From the Olympic stadium in Ancient Greece to the banks of the Housatonic River … E.S. Kraay writes stories about things that make a difference.
A Child of the Berkshires …
A native of the Berkshire Hills in Western Massachusetts, I cherish fond memories of Tanglewood, the Pittsfield Public Library, Herman Melville, Norman Rockwell, Richmond Pond, Pontoosuc Lake, the Hashim Boys, Rudy Benedetti, my Auntie and Babcia in Housatonic and my Aunt Sadie in Westfield, and so many, many other people and places that remain dear to my heart.
As a young boy, I was blessed with a wonderful English teacher, Norman Najimy. Mr. Najimy had a passion for the written word, and his passion still burns in me and drives me to write books. He inspired me to read every night. That was half a century ago, and I haven’t missed a night since. Before I was a student of Norman Najimy’s, my life’s dream was to be an archaeologist. After that eighth grade English class, I wanted to write books.
I did not follow my heart. Diverted by sports, airplanes and the Vietnam War, I entered the United States Air Force Academy,
graduated and served as a fighter pilot. After an eyesight situation forced me into early retirement, I returned to school to become an over-educated fool and earned a second degree — this one in journalism — from Utica College [then of Syracuse University] and spent a few enjoyable years under the mentorship of Dave McGrath at his Boonville Herald newspaper in Upstate New York.
Once again, I failed to listen to my heart, and I left the newspaper business and spent the next three decades in corporate aviation.
Through all the years, the spark that Norman Najimy struck in my heart to write never faded. I wrote my first novel manuscript, The Messiah sitting ‘in the crow’s nest’ at Loring AFB in Presque Isle, Maine where my fellow pilots and I successfully averted WWIII pulling 24/7 alert duty in our trusted F-106 Delta Darts. I still have those handwritten pages hidden in a box somewhere. Several other unpublished manuscripts joined that one over the years.
The First Book …
In 2002, I walked away from corporate America — for the first time — to follow my dream. I was going to write a book and get it published. The result was The Olympian: A Tale of Ancient Hellas. I was extremely fortunate to sign a contract with a very reputable agent in NYC. Typically or not, two years later, he still had the book but had produced no results. Enticed back to St. Louis where we had raised our family, I decided to amicably part ways with my agent. Two years later after conferring with a close friend who has a string of commercially successful historical novels, I decided to move forward on my own. The result is no less satisfying for, within six months of publication, we sold the film rights to The Olympian.
Inspired by the success of The Olympian: A Tale of Ancient Hellas, I’ve walked away from ‘traditional’ employment and committed myself to writing books. Since our return to the Sonoran Desert, The Hamsa was published in 2010, followed in 2011 by my third historical novel, Tobit and the Hoodoo Man: A Mystical Tale from the Civil War South.
In the winter of 2010/2011, Black Mesa Publishing released my football trivia book, West Point Football IQ: The Ultimate Test of True Fandom. The release of the West Point book was coincident with Showtime’s special “A Game of Honor” which chronicles the Army-Navy football rivalry.
Following My Gut …
Marie and I have been married for 42 years. We met in Alaska in 1973. We have four children: Nick; Stef [Golan]; Brad and Jesse. Nick and Terri have given us a grandson, Alix; Stef and Dave have given us two grandsons, Travis and Max; Brad has blessed us with two granddaughters, Xylia and Lyla. Jesse and Erica strengthen us with two more wonderful grandsons, Jackson and Jerome. Life is Grand! Our dogs Cooper, and Caesar passed in the spring of 2016 and are dearly missed. Hans continues to age in our final home, River Falls, Wisconsin, a beautiful, small town that returns my thoughts to the Berkshires.
Thanks to all for your continued interest and support.