Monday, July 19, 2010

No Matter the Age, Everyone Enjoys Hearing about Scary Things...Well, Sorta

Join me in welcoming Max Elliot Anderson, who grew up as a struggling, reluctant reader ...
(Are you like that?)
Well, listen to how he overcame that.

Using his extensive experience in the production of motion pictures, videos, and television commercials, Max brings the same visual excitement and heart-pounding action to his adventure and mystery stories, written especially for tween boys.

If you know any tween guys, read ahead, and invite someone else. Moms, Dads, singles, and both boys and girls have reported that reading one of Max Elliot Anderson's books is like being in an exciting movie.

SDC: How did you get into this field of writing for youth, Max?

Max: From my background is in the production of dramatic films, television programs, and commercials. My most favorite projects were films for kids. This is where I learned story, plot, characterizations, pacing, and other skills that would help my writing later. When I did decide to begin writing, it was only natural that I would choose to write action-adventures and mysteries for readers 8 – 13, especially boys.

SDC: I know two young guys just the perfect age for your stuff! Tell us about your publishers and how you were able to propose your work so successfully

Max: I met my first publisher online, in a children’s writers forum. These were two men who each had previous publishing experience. They chose to actually start a company in order to begin publishing my books. Unfortunately, this current economic slowdown was too much for them, and they didn’t survive.

Toward the end of that relationship, I signed with the Hartline Literary agency. Between searches that I continued to do, and the work of my agent, we have signed contracts with two new publishers at the present time.

Port Yonder Press was interested in developing a traditional series. Up until that time, each of my thirty-five manuscripts had different characters, settings, and plots. So I began writing the Sam Cooper Adventure Series. Three manuscripts have been completed for that series so far.

Comfort Publishing has chosen to publish, Barney and The Runaway. In addition, they also picked up my original seven books which include Newspaper Caper, Mountain Cabin Mystery, North Woods Poachers, Legend of the White Wolf, Secret of Abbott’s Cave, Big Rig Rustlers, and Terror at Wolf Lake. And we have signed an option for sixteen more titles.

SDC: That is really great. What are some of your favorite themes you write about in your stories?

Max: My stories range from the classic hero, to battling bullies, fighting against impossible odds, boy-and-his-dog, triumph over tragedy, ordinary kids doing extraordinary things, and other subject matter along these lines.

SDC: All the right stuff! You soundbusy. But tell us about your life outside writing. We'd love to hear about that too.

Max: Well, my life used to center more around video production. There was a major shift for me in this area just after 9/11. That’s why I began writing in the first place, as a creative outlet. Life seemed to straighten out a little just as the bottom again fell out of the economy. So, really, my life is now concentrated around writing, building my platform, speaking, and promoting my books.

My wife and I have two grown children. Our son is an attorney in Chicago, and our daughter teaches 2nd grade in the Orlando area.

We have a cat named Aubie, named after the Auburn Tiger from Auburn University. I’m a big NASCAR fan. Jeff Gordon has always been my favorite driver, and my son and I go to the Daytona 500 every year.

I’d like to have time for other things, but these days, in order to be effective in the world of publishing, I believe it’s necessary to give that everything you have.

SDC: I believe that too. But I work a bit slower than it looks like you do. What books are you reading right now and how do you select your favorite characters in a story?

Max: I grew up hating to read. I know that’s a little different, coming from an author, but it’s still true. I have read some children’s books in order to review them on my Books For Boys blog but I don’t read much for enjoyment. I do read magazines like Writer’s Digest, The Writer, and Christian Retailing, along with Forbes, Fortune, and others. Recent books I’ve read include Wild at Heart, The Alchemist, Man in the Mirror, Big Nate, and Horrid Henry. I have three books stacked up that I want to read about the Second Coming.

Keep in mind that, by the time I finish a manuscript for publication, I might have read it up to twenty times. And when I made the switch to my new publisher, it was necessary for me to read all eight of the books they had chosen to publish.

