Written by MIKE ANDRELCZYK for LANCASTER ONLINE
John M. Millar’s first novel, “The Wars Among the Paines,” took him 50 years to write.
When he started the project, he planned to write about a young man and his family’s experiences during the Vietnam War era. Over five decades, the concept expanded a bit.
“The Wars Among the Paines,” released in late September, chronicles the history of multiple generations of the Paine family and their experiences in American battles dating to the Revolutionary War.
Millar always wanted to write a book, but his career in commercial real estate, including his project developing the Park City Center mall, kept him from devoting the time necessary to fully develop the book he envisioned.
Millar, who grew up in Danville and graduated from Danville High School in 1962, attended Cornell University, where he majored in prelaw. But his passion, he says, was literature.
“My minor — which wasn’t so minor — was literature,” says Millar, who now lives in Virginia Beach. “I was inspired by John Dos Passos and many of the people that wrote about war through their experiences.”
Millar’s influences in early- to mid-20th century literature are on full display in “The Wars Among the Paines.” He draws from one of his heroes, Ernest Hemingway, by including details of the horror of war, as well as chronicling the enduring but strained relationships between men and women during war time. The novel also nods to William Faulkner with the in-depth exploration of relationships within a dysfunctional family.