Craige used to stretch out on the dilapidated sofa on the back porch in Wisconsin and read the Hardy Boys mysteries, while his friends were playing baseball. When his grandmother, who helped to raise him, asked why he read so many books, he would reply: "I want to be a writer."

His grandmother advised a job with the railroad, but Craige was not dissuaded. Later in college he wrote end-of-semester term papers the night before they were due. After he married his high school sweetheart, Craige continued to write. He sold some articles to magazines…but finally set the idea aside. Maybe the railroad wasn't such a bad idea.

The military, the NSA, and some time living overseas intervened. Back home in the states, the newly created desktop computer revolution beckoned. Craige worked in mainframe and later micro computers, but the dream of writing was never far from the surface.

When his job was outsourced in the 1980s, Craige wrote his first novel, a mystery. It was good enough to get an agent, but she only dealt with the top four publishers in NYC. "You see," she said, "they all rejected it for different reasons. It's entirely subjective. Write me another one."

He did. But again, life intervened. Computer work paid better. And the dreams receded.

Fifteen years ago, Craige had a vision for a nonprofit agency that would leverage the work of creative people and help provide hope to third-world countries. The funding evaporated after 9/11. But the dream never died.

"Seven year later I still saw the ship in my mind," Craige said. Finally I asked myself if I had misunderstood. I sat down to write about the admiral that commanded the ghost ship.

And a funny thing happened on the way to the keyboard each morning. Characters appeared. "I like the girls best," Craige says. "They hoist themselves up on my desk, smile at me, and ask "So, do you want to know what I've been up to?"

"Of course…"

"Are you gonna write it down?"


"OK, then. Here is what I've been doing…"

"I'm sure other authors work in different ways," Craige says. "But for me, the story belongs to the characters. They determine what happens. I don't."

So is he worried about the next four volumes in the Armageddon Story Book Series?

"Of course! I have the same fears that all authors have. But the trick is to sit down and write anyway!"

And how do you tie together such a wide-ranging story when you have introduced so much in the first volume? "Mia will take care of it," Craige says. I sat on the back porch one evening. She sat down next to me. She looked over at me. Then she said, "I know I'm just a kid, but do you want to know what I've been up to?"

"Oh yeah! Mia will take care of it!"

"A quick question?"

"Go ahead."

"Are there any symbols in the book?"

Craige intertwines the fingers of his hands together, places them behind his head and rocks back in his chair. "Oh yeah," he says. "The book is loaded with them! I find new ones every time I revise a draft."

"Is there any chance of one more question?"

"Shush…I think I hear a character approaching…" Craige whispers. "I have to go now."

Copyright 2020 by Craige McMillan. All Rights Reserved. Please share a link!

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