Welcome back, Max. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I grew up hating to read in spite of the fact that my father was a successful author. After a significant change in my video production career, I decided to look into why I hadn’t enjoyed reading as a child. What I found caused me to explore writing the kinds of books I would have liked as a kid. What have emerged are books that young readers tell me are like being in an exciting or scary movie as they’re reading them.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
That would have to be the day I was married and the two days, several years later, when our children were born. I was in the army, serving in an armored battalion in
, at the time my wife
Claudia and I were married. I flew home to the states for our wedding a year
earlier than we had planned so we could spend our first year together living in
How has being published changed your life?
I’ve noticed a couple of things. My life has become even more disciplined than before and I learned that writing a book is the easiest part of the process. It’s what comes after that which represents the truly hard work. Marketing and promotion, along with building a solid platform, consume most of my time when I’m not writing.
What are you reading right now?
Right now I’m in the process of reading galleys and proofing manuscripts for several of my books. Three of them are coming out in the space of 30 days. At the same time, I’ve written two new ones that my agent will be pitching and those have required a lot of reading as well.
What is your current work in progress?
The most recent title is When the Lights go Out. I’m probably more excited about this one than some of the others because of how it came about, and because of my intent for it with kids. I discovered something over recent months. Part of what I do is to speak in elementary schools. A couple of my previous books touch on what happened on 9/11, but only in passing, as part of a larger plot. As I’ve spoken to students who are 8 - 13 years old today, I found that they know little or nothing about the events of 9/11 and what they mean to our country. So I decided to write a book with the purpose of making sure future generations don’t forget what happened. This book was just released in time for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 this September.
Here is how the dedication reads in the front of this book: “To the memory of 9/11, and the people who lost their lives on that day, so we never forget.”
What would be your dream vacation?
For most of my life, ever since I was sixteen years old, I’ve traveled the country and the world on film and video productions. That required me to lug “tons” of equipment along wherever I went. Many of the places where I traveled were exotic vacation areas, but I was there to work and couldn’t enjoy that aspect. My dream vacation would be to travel to areas, with my wife, where I had no work responsibilities and could enjoy those locations.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
This depends on the story. Most of the locations come from places where I’ve lived or worked on film and video projects. Still others are determined by where a true story has taken place. Several ideas have come from the news. One publisher wanted a Southern setting, so that was dictated by their request. Most of my books have different characters so this allows the settings to be quite varied.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Aside from writing it would be a tossup between my coin and stamp collections.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
There haven’t been any so far. Writing is probably the most enjoyable creative activity I’ve ever experienced. There’s something about disappearing into a world of your own creation and moving around with your characters and situations. You laugh when they say something funny and cry when they hurt. I’ve completed 36 action-adventure & mystery manuscripts, for readers 8 and up, and never experienced writer’s block. If there’s an obstacle, it would have to be in the time it takes for a new book to go through the submissions, selection, and publishing process. Sometimes that feels endless.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Beginning authors need to come to grips very early with the concept that writing and publishing is a business. It can be hard work at times, and your success may take several years. I believe the days are gone when a writer can function without an agent, but I understand that some people have figured out how to do that. And as I mentioned earlier, writing will be the easiest part. New writers need to be prepared for what comes next.
Tell us about the featured book.
The featured book is called When the Lights Go Out. Peyton Aldrich's father is an army colonel, who specializes in army intelligence. His work is always top secret, which means he can't even discuss it with his own son. Peyton idolized his father, who believes that after what happened on 9/11, somebody had to help keep the country safe.
Now, Peyton, along with his family, find themselves stationed at a new army base, in the middle of nowhere. After his arrival, Peyton finds two friends, Gill and Dave. Together they decide to train like Rangers, and search for some kind of mission to accomplish on their own. Little did they know that a mission was about to put the boys right in the crosshairs of a dangerous terrorist plot, when a secret weapon would be delivered to the base on its way across the country.
Will the terrorists find out who is trying to expose their evil plan? Will the boys be able to stop them? And what will happen to Peyton's father when the general finds out what the boys did? When the Lights Go Out is a story for kids, and their parents, so we never forget 9/11.
Please give us the first page of the book.
The one thing that Peyton Aldrich hated most, besides being home alone, was being home alone during a thunderstorm. And this was one of those nights. He’d watched the night sky for the past twenty minutes, or so, and it was clear that this storm was headed right for his house. It had gotten so dark out that he turned on every light in his room. He made sure the three-way lights were all turned on high, and he cranked his radio up loud so he could listen for any weather bulletins.
Then, from out of nowhere, a nuclear sized blast lit up the entire sky around the military base where he lived. It went off like a giant camera flash, followed by total darkness.
“Great,” Peyton sighed. “The power’s out, and me here all by myself.” He inched himself out of his room and began to feel his way down the hall. That’s when he was sure he heard someone rummaging around in the kitchen. His heart began pounding almost as loud as the thunder that shook his small house.
My parents are both gone, he thought. Now what am I supposed to do? Still he continued down the hallway. Each new flash of lightening gave off enough light for him to see his next few steps. Finally, he stopped at the edge of the doorway into the kitchen. Another burst of light revealed a broom leaning against the wall. His trembling hand reached out for it as the stranger in the kitchen dropped something to the floor. That sound nearly caused him to drop the broom, but he managed to grab it again, with both hands this time. He raised it up, placed it in front of him like a weapon, and positioned himself to turn the corner.
Just then, an eerie light burst from the room. Peyton decided it was now or never. He took an extra tight grip on the broom handle and prepared to make his move. As he stormed around the corner, he let out a blood-chilling cry, “Yaaahhh!”
He heard a scream, the light went out, and something hit the floor. But, the scream sounded a little bit like…
“Mom?” he called out as he skidded to a stop, just before crashing onto the kitchen table.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My Books for Boys Blog is at http://booksandboys.blogspot.com
My Author Web Site is at http://www.maxbooks.9k.com
My Youtube Videos http://www.youtube.com/user/Maxbooks100#p/uI’m also active on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, ShoutLife, and others+
Thank you, Max, for the interesting interview.When The Lights Go Out
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Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
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