If you enjoy the the wind on your face and open sky before you, you have come to a good place to find the romance and flavor of the West.

Max Elliott Anderson ~ Barney and The Runaway ~ Book Giveaway

Max Elliot Anderson grew up as a struggling, reluctant reader. Using his extensive experience in the production of motion pictures, videos, and television commercials, he brings the same visual excitement and heart-pounding action to his adventure and mystery stories, written especially for boys. Both boys and girls have reported that reading one of his books is like being in an exciting movie.
I personally enjoy reading his books. Yes, they are written for a much younger audience, but are fun to read for all ages. I especially like the sense of scene that Max's puts into his writing. He puts you into the action. It is also great to have exciting stories to give to young readers. Max's books have been Christmas and birthday presents for several of my young friends and relatives.

What movie most impacted you as a kid? Why?

I grew up in a family that made movies. First at Gospel Films and then Ken Anderson Films, I was able to observe how films impacted the audience. Having participated in the entire process, from production to editing to the final print of a film, I learned about pacing, plot, characters, and other elements that resulted in audience impact. The total of these experiences is what I often draw upon while writing action-adventures and mysteries for kids today.

What is your favorite season of the year?

It would be a close tie between spring and summer. Living in the 4 seasons of the Midwest, I love to watch winter give way to the warmer temperatures of spring. Birds return, buds appear, chutes push their way through the soil, and new life begins. It reminds me of the cycle we can anticipate in our own lives.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

The number of adventures & mystery manuscripts now total 36. I’ve participated in a few anthologies with Darby Creek Publishing, Guideposts Books, Tyndale House, and Chicken Soup. Ten of my kid’s chapter books have been published and I have contracts for something like 24 more of those.

The most recent is called When the Lights go Out. This is an adventure/mystery containing a terrorist plot and is designed so that we never forget what happened on 9/11. The book will be released in time for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in September of this year.

We’d love to hear a little about yourself and your writing journey. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

Being a writer didn’t occur to me right away. In my video production business, I’d been writing proposals and scripts for client video programs and television spots for years. Much of my work had included writing a lot of promotional copy, too. Shortly after 9/11, most of that production work almost immediately dried up. I was faced with the challenge of what to do next with my creative interests. Soon I began to hear a “voice,” in my head, that said, “Why don’t you write The Scarecrow?” The Scarecrow was a screenplay I had written, years ago, that had never been produced. After fighting off the notion for several weeks of writing it as a book, I finally gave up one day and said right out loud, “Fine, I’ll write The Scarecrow!” After completing that manuscript, my mind was bombarded with new ideas and I wrote them as fast as I could.

Who do your books appeal to the most?

My target is readers 8 and up, especially boys. In my dramatic film production work, I learned that girls would watch a boys’ story, but boys weren’t interested in one about a girl. Since there were already so many books out that appealed to girls, I used that previous film model as a template for my books. But I hear from a lot of adults who enjoy these books, too. Kids tell me that reading one of them is like being in an exciting or scary movie.

What kinds of things can readers expect from your books?

They can expect good scary. My books are not dark. They will learn spiritual, character, and moral lessons without realizing it. Many reviewers are quick to point out that my books are not preachy. Boys will especially learn some of the qualities that make up a good man.

Did you have storytellers when you were growing up that influenced you? Were you an avid reader as a child?

My dad could tell the most fantastic stories a kid ever heard. That came from his film production work and writing. He published over 70 books during his life, but I didn’t read any of them. That’s because I grew up as a reluctant reader. So out of our family of seven children, I was the only one who didn’t like to read.

What do you love about writing?

Going back to the film production experiences, I never thought is was fair that a writer could dream up all these fantastic images, with wind, rain, snow, and danger and put them down on paper for a film crew to bring to the screen. I’d see them in their comfortable writing space and here we were, out there doing all the heavy lifting. Today I love the writing process most of all. There’s something about closing the door to my writing room behind me, and entering a world of my own imagination and invented characters.

How does writing a novel differ from other work you have done? Do you
think your career experience made the process easier or harder?

From what I’ve said earlier, I believe it’s my film production experiences that have everything to do with my writing of books today. I even play mood appropriate music for each scene I’m writing. I don’t work to an outline. I know the opening, middle, and end of the story, but not much else in between. And as I’m writing, I actually see the scene in my head as if I were watching a dramatic feature film on the big screen.

Do you outline your books or let the story go where it wishes?

When an idea for a book first arrives in my mind, it starts with a title. The title immediately suggests several images that also flash through my mind. I quickly tell myself the story, into a recorder, as if I were telling my children one of the many original stories I used to tell them when they were little. That recording is transcribed and placed in a file that I don’t open until after the first draft is complete. I’m often the most surprised by situations and characters that show up along the way. And I never read parts of the manuscript until the first draft is finished. For me, writing the story is like watching a movie for the first time.

How did you locate your agent?

