Interview with James Maxstadt

What is your writing process?
I'm one of those that just has to write the story and see where it goes. I don't usually outline, although I have made notes to keep myself on track and provide consistency. Before I start, I read over what I wrote the day before, correcting mistakes as I see them. When the story, or chapter, is done, I go back over it at least twice, once reading it out loud to myself. After that, I give it to others to read and make corrections on.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first one? No, not really. When I was a kid, I had a lot of kid sci-fi and fantasy books, and always liked them. I loved Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators, and had them all, until I outgrew them. I was always reading, and still, to this day, I will finish a book, and then immediately find the next one.
How do you approach cover design?
Tricky. It's probably been the hardest thing for me, and I'm still trying to figure it out. The current budget doesn't allow me to get an original piece of art for it, and I just don't like the manipulated image ones.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Lord of the Rings, hands down. I still think they're the best books ever written, and I adore them. I can't even count the number of times I read them. What a huge influence, not just on me, but to anyone who followed.

Silverlock, by John Myers Myers. Great book about a guy travelling through the Commonwealth. You might so many literary references, and it makes you want to find out more about them.

Watership Down, by Douglas Adams. I still remember being absolutely shocked by the revelation Hazel has after they finally reach Watership Down. How could I not have thought of that?

The Discworld Series, by Terry Pratchett. So much fun, and the single biggest influence on my writing. I love the humor and the way he took ordinary things and changed them to fit his world. Simply brilliant.

Dune, by Frank Herbert. Not so much the next ones, but the first book was amazing. Built a whole galactic civilization and made you feel that the history was already there. Great stuff.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mostly fantasy, followed by sci-fi, and then history. I like to escape when I'm reading.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I don't read a lot on an e-reader. But if I did, it would be a Kindle, since that's what I have. I'm definitely one of those who likes the feel of a real book, and loves the look of a shelf full of books!
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Not much so far, but I'm just getting into the game. Generated some sales through FB, and will continue to try other methods as I go forward.
Describe your desk
Pretty clean actually. I try to stay organized. Oh, and I have one of those lift desk things so that I can stand and write. I'm surprised by how much I do that.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in upstate NY, a little bit south of the Albany area. I don't know that it did affect my writing that much. I've lived in a few different areas since then, including NYC, so I don't feel like I have that whole "when I was a boy" influence that much.
When did you first start writing?
Kindergarten. My first story was called "The Bear and the Bee" and it was brilliant. This bear tries to get honey and gets stung. Heartbreaking. I think my mother still has it. I kept at it all the way through high school, and, and I didn't. Now here I am at 51 years old, trying my hand at it again, and loving it.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It's the story of Duke Grandfather, who is a Nuisance Man. What's that you ask? Good question!

Capital City, where the story takes place, has been declared "open" by the king. Meaning that any and all races are welcome. Dwarves, orcs, goblins, orgres, and many more flood in, looking for a better life. While most are honest and hard working, a criminal element comes with them. The Nuisance Men are born in answer to this, ready to clean up the streets.

Duke is the greatest of the Nuisance Men, in part due to his gun. His Ultimate Weapon can be set, once per day, to do great damage to particular races. While that makes his job easier, it doesn't solve every problem, as is pointed out to him by a new group insisting on rights and due-process for all, human or non-human.

Through the course of the book, Duke gets a new love-interest and a new rival. He saves one old friend from himself, and is forced into the ultimate confrontation with another. He chases a wayward broom, and confronts pure evil. All this and more, while really, all he'd like to do is sleep late and drink ale.

It's a fun, lighthearted story. But to find out more, you'd have to read it!
Published 2017-11-02.
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