Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Interview with Max Anderson

Max is an author of children's books for boys. Growing up as a reluctant reader, Max now sees it as his mission to reach out to boys to bring them into the world of reading by writing the types of books he would have liked as a child. Though his books focus on boys 8-13, his style of writing is appealing to both boys and girls.

As of the date of this interview, Max has had seven books published. Take a few minutes to enjoy this interview with Max.

How long have you been writing?

I began writing in October of 2001. Most of my video production clients scaled back their promotion and marketing after 9/11. I needed another creative outlet.

What motivates you to write?

Creatively, writing is probably the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve made films, video programs, and commercials all over the country and the world, but writing is what I love. There’s something about sitting down in a room, all by yourself, and creating characters, settings, and plots out of thin air. I write as I go, not outlining, and my books feel like major theatrical motion pictures as they appear in front of my eyes. It’s great fun.

What is your favorite genre?

I like writing for middle grade because the characters are old enough to have fun, but still too young to get into most of the major issues faced by teens and adults.

If you could give new writers one piece of advice, what would you say?

Don't try to write like another author. Find your own voice and your own style, and develop them.

How did you react to rejection?

Rejection is very tough, especially early on in your writing. But then I read several accounts of famous authors who had received countless rejections before they found a publisher. That simply motivated me to work even harder. I’ve also read that many authors don’t see a breakthrough before about ten years. The good thing about these stories is they show us that this is a tough business. And like a tough business, only those who persist, and work hard, will likely survive in it.

What challenges have you had in getting your book published?

The biggest challenge has been in finding publishers who also see a market for action-adventures & mysteries that are written especially for boys. This is beginning to open up now. The good thing is that girls like the stories also.

What are you working on now?

I’ve just completed the publisher’s revisions for book # 1 in the Sam Cooper Adventure Series. The title is Lost island Smugglers. It’s the first time I’ve written a true series. Books #2 and #3 are also written, but not edited yet. The series is intended to be open-ended and run for a long time. Up until now, all of my stories have included different characters, setting, and plot for each book.

What was your best decision as a writer?

My best decision would probably seem like the craziest to most writers. Over about a 3 ½ year period, I wrote a total of thirty-five manuscripts of action-adventures & mysteries, especially for boys. Not only did I not have a contract, nor an agent at the time I began writing, books for boys were not popular in the market. They still aren’t as popular as I believe they are about to become again. But I couldn’t help it. The story ideas kept coming at me. As fast as I could finish one, the next story jumped in my path. Now I have a number of options for selling these manuscripts. I’m glad I wrote them, rather than to have to tell a publisher that I could write them in the future. Of course, this went against conventional wisdom which said that I shouldn’t start writing like this without an agent or a contract.

How do you keep yourself motivated to write?

I grew up hating to read. Now I write the kinds of stories that I would have enjoyed as a child. My focus is on helping just one reader, who might be growing up as I did, but who is just looking for the right book. And it’s the encouraging letters I get from children, parents, and teachers that keep me going. Here’s one that came just last week.

"I am a reading instructor and work one-on-one with people that struggle with learning to read. Getting some of these kids to practice reading can be a MAJOR ordeal. Recently I wanted to find books that these kids would want to read. I found yours. They love them! One student I have has done everything you could possibly think of, over the last year, to try and cut his reading lessons shorter, and getting him to practice his skills outside of our lessons has been like pulling teeth. Last Monday, he wanted to stay longer because he wanted to read more of Legend of the White Wolf. His mom was thrilled. Thank you Max! Your books are wonderful. Please don't stop letting God direct the talents he's put within you. You're making a difference!"

Is your family supportive of your writing?

There is a lot of support in my immediate family and in my extended family. I’m especially blessed in this area.

How do you market your writing?

I tell other writers who are not yet published, that writing is the easy part. It’s what comes next that is the hard work. Finding an agent is hard, but once you do, you have almost a partner who can open some of the doors that you can’t. The next thing you need is a platform. This includes your blog, web site, social media, articles, emailing, and every form of promotion you can think of. I also speak in schools and give an entertaining program with music and sound effects from my film production background. I use every avenue I can think of in order to promote and market my published books.

Click on a book cover below to visit Amazon and review or purchase one of Max's books.

Legend of the White Wolf Newspaper Caper Secret of Abbot's Cave

You can read Max Anderson's personal blog at http://booksandboys.blogspot.com/

Or visit his Author's Website at http://www.maxbooks.9k.com/index.html



  1. Great interview. You asked good questions, Eddie, and Max gave lots of good advice.

  2. Thanks for the interview, Eddie. Looks great!


  3. Very nice job, guys, a great interview.

  4. Sound advice for aspiring writers. Thanks.