The Adventures of Captain Strong – Scourge of the High Seas is my longest running project in the sense that I have been working on it in some form or another since 1989! At that time I still living in New York, going to Bard College. But I visited my friend Matt who was in living in Pennsylvania and hung out with him in his high school. To occupy my time, I started writing a series of short blurbs detailing plot summaries for an imaginary series called The Adventures of Captain Matt–Scourge of the High Seas. Recurring characters who were mentioned in these series included Captain Matt, first mate Percy Aquavelvit, Randy the Cabin Boy, and Gordon Ambler, the mysterious stranger whom Captain Matt is convinced knows more than he says. Together, they sailed the oceans on the vessel Gratias (the name of a song Matt was singing in a choir rehearsal that day) searching for a beautiful but elusive Princess who was named after Matt’s girlfriend at the time.
It wasn’t until I’d visited Matt at Wheaton College years later that I started writing actual scripts, after I’d joined him on his college radio program and taken part in an audio drama he had as a regular feature. On the long bus ride from Illinois to New York, I started scrawling the scripts for the first volume of the renamed Adventures of Captain Strong. They were written completely off the cuff, with no real thought of what was going to happen afterwords. And then it wasn’t for another or two after that that we recorded the first volume, in early 1994.
And yet, even though there was so little forethought given to the direction of the series, there are many elements that are there from the very beginning that ended up becoming key elements to the plot: Captain Strong’s academy contacts (including Percy’s uncle), the fate of first mate Lavender, the threat of the northern hordes, Percy’s interest in poetry, Randy’s skill with cooking, and lots more. It’s like it was all there underneath, waiting to be discovered. It’s one of the most interesting parts of writing for me, seeing what my subconscious has come up with!
Volume I of Captain Strong (those first six episodes) are now online and available to listen to from the Audio Dramas page.