Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Interview & Release Day Blitz Knight in Paper Armor by Nicholas Conley #releaseday #dystopian

Are you currently binge-watching anything on Netflix, Hulu (or elsewhere)? What keeps you glued to the screen?

Hey, it’s a pandemic – who isn’t watching something, right? For me, I just binged on Netflix’s 2018 version of The Haunting of Hill House. Great character work. As the oldest of five siblings, myself, I really appreciated how the series captures that dynamic, with all these starkly different personalities weaving around each other. You don’t see it depicted often, for sure.

Do you prefer movies or TV series?

Depends on the story. There’s certainly something to be said about the feeling of going to a movie theater. It’s an event. It feels big, feels important. On the other hand, the serialized nature of TV shows allows for a lot more space, depth, and exploration of characters. Lately, I’ve noticed that TV shows often work better when it comes to adapting novels.

You know what often works best of all, though? A limited run series, like HBO’s Watchmen, which lasts for a limited number of episodes and then stops, instead of dragging out the story too long. I absolutely loved that show – it’s one of the best of the decade, if you ask me – but I also love that it ended. Not that my inner mind doesn’t wonder what happens next, you know, but the conclusion is so perfect.

When it comes to reading do you prefer standalones or series?

In general, I prefer standalone stories, which probably accounts for why I have yet to ever write a sequel. That’s definitely not a hard and fast rule, or anything, but there’s something so powerful about the way a singular story can pull all its threads together and hit you in the face with a perfect ending. Now, a series can work, but the story and characters have to justify it, I think. There needs to be a natural thread to pick up on, instead of just remixing the original with some new elements. That said, when a writer plans out a series, weaves a story through multiple sequels, and when the final moment comes, they succeed at sticking the landing … yeah, that’s hard to top.

Do you prefer to start new book series when the first book is released or do you want for a several books in the series to be released so you can binge read?
I’ll usually start when the first book is released. With TV shows I do the opposite – something the Netflix era encourages, for sure – but with books, I tend to break up individual entries in a series with other reads, anyway.

What are some of your hobbies, interests or guilty pleasures?

These days, my main hobby involves hanging out with my daughter, who is less than a year old, and smiles and laughs at everything in the world, in the most unbelievably wonderful way. She’s the best. Seriously. Most of the time, though, I’m passionate about traveling. I’m a big fan of coffee, too, and I love discovering new methods to make the perfect cup.

What's your guilty “nerd” pleasure?

Oh, definitely superheroes. Comic books. Costumed crusaders. The whole shebang. I’m a diehard Marvel kid turned diehard Marvel adult, so getting to see multiple superhero movies a year, now, is genuinely a dream come true. Spider-Man has always been my favorite, by a longshot, so the first Sam Raimi movie seemed like the best thing ever, back when it came out. Then Spider-Man 2 came and topped it. Then the Avengers, Black Panther, Infinity War, and Endgame … seriously, when it comes to this stuff, I’m in nerd heaven.
For the record, Spider-Man 2 is still the best Spider-Man movie. Into the Spider-Verse is a close second, though.

Have you ever peeked at the ending of a book?

No way! I know some people enjoy this, but I love the suspense. To me, novelists are like magicians, and the ending is the climax to their magic trick. Why would I spoil it in advance, if I could be thrilled by it as it happens? Now, I do understand why people do this, and I respect it—everyone reads a book in their own way, after all—but spoilers aren’t my thing, for sure.

Knight in Paper Armor
Nicholas Conley

Genre: Dystopian

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Date of Publication: September 15, 2020
Word Count: About 113,000

Book Description:

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.


“So,” Roseanna said, “according to my superiors, young Billy came to the attention of Thorne Century due to his long medical history.” She opened her folder and riffled through. “Dozens of child therapists, doctors, prescriptions, treatments… wide range of disease symptoms and ailments as well as wild mood swings but no evidence of any physical illness or precise mental disorder. The word psychosomatic is bleeding from these papers. I don’t buy it.” Roseanna leaned forward. “I think it all fits a certain pattern.”
“The doctors don’t understand.” Tzeitel bit her lip, paused, then spoke again. “Neither do his parents, though I love them. No. They merely say that he imagines things. Hallucinations, they claim.” She glanced at her frail grandson still shivering in the humidity. “I disagree. He often gets sick, but the sickness comes not from him.”
“Can you explain?” I think she gets it.
“As a baby, he constantly changed personalities, like this”—Tzeitel snapped her fingers—“depending on who held him. Smiling or shrieking, it flipped constantly, and whenever he cried, all of us cried with him for no reason. Not like a normal baby. His brother was not like this, either.”
“I see.”
“It was not so extreme when he got older. But when others are sick…” She knotted her fingers. “He goes to them, touches the place it hurts, and the pain goes away. It goes inside him, instead, until it fades. Very strange.” She frowned. “When people are sad? He walks into a room, makes himself smile—poof, no one is sad anymore, except he becomes sad. Sometimes, I catch him sneaking out across town to help people who are troubled.” She eyed him. “I don’t like it when he does that, though it is very nice of him.”
 “He senses things?”
“Doctor, my grandson has a gift. Yes, he senses things. He feels things. He does things to people… things that, perhaps, the world is not ready for.”
Despite the heat, Roseanna felt chills. “I believe you.”

About the Author:

Nicholas Conley is an award-winning Jewish American author, journalist, playwright, and coffee vigilante. His books, such as Knight in Paper Armor, Pale Highway, Intraterrestrial, and Clay Tongue: A Novelette, merge science fiction narratives with hard-hitting examinations of social issues. Originally from California, he now lives in New Hampshire.