Storytelling is the language of human experience. Stories are a testament to how this strange species, despite living in a seemingly chaotic world, can weave together disparate events, tragedies, and triumphs, to create art. Stories celebrate the power of emotion, unearth deeper meanings, shape culture, develop bonds of empathy, and promote the sharing of common experiences — showing how, in the end, we’re all just strange little creatures on a spinning space rock.
So, okay. With that said, who is the guy writing this?
Hey there. The name is Nicholas Conley. I’m just one member of the aforementioned Earth-based species, but as you’ve probably gathered, I’m also a writer. Storytelling is in my bones. As a little kid, I spent my days dreaming up fantastical worlds to play games in. As a rebellious teenager and young adult, I traveled the world in search of new stories and perspectives. And today, as a full-time writer? I’ve never stopped being amazed at the power of a well-told story, and I’ve done my best to create my own, including the novels Pale Highway (which won a 2015 Preditor and Editor Award), Intraterrestrial, and my newest, Knight in Paper Armor. I’m also a playwright, having authored the radio play Something in the Nothing, which aired live on WSCA FM 106.1, and much of the time, I work as a journalist, editor, and freelance writer for various publications.
Beyond that, though, who am I?
Well, who is anyone, really? Identity isn’t a fixed value, but something fluid, always evolving based on new experiences and insights. There are, of course, some basic facts. I’m a traveler. I’m a lifelong student, always trying to be cognizant of different perspectives. I’m a former healthcare worker. I’m Jewish, both by blood and practice. I care deeply about human rights, social justice, and systemic reforms of a progressive sort, and I advocate for these concerns in my writing. Most recently, I’ve immersed myself in this amazing new chapter of my life as a husband and father. Throughout all of this, though, writing has always been there — as my drive, my passion, my agony, my catharsis. You know, the same stuff all writers say, usually when they’re trying to avoid writing that particularly tricky part of their current manuscript.
Okay, now, what do I write?
It’d be easy to say science fiction. That’s not quite it, though. My books certainly lean in that direction, as I weave surrealistic elements through otherwise grounded narratives. However, for me, the fantastical aspects are never the focus, so much as they’re the hook: what I’m passionate about is the examination of who we are, as humans, how we change, what we stand for, and what we do when pushed against the wall and forced to make choices. I don’t believe in easy answers. I don’t believe in easy endings. But I do believe in fighting for better conditions for those who are struggling, standing up for oppressed people, the power of empathy, and the use of fiction as a tool to help improve the world, by showing who we are as a species … and more importantly, the work we can do to improve said species.
Now, if my work sounds up your alley? Give it a read. I’d love it if you did. All of my books are standalone works, so you can jump in anywhere, and if something I write does speak to you? Well, then, this road has been worth the drive.
Thank you for reading. Seriously, it means a lot.
– Nicholas Conley