Recently, I was invited to submit a short interview for the “Awesome Gang Magazine“. Thank you to the Awesome Gang for their interest and support. If you are interested in finding out more, this is how the interview progressed:
Featured Interview With Maxwell Grantly
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Maxwell Grantly is a non de plume for an anonymous school teacher, living in a small seaside town on the east coast of Great Britain. Although he has written nine short stories, he does not think of himself as an author. He is, first and foremost, simply a mathematics teacher. Maxwell does not write for an income and so he offers most of his work for free or at the lowest possible price that he can. He simply writes just because he enjoys doing so and for no other reason.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Maxwell’s latest book is called “Runs Like Clockwork” and is a steampunk-themed story for older children. It tells the tale of a mechanical clockwork toy named River Falcon, lost in the fictional town of New Babbage. The toy becomes stolen from his clock-maker inventor and then encounters a number of adventures in his attempts to escape and survive in his new hostile environment. Without giving too much away, the story has a tragic bittersweet ending that will touch your heart.
Many different people, events and circumstances combined to provide the inspiration for the story. Perhaps, most importantly, the author suffered the traumatic loss of his father to cancer in the weeks before the story was written. This private family bereavement must have shaped the plot of the story, even if it did so subconsciously.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Being a school teacher, Maxwell Grantly enjoys reading children’s literature. However, as a writer, he does not write books that could be described as typically suitable for the younger reader. Maxwell produces short stories that he enjoys writing and that he enjoys reading. He writes solely for one audience: himself. He uses vocabulary and imagery that is more suited to adults but, admittedly, the characters in his books are ones that children might relate with. This means that his books may only be suitable for accomplished young readers or for adults who might like to break from their regular reading agenda. To stress, his stories contains a range of extended vocabulary and literacy imagery that makes it more appropriate for older children and adults only (or perhaps for reading aloud by an adult to their child.)
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Maxwell enjoys reading a wide variety of books of different genres. Most importantly, he has always enjoyed the works of Roald Dahl and admires the ability of Dahl to break away from using a traditional mindset of typical children’s characters.
What are you working on now?
He is currently taking a short break from writing, whilst formatting ideas for a new original story: a fictional children’s crime story based on the use of scientific principles to solve a murder.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Maxwell understands that “word of mouth” is the single most important factor in the promotion of any book. How many books have you opted to read because a friend has recommended it to you or because you have read a positive review somewhere?
Do you have any advice for new authors?
If you enjoy writing, do it. Very few of us (including Maxwell Grantly) will ever sell more than a handful of tittles. New authors are joining a market that is already saturated with an incredible diversity of excellent titles – the competition is incredibly tough. If you don’t enjoy writing, do something else.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Writing a book is like making love to an elephant. You have to be crazy to start! It’s an incredibly difficult task. You have to wait twenty-two months (usually longer) before you see the results of your labours. Finally, you may get killed in the process.
What are you reading now?
Maxwell has only just finished reading “Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck. He found it an incredibly absorbing and moving story and found the dire plight of the charters to be incredibly profound and inspirational.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Maxwell’s next major writing project is the fictional children’s crime story mentioned above. It remains very early days and so it may take several months before this task is completed.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Are you allowed to take four VERY large waterproof books and prop them upright to form the walls and roof of a shelter?