SDC: Yes, we do keep busy reading through our own stuff again, and again, and again, don't we. What’s your favorite Bible verse or verse that has sustained you recently and why?

Max: I’ve always liked 1st Corinthians 10:31. Throughout my life, this verse has helped in the decision making process, or in choosing direction. In the Living Bible it reads, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

SDC: One of my favorites, Max. Do any family members play a part in your story writing?

Max: Yes. Most in my family are very supportive. Two of my brothers, and one of my sisters, have read every one of my manuscripts. The oldest sister has also helped as an editor. She taught creative writing at the University level. My son has also done line editing for me. During his lifetime, my dad published over 70 books. He and my mother used to read my manuscripts together, out loud, before he died at 88.

SDC: What a neat testimony of the nearness of your family. How do you choose your settings?

Max: I have an advantage in that my film and video production work has required me to travel all across the United States, Canada, and around the world. Many of my stories are set in places where I’ve actually been before. Most often, the story suggests itself first, and the setting falls in line behind that.

SDC: I have been loving what you've shared with us. Thank you so much, Max. I understand you have a book you would like to donate to one of our readers, or to offer one of their family members. That's awesome. What question you would like one of our viewers to answer to help me select the winner?

Max: I’d like to offer a copy of North Woods Poachers. This will be one from my original publisher. I’ll sign it, and since the book is to be republished, this will be somewhat of a collector’s item.

The question for our guests, since most of my books get a little scary at times is, Tell us about the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you, or a friend of yours.”

SDC: Ah, that's a super question. I can't wait to see the responses. Where can our readers find you on the web, Max?

Max : Come by Books for Boys blog  or my Author Web Site And on Facebook
Or Twitter My new books will be distributed by Ingram, available to order in any bookstore, on Amazon and other online bookstores.


Readers and writers, moms and dads, be sure to write in and leave your responses to Max's question. It's a good one regardless of who you are.

Congratulations to AJ Hawke of Richardson, Texas. Be watching for your book!


  1. Your books sound like a fun read, not matter what your age. Your books first recommended to me by Terry Burns, who is truly a fan of your writing.

    Scariest thing? Being caught on an upper floor of a huge university library at night when all the lights in the city go out. Talk about inching my way home.

    A J Hawke
    ajhawkeauthor at aol dot com

  2. I'm interested in reading your kind of book too. I'm much older. I'm glad there is a list here.
    Scary? Hmm. There have been several times. I think one of them was when my husband and children were off to bed and I was left in the front room reading. All of a sudden I heard a loud noise in my kitchen. I got up and went in there and there was a man who had snuck in through our French doors and was getting in my refrigerator. I started yelling at him to get out my house and NOW. He slowly turned, and I suddenly realized he could have had a gun or knife or anything. But I just stood there and pointed at him and said again, GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE AND NOW. After several minutes of him slowly moving toward me... something made him stop and turn and walk to the French door and out. And then he RAN up the outside stairs and disappeared. I realized then what had just happened and what could have happened and I could not believe what I did. It scared me to death. I ran to the back of the house and woke up my husband and told him he should have been there to protect me. Ha Ha. Oh well. Apparently the good Lord was there for me. I'm sure glad.

    I'll be looking for your books.

    Betty Fimple
    Windosr, CA

  3. Thanks for telling me about what you write. I want to get one of your books some day.
    I don't get scared much.
    Will C
    El Paso, Texas

  4. Thanks for this. Your books sound perfect for my nephews. I'd love to be included in this drawing.
    My greatest fears have been many. One, I guess, would be that people would always see me through the eyes of my disability, rather than for who I am.
    But that is just one.
    Caree C
    El Paso, Texas

  5. Thank you so far for the comments. Later today we will draw a name to win one of Max's books. If you know any youngster or mom who might be interested in reading one of Max's exciting stories, tell them to hurry and write in. Time's almost up.

  6. Thank you for your comments. A signed copy of North Woods Poachers will be sent out tomorrow to the winner, A J Hawke.

    Don't read it after dark.


  7. Thank you Max for a great time. I am excited about your book. Plan to pick one up!