Peter Nichols is the author of the novel, "The Rocks," the international bestsellers "A Voyage for Madmen" and "Evolution's Captain," and three other books of fiction, memoir, and non-fiction. He spent ten years at sea working as a professional captain and has taught creative writing at Georgetown University. NYU in Paris, Bowdoin College. He currently teaches in the MFA program at Antioch University Los Angeles. "Not an unswerving literary trajectory. I've wanted to write - and to be a writer - since childhood. In my 20s I worked at writerly jobs in advertising and journalism while I wrote two unpublished novels. Then I stepped aboard a friend's yacht and my life swung away toward boats and the sea for a decade. I became, in turn, a boat bum, a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed commercial captain, and a proficient navigator with sextant. Then the leaky 27-foot, engineless wooden sailboat that had been my home for 5 years, in which I'd twice crossed the Atlantic, sank near the end of my third crossing (I was alone). But I had found a subject. I was rescued and crawled ashore in Los Angeles where, naturally, I began writing screenplays. I was fatally encouraged: I found agents and made a little money, but never saw my screenplays (they were full of leaky projects and rootless characters) turned into films. Unhappy with my screenwriting career (and my non-writing career of many jobs, including being a 'ship wrangler' in Borneo for a bad pirate movie), I fled LA to a shack in Northern California where I wrote what became a memoir of my years afloat and the twinned sinkings of my boat and first marriage ("Sea Change"). In the next ten years I published a novel and three more books of non-fiction - all about not so much the sea and sailors, but fringe characters who have retreated to the water's edge and have nowhere else to go. Being published changed everything. I went fairly quickly from being a yachtie, shepherd, carpenter, ship wrangler with literary delusions to a visiting professor of creative writing at some good colleges. I've been fortunate to have wonderful students. I love teaching because I can tell young writers what it took me decades to learn - simply, that yes, you can, if you really believe in yourself and don't give up. I dreamed of becoming a writer and I became one. And if I did it, they can too. My novel, "The Rocks," (2015) is not about boats and the sea but represents a new direction for me as a writer of fiction. I hope there will be more non-boaty novels." PN, 2015Read more Read less
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