Milliken Mills follows the powerful Nolan family and the leading newspaper publishing company on the eastern seaboard. As Nolan Publishing must fight to survive in the newspaper industry, first they must survive their own family battles. The initial volume, MILLIKEN MILLS: THE NOLANS, starts off with the annual Nolan Publishing party which is the event of the summer season. Patriarch Nathan Nolan uses this party to flaunt his wealth and success, but with a twist. There is always some kind of “shocking event” that takes place to get everyone talking. At last season’s party, the event was blown up pictures of his wife in bed with a younger man she was having an affair with….followed by an announcement that all of her belongings were moved out onto the front lawn of their estate waiting for her to pick them up on her way out of their marriage. This season, Nathan’s son, Thomas Nolan, has set a plan in motion to receive enough board member votes to takeover as C.E.O. Monday morning and throw his father out of the company. However, Nathan gets wind of the plan and sets a plan in motion of his own. At this season’s publishing party someone ends up dead.
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I have always been a fan of old-school nighttime dramas such as DALLAS, DYNASTY, and my personal fave, MELROSE PLACE.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Each are fragments of favorite television characters of mine in the past…and who knows…maybe a little of myself thrown in now-and-then.
Milliken Mills is Maine’s largest city located on the southern coast just thirty minutes from the state’s border with Portsmouth. A population of nearly four hundred thousand citizens always swells to more than that in the summer months due to people flocking to the city’s eight mile sandy beach hugging the ocean on its eastern side. A large pier and boardwalk are entertainment for everyone with its live music, aroma of foods like doughboys and pizzas, and the view of buff beach bodies.
Milliken Mills is also home to Nolan Publishing, a company that owns hundreds of newspapers down the eastern seaboard and employs roughly three hundred of the area’s residents at its building complex on Grand Avenue. The Top of the Town restaurant located on the top of the building has the best views of the ocean by day and the city skyline by night from its thirtieth floor. Reservations are usual required three months or more in advance.
Nathan Nolan, the owner of Nolan Publishing and C.E.O., is sitting in his office on the 29th floor of the Nolan Building. The man’s desk is perfectly placed within his office to get the best views of the vast ocean down below. The ocean’s beach is currently full of summer tourists taking up every bit of space on the grains of the warm sands as sounds of the waves crashing into the shore can be heard down below in the distance.
Nathan used to do deliveries for the Milliken Mills Times for four years as a young boy while it was struggling to stay alive. It was a small fifteen page paper that published three times weekly back then. When its former owner decided to call it quits and was about to shut the paper down, Nathan managed to use his charm and street smarts to convince the local bank to give him a loan to take-over the dying paper. The bank found the young man’s determination and ideas of how to revive the paper to be refreshing. That, and the fact that the bank wanted to keep the only newspaper in town afloat, they decided to give Nathan a chance. The eager young man was now using every dollar he had saved over the years while delivering the paper door-to-door to now see if he could help the paper survive. He worked endless long days and nights as the paper’s primary staff member. Once Nathan had taken the reigns, he gutted the paper down to start from scratch and build it back up. He wrote the news pieces. He sold the advertising spaces. He placed the paper in local shops for sale and mailed copies by subscriptions. No longer were there delivery people that went door-to-door.
Nathan Nolan changed everything about the Milliken Mills Times and today it is a full-fledged daily paper. However, it is no longer the only paper in town. The Milliken Mills Enquirer moved to town about thirty years ago when George Wilson thought a new home-base could benefit his own struggling paper. Nathan was worried at first that the new paper in town could be a threat to his own but soon learned that the city was big enough for two. Besides, a little friendly competition couldn’t hurt, right?
The only other real threats that Nathan has had to face have been from within his own family. His wife has been trying to divorce him and take him to the cleaners for years but so far has not been able to get what she wants. His daughter has taken off across the ocean to get away and now his own son is trying to take him down.
There is a rap at the door to Mr. Nolan’s office and an older man with salt-and-pepper hair leans his head in around the corner of the door. “Mr. Nolan?”
“Bernie.” Nathan stands up from his desk. The strong shouldered man in his mid-fifties looks like he has the health of a thirty year old and proud of it. “Please, do come in.”
“I don’t want to interrupt. I know you are busy planning for the party tonight.” Bernie steps into the room and closes the door behind him.
Bernie is what anyone would consider an elder statesman. He has a class of air and professionalism about himself, along with a genuine smile that will make anyone feel instantly at ease around him.
“You’re not interrupting me, my friend.” Nathan stands up from his desk and makes his way to Bernie and shakes the man’s hand. “It is always good to see such a good friend.”
On the wall in the background is a huge map of the United States with push-pins placed on every town where Nolan owns a newspaper. Blue is for daily papers. Red is for weekly papers. There must be close to three hundred push-pins.
“I just wanted to let you know that Miss Catherine has left the hospital. She is most likely heading home right now.”
Nathan looks at his watch while a smile forms across his face.
“It’s not too late to stop this.” Bernie mentions.
“I don’t have any intention of stopping this. I’ve put up with my son and his friends for far too long, especially Eddie Drake. That man is always trying to infiltrate himself into my family like a little fox in a hen house. It’s time to remind my son who it is that has the real power in this town,” Mr. Nolan says with little emotion.
“And your son still thinks he is getting a board seat with the company on Monday?”
“That he does, my friend. That he does.” Nathan turns and walks over to the window facing the ocean. His light brown hair is dyed to rid him of the gray but even in the blazing summer sun that is shining through the window one would not know the difference. “He has been asking me about that board seat a couple times a day for the past two weeks. It’s too bad for him that I have such loyal board members and that they told me what he’s up to. I will cut him off at the knees tonight.”
“I hope you know what you are doing, sir.” Bernie sympathizes.
“It’s just too bad that it has had to come to this but my son needs to learn that you earn your place. It’s not just all given to you like he’d like it to be.” Mr. Nolan rounds a corner in his office to look out over the city side.
Down below crowds of people look like ants flooding the streets. Some are headed to the famous beach while others are hitting the little summer trinket shops that are only open six months a year.
“I had to work hard to get where I am,” Mr. Nolan says. “He doesn’t seem to appreciate that.”
“You think this plan of yours will teach him that?” Bernie asks.
“I hope so,” Nathan says. He turns his attention to Bernie and smiles.
“But do you think that doing this during the party tonight is the right idea?” Bernie asks while thinking back to the events of last year’s company party.
“I couldn’t think of a better time,” Nathan says, a smile forming on his face.
About the Author:
Bruce A. Fleming lives in Maine and has always been a fan of ongoing dramas that provide a chance to escape and forget a little about your day. Growing up watching ANOTHER WORLD and other soaps later lead to MELROSE PLACE with its over-the-top characters. Bruce has always wanted to create his own series since and MILLIKEN MILLS is his way of doing this in novel form.
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