness of the patients he cared for, who were trapped in a bureaucratic structure that did little to reinforce their independence — people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injuries, MS, cancer, and more. Reconciling with this, Nicholas decided to focus on “what he could do, not what he couldn’t,” and formed close friendships with the people he cared for, being there for them in any way that he could.

Seeing the lack of representation that Alzheimer’s disease had in the popular media, Nicholas was compelled to write about the subject, using his real experience as the backbone of a fictional story. Deciding that if he wanted to write about Alzheimer’s, it had to be from the perspective of a protagonist with Alzheimer’s, Nicholas wrote Pale Highway, a novel about a genius Nobel Prize winner who comes down with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and is struggling with the depersonalizing day-to-routine of a nursing home.

Pale Highway was released by Red Adept Publishing in 2015. Since its release, Nicholas has made a point to speak out about the struggles of people with Alzheimer’s, hoping to bring greater awareness to a disease that is too often swept under the carpet. He has also written first person accounts of his experience for such sites as Vox, The Huffington Post, and Alzheimers.net.

However, there was something else Nicholas discovered working in healthcare: it was at this same nursing home that he first encountered a coworker named Veronica, and was immediately drawn to her passionate ideas, her boundless energy, and her devotion to women’s health. In 2014, Nicholas proposed to her beneath the twilight of the Long Night Moon, and they were married in the summer of 2016. Nicholas and Veronica have travelled the world together, and are currently living in New Hampshire, where Veronica pursues her dreams of becoming a midwife.

Nicholas, of course, continues writing every day, which he plans to do until he dies. His regular daily rituals involve hours of writing, reading, and black coffee. He currently has five novels in the works, and is actively developing his next book, which will involve traumatic brain injuries.