Adding details drawn from life can help add layers and depth to even the most fantastical of stories. Writers just starting out often write a semi-autobiographical first novel, usually a coming of age story, while others draw on life experiences to create their works of fiction later on in life after years in another field. Like many authors, Dr. Nicholas C. Nicholas incorporates experiences from his life and career into his debut novel, Pericles and Me. He spoke with The National Herald about the book, noting that the preface invites the reader to differentiate fact from fiction and the plot is a vehicle for telling some history as well as entertaining the reader.
Dr. Nicholas told TNH that his Greek-American heritage is a major factor in his willingness to depart from traditional career choices and plunge into the world at large.
According to the book’s description, an American and his British girlfriend on a romantic trip to Greece are drawn into an international plot. Dr. Alex Giallouras embraces his Greek roots, even to the extent of dreaming an illustrious confidant from the golden age of ancient Greece. The American physicist and his advisor Pericles set out to navigate the dangerous shoals of Ukraine, the Middle East, and U.S. spy interests amid the turmoil of Alex’s personal life and his conscience.
Dr. Nicholas C. Nicholas was born in Pittsburgh, PA, but his parents were not yet American citizens at the time of his birth. Although the Nicholas family included no college graduates at that time, like many Greek-American families, education was highly valued. Dr. Nicholas was the first family member to graduate from college, earning a BS, MS, and PhD in physics and mathematics. He was followed by his sister Barbara Nicholas Milton, who earned her MA and became a dedicated teacher. Now the Nicholas family is replete with PhDs, MDs, lawyers, engineers, and other professions.
Dr. Nicholas has enjoyed a full career as a physicist. His experimental and theoretical work have an exceptionally wide range, having conducted analyses, and studies based on physics, mathematics, and various engineering disciplines.
He has formulated and led operational studies including submarine trials of emerging technologies, studies and human trials of non-lethal defense devices, and analyses of military requirements and technological threats to U.S. forces. The operational exercises required him to ride submarines, surface ships, military aircraft, and at times to bivouac with soldiers in the field.
Early in his career, Dr. Nicholas served as the engineering officer in the first simulated Apollo flight. He was fitted with a pressure suit and underwent extensive training. He spent eight days in an Apollo capsule doing all that was required for a flight to the moon.
Dr. Nicholas has spent substantial periods of time working in the Middle East, Ukraine, and Western Europe. He has always gravitated towards interesting work and would change very little in his life story if he could do it all again.
Pericles and Me is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple iPad as well as many other sites in print and electronic formats.