As I was just getting started, I used to offer manuscripts to parents so their children or grandchildren could read and react to them. Several responded and one of them was Terry Burns who is a writer of Westerns. Terry gave manuscripts to his grandchildren and, based on their responses, decided to read one himself. Later, he became an agent with Hartline Literary. Since he was already familiar with my work, I approached him for representation. And even though he wasn’t focusing on books for my intended audience, he decided to represent me. We’ve signed several contracts as a result.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

Some locations turn out to be places where I’ve traveled on film or video production assignments. Spending several days in a location gives a writer lots of background information. Other settings are dictated by the story itself. Those ideas may come from a magazine or newspaper article, a news report on the radio, TV, or the Internet. When I haven’t actually visited a location, I do research at the library, on the Internet, and by direct contact with people who live in the area or work in an industry I want to write about. The direct contact has provided books, articles, and videos from people who live and work there…wherever “there” is.
Sample of Max's books:

Barney and the Runaway

Mike hated the way his parents were always telling him what to do. Along with his dog, Barney, he decides to teach them a lesson by pretending to run away for a few hours. The plan gets complicated when Mike and Barney hide in a railroad boxcar, fall asleep, and end up in Georgia with a circus in the middle of the night. After his experiences away from home, Mike learns the importance of family, and that you don't appreciate what you have until its gone.

Newspaper Caper

Tom Stevens had already proven he was a super salesman when he was only nine. Now, at the mature age of twelve he convinced his two best friends that they would become the most physically fit try-outs for their school football team IF they joined him to deliver newspapers early every morning. Along their route, the boys often saw some pretty strange things.

Then, one day THEY actually became the story in the papers they delivered.

With the humor, attack dogs, car thieves, and the monster chop shop Tom and the others discover, they realize the importance of friendship and the fact that God is always there.

North Woods Poachers

C.J. and Andy are destined to spend another boring vacation fishing with their families. At least that's what they thought. While playing at the old fire tower, they discover some suspicious people and activity at the lodge. Mysterious black planes are landing and taking off on the lake. C.J. and Andy will try to learn what is happening. Danger and mystery surround the happenings that are transpiring. C.J.'s computer "know-how", and Andy's keen sense of direction will be necessary to solve this mystery.


Web site http://www.maxbooks.9k.com

Blog http://booksandboys.blogspot.com

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/max.e.anderson

Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/MaxEAnderson

Max, thank you for stopping by and sharing with us. To have the possibility to receive a copy of Barney and the Runaway 

  • Leave a comment with your email (name at domain name dot com). 
  • To make it a little more fun, go to Max's blog or this blog post and find out something of interest that is different from all other comments about Max or one of his characters.
  •  Giveaway closes Sunday, February 27, 2011 at midnight (CST). 
  • Only US postal codes.
  • If you're reading this on Feedburner, Facebook, or Amazon please come to http://www.ajhawke.blogspot.com/ to leave your comments.


misskallie2000 said...

Thanks for the great interview Max. I love your books just from the little intro I read here. Thanks for stopping by to chat and share with us.
I went to blog and found out Max has a new book coming out about 911titled When The Lights Go Out.

Would love to win Barney and the Runaway. Thanks for opportunity to enter giveaway.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Jan Marie said...

I have been reading some of Max's books for boys and love the message that he is trying to impart to them. I have told him that I think it is wonderful that he is writing about 9/11 so that a generation of young people who weren't born yet or were too young to remember that day will know the meaning of those events and how it changed the American way of life forever.

Thanks, A.J., for this very informative interview and thank you, Max, for caring about our young children.


Maureen said...

I can just picture the Mike resting in that boxcar. Falling asleep and ending up in a strange city. Would love read this story.


Steve Mathisen said...

I really enjoyed reading this interview. I think that Max has a rare talent and passion for the work that he does.

debijackson said...

I like the 9/ll angle myself
thanks for the chance to win

Laurie said...

I would love to win Barney the Runaway. Thanks for the chance.


max said...

I'm enjoying all the comments so far. Keep 'em coming.

Karen F said...

I would love to win this book ~ I love to read ;.)
kkfoster35 at msn dot com

karenk said...

would enjoy reading this novel...thanks for the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Sherree said...

Loved the review. Was sent by way of Carmen. I read to my granddaughter books over the phone, for she lives in Texas and I in Alabama. Would love to read this one to her and do a review on it. Thanks so much for the opportunity to have a chance to win this one.

max said...

Just back from the Daytona 500 and enjoying the new comments. Thank you all.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book. Carmen sent me.

sheila_true at yahoo dot com

Linda Kish said...

I'd love to win this for my family.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Jenny Rose said...

I loved Newspaper Caper and would love to read another Max Anderson book, let alone win one!


mom2seven said...

I would like to win Barney and the Runaway and find out what the lad did when he found himself in Georgia!
Thanks for the contest,
narrowpathpilgrim at gmail.com

Meredith said...

Barney and the Runaway sounds like a great "boy and his dog" story. I love reading those!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Hosted SharePoint 2010 said...

That interview was really helpful. Thanks for posting it!


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I love the wind in my face, the open sky before me, the romance and flavor of the West, but, most of all, our loving and living God, who created it all. I love how He works out His plans in the realm of human events, which is His Story. I have been blessed with a gift: a compulsion to write Historical and present-day novels set in the American West that demonstrate His power to transform ordinary people into true heroes and heroines. I am just a scribe really. I find the joy of participating in the creation of inspirational fiction indescribable. May our Lord Jesus Christ receive all of the credit and be glorified.

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