Dennis: When did you begin to write?
Max: You could say I was a late bloomer since I only began writing in late 2001, at the age of 55. Due to the negative economic effects from the 9/11 attacks, most of my professional video production clients decided to sit on the sidelines with their marketing budgets and see what happened next. That brought an abrupt end to my video production activities and even caused the cancellation of some projects that had already been contracted.
Dennis: Do you belong to any networking sites such as ww.bookmarket.ning.com?
Max: Yes, I’m on bookmarket.ning and Shoutlife.com I also belong to a number of online writer’s groups. I also have a blog, Books For Boys, at http://booksandboys.blogspot.com
Dennis: Please give an overview of your book Newspaper Caper?
Max: Tom Stevens was a super salesman. He and his friends delivered newspapers early every morning. Along their route, the boys often saw some pretty strange things. Then one day they actually became the story. The book includes humor, attack dogs, car thieves, and a chop shop Tom and the others uncover. This story reminds us of how important friendship is. In the end, the boys become front-page news on the very papers they deliver.
Dennis: Tell us about your goal to get kids hooked on reading and what you are doing to accomplish this.
Max: As a child, I was intimidated by large blocks of type on a page. I always lost my place, and was easily distracted. Some books seemed to take for…EVER to get to the point. I really hated all those details.
So, those elements have been eliminated from my action-adventure and mystery books for boys. My books are fast-paced with lots of humor and dialog, and each chapter is short. Most chapters end with a cliffhanger, nearly forcing the reader to move on into the story. Sentences tend to be shorter with larger type, and there is plenty of white space on each page.
One comment I often hear is that my stories move extremely fast, keeping the reader engrossed until the final page. I think a lot of this comes from my visual background in film and video production.
I continue to hear from boys, and their parents, about how my books have made a breakthrough for the very first time. To me, that’s pretty exciting.
If you have a reluctant reader, try my books. If you do, you’re likely in for a big surprise.
Dennis: You have had several interviews with various sites. Please provide some sites that may be interested in doing other author interviews.
Max: Actually, most of my interviews have come from sites, publications, or organizations who are particularly interested in chapter books for children. I think it would be more useful to suggest ideas for other writers to research their own possibilities. And it might also be helpful to know that I used this same strategy in locating reviews. On a separate blog at http://www.maxbookreviews.blogspot.com I have nearly 50 pages of reviews for my first 7 books.
Writers can search the Internet for interviews or reviews of books that are much like their own. Then contact the interview source and ask. It’s true that as time went by, I began to have interviewers ask me, but not in the beginning. The Internet is a wonderful source of information. For example, if you were to type - Max Elliot Anderson Interview - into your search engine, many of my past interviews will come up. There’s a list. This can be done with other authors as well.
Dennis: Please give an overview of the video called Tracy's Choices.
Max: Tracy was the first person in the state of Illinois to be arrested and sent to prison for the knowing attempt to transmit the HIV virus which causes AIDS. The arresting office, Lt. Jim Mays, is a personal friend. Tracy is an example of a young person, filled with promise and possibilities, who consistently made the wrong choices. This is a film that reminds viewers - you aren't just a victim of your past or of circumstances - there is a need for accountability and for personal responsibility. People need to know they are NOT invincible, it can happen to you, and some of the choices you make today can kill you. Tracy's Choices is a very warm, sensitive and touching presentation including humor, original music, and extensive visuals. In prison, the years of alcohol and drug abuse were taking their toll. The Governor of Illinois granted Tracy a full pardon, and she returned home from prison to die. But she didn't die, not right away, and Tracy used the last months of her life to help as many young people as possible to avoid some of the mistakes she had made in her life.
Dennis: What was the experience like to have a private one-hour video interview with President Ronald Reagan?
Max: This has to be one of the high-points in my life. Even though that life has included work in many international production locations and with other celebrities. For example, I was the cinematographer on the first feature film for Liam Neeson, called Pilgrim’s Progress.
We spent an entire day shadowing President Reagan, as he visited his boyhood home, of Dixon, Il, for the last time in his life. As we finally arrived at the house, the skies were filled with the crack of chopper blades from all the major networks and news services. And on the ground, it was pandemonium. But because I was working on a video for the Reagan Home, I, along with other crew members, was granted exclusive access and the full interview. He was such a gentleman, and still very bright. I loved his sense of humor. No one else was allowed to interview him on this trip, or even get close. Today, a personal letter from him hangs on the wall in my office.
Dennis: What type of books and articles have you written?
Max: My decision to try to write the kinds of action-adventures and mysteries that would especially appeal to boys has resulted in the completion of 35 manuscripts for readers 8 – 13. The nice thing about it is that girls like them too. I collaborated on a 400 page manuscript about humor that has not found a home as yet. I haven’t spent much time on articles, but did have a feature story in Guideposts. This was the account of when my father and I were stranded in the Arizona wilderness, when our car became disabled. We spent the night, freezing in the car, and then had to hike out. My dad was in his early seventies so it was quite an ordeal. There was that one defining point where I had to decide if I was going to live or die. Of course, we were on a filming assignment at the time. Here’s a link to that story http://www.angelsonearth.com/weekly_feature.asp?date=4/18/2005
Dennis: Do you have anything you would like to add to this interview?
Max: Only something I’d like to direct to people who might be just starting out. Writing your manuscript will probably be the easiest part of your job to become published. It’s hard to find a publisher and even harder to find good representation by an agent. Yet even more difficult than that will be the hands-on marketing and promotion that will be expected of you. But don’t be discouraged. If you know in your heart that you can do it, you’re right. Just look at me. I didn’t like school, did poorly in anything English, and grew up hating to read. So, if I can do it…