Name Max Power
Where are you from
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I finished school at 18, as college wasn’t an option for me at the time, but I went back later and studied for my degree at night while I worked full time. It would have been nice to live the student life for a while, but back in the day that wasn’t an option for my family. I live a happy life, I am lucky to love and be loved in return. My children are all adults now and while I loved their younger years, it is such a pleasure to see them blossom and become their own unique selves.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I worked hard in 2014 to get my first three books released on amazon. I didn’t write them all in one single year but I released them over a short period last year to allow people a chance to see a cross section of what I do. Those books in order of release are, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn and Bad Blood. I will release my fourth book called, Little Big Boy very shortly once the final edit is complete. Like most writers I am in love with the one I am writing at the moment, which is a sequel to Darkly Wood. I hope to release that before the year is out.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I can’t remember when exactly, it has always been there since childhood, fostered by my love of books. I was an early reader and read books way beyond what would have been my expected level. That is not to boast, more to explain how I became hooked on the idea of writing through reading. At seven years of age I was reading one book every single day.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In my teenage years I experimented with poetry as many teens do and I think it was then that I began to see that I had potential to actually write. A close friend and I even published our own poetry pamphlet and felt quite the scholars for a day or two. However like many people, I guess life got in the way for a very long time. I have had and continue to have; a busy commercial career and that, coupled with the responsibilities of a young family meant I put my writing on the back burner to some degree. I never stopped writing however and I have tons of material that I have kept to myself…until now.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Like I already mentioned, I have been writing for so long, it has been more or less a process rather than an inspired moment. I decided to publish for the first time last year, possibly because of some events in my life that made me remember that life is short.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes I do. I do not write in a particular genre, but I have a very particular voice. I hear it when I write and it is very distinct to me, so I hope the readers feel it too when they read my books. That said my books are all very different. Darkly Wood is perceived by most as horror, although it is very much a book about love. Larry Flynn has a touch of history, political intrigue and Dublin gangland villains. Bad Blood is a thriller with just a hint of something other worldly. My next book Little Big Boy, is very much a tragic tale centered on a small boy growing up in Dublin in the 1970’s. That being said, what they should have in common I hope, is my story telling style and the way I like to involve the reader as much as I can. I certainly hope that if someone has read one of my books, they will feel like I have just sat them down and told them a great story. I want my books to feel more like radio than TV, by which I mean I want the reader to make their own mind up about how some of the characters look and feel. I very much want to include the reader’s imagination in my plot as though we were all sat around a big fire with the lights off…and I am reading to them. That’s the plan anyway.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Darkly Wood found me in terms of the fact that the book revolves around a place named after a family with the surname ‘Darkly’. It fit perfectly into the notion of how frightening the place actually is in the story and a key part of the story is that a young girl discovers a book called Tales of Darkly Wood. It was a very natural choice for the title. Larry Flynn simply could not have been called anything else. The book is all about Larry. He is such a horrible, unsympathetic creature to start off with, but the idea of the book is that while he becomes embroiled in a mess of his own making that destroys the lives of others, his character and how the reader interacts with him, is completely at the core of everything. What else could I call it? Bad Blood again represents what the book is about. It is about family and genetics and vengeance. It is a much more violent book than the others, so it worked for me on every level. My soon to be released Little Big Boy is exactly what it says on the tin as they say. All to be revealed… so no spoilers.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
Each book is different and I don’t have a message per say. There are themes in my books of course, love, loss, sorrow, redemption, but they are all common to so many books. What I want is the reader to close the last page feeling like they have just been told a great story.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
All of my books are works of fiction. I try as much as possible to make the characters believable and realistic and that includes dialogue. However the tricky part with say Darkly Wood for example, is that it touches on tales new and old in a fictional setting and there is a strange dark creature always lurking, so I worked hard to draw the reader in with this one. The key was and I hope I succeeded, to lure the reader in chapter by chapter, through a very particular plot device, namely involving stories from the book within a book that my main character Daisy May discovers. If I succeeded then the reader becomes so involved in the story that everything is real on the page, in the moment as they are reading it.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Everything I write is based on my life experience, but never directly transferred that way to the page. I am an emotional writer. What I put on paper as each character evolves, is deeply affected by my understanding of the world and how people interact. While never in any way autobiographical and I never use people I know, of course there are bits of the people I encounter along the way. The exception is of course my next book Little Big Boy. I am writing a story about a small boy in the late 1960’s and early 70’s in Dublin, so naturally enough I have used some settings, school experiences and stories I have heard, to evoke realism. Much of the story is set in a Christian Brothers school and I was educated by the De La Salle Brothers, so you can expect that I would be able to transfer that firsthand knowledge to the page, but that is as far as it goes. My books are works of fiction, and I need to develop a story that a reader will become engrossed in, so while I sometimes use events or caricatures of people I have met along the way, that’s as far as it goes.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I never had a mentor; I am far too self-centered and full of my own sense of self importance to have one (joke) I couldn’t say that books have actually influenced my life, other than they have educated me in the general sense. Books and I mean books rather than ‘a book’ gave me the opportunity to discover a broader world as a child. They made me curious and enabled me to believe that I could perhaps be anything I wanted to be.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Salby Damned by a talented new indie author called Ian D Moore and a cracking read it is turning out to be.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Definitely. I will stick to new Indie authors here and I could make a huge list. Lesley Hayes is a wonderful writer and I have been drawn back to her work time and time again. I recently discovered another Irish writer called Jim Murray and when I read his ‘Brother’ I fell in love with his story telling ability. Others have surprised me, Tom Benson has helped me discover a genre of action that I previously ignored and I have also recently expanded my reading horizons and discovered the highly original Katherina Sestakova Novotna and dipped my toe into the clever dystopian world of Senan Gilsenan. In the past few months I have discovered a whole world of wonderful Indie writers and have been impressed by the likes of J.C. Hanigan, Christoph Fischer, Rebecca Brynn, Morgan Kelley and B.L. Pride to name just a few. I have purposely sought out new Indie authors who have chosen the same route in publishing as I have and in the process discovered talented authors and I might otherwise have missed.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am editing the soon to be released Little Big Boy, which although shorter than my previous books, is taking a lot of time to get just right. I am also writing the sequel to Darkly Wood which is a rather complex project and it is important that I maintain the standard of the first, without repeating myself. There is a very definite direction evolving and I know fans of the first book will enjoy it. Beyond that, I have another thriller set in Australia to be edited in preparation for publication and there is more beyond that space, but that’s enough for me to focus on for the moment.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Other Indie writers that I have encountered along the way have been very supportive and have offered so much encouragement. I honestly think I might not have progressed this far without this community of writers, many of whom I would like to consider now as friends.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It would be nice, but as an independently published writer it is a difficult thing to achieve. For now I balance career, family and writing and I guess like most writers, merging my love of writing into a career would be nice. However, I write for the pleasure that story telling gives me, so regardless of where that leads me I shall continue to write for as long as I can.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. My books are defined by the characters and the story. I immerse myself in the world of each story as I write and while I have a very definite route from start to finish when I begin, the story takes me on many diversions, all of which are organic and natural and because of that, it would be hard for me to imagine changing anything in my books without losing something else.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
The local Library. Getting my first very own little blue library card with my name on it, set me off on the journey that I continue today.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Little Big Boy is about a young boy’s life over the course of roughly two years. He is faced with enormous challenges at home, where he has a domineering and violent father and at school, where the local boys toughness is in stark contrast with his natural gentle