What started out as a quick adventure "took on a life of its own" and is now the first of a series of epic fantasy for children.
"The 7" was written by local author and Oakland Township resident Steve McCardell.
Targeted to third through sixth graders, "The 7" tells the story of two brothers that pass through an ornate mirror into another world. There they are warned of a coming Tribulation that can be avoided if they search out The 7.
While the search is full of challenges, the brothers soldier on as they "don't want to live in a world of war".
The fast-paced 113 page paperback has short, easy-to-read chapters. It's available for $7 on www.amazon.com.
This is McCardell's first venture for kids and allows him the unique oportunity to have his children, Matthew and Christian, as heroes in the book.
"I love that my kids are in the adventure and I can incorporate subtle message of what I want them to learn in life," McCardell said.
A unique group of illustrators
When it came time to illustrate the book, McCardell turned to his children's school.
"I went to the school and asked for the kids that it would mean the most to. Not necessarily based on talent, but based on passion," McCardell said.
The illustrators, including one of McCardell's sons and a nephew, took their work in a totally different direction.
"Adults try to control but these kids did their illustrations in a way that made me smile."
Future books in the series, eventually a total of seven, will be illustrated by readers.
"I will accept on-line submissions for illustrations for future books," McCardell said. "I want kids to know they can get their stuff out there. I'm a big fan of learning being fun and hands-on."
Readers and potential illustrators can connect with McCardell at www.The7BookSeries.com.
It all started with Charlie
Growing up in Royal Oak, McCardell developed a love of reading.
"I would say I read Charlie and The Chocolate Factory far more times than anything else."
At age 13 his family moved to Rochester Hills where he attended and for two years before transfering to a private school out east.
McCardell ended up teaching English and writing there before moving to Seattle and then eventually returning to Michigan to be near family as he started one of his own.
The whole time he has been writing—as a freelancer, ghost writer and author to an adult sci-fi novel, Darwood & Smitty and the Multi-World Agenda, also available on Amazon.
"I love to create a world where anything can happen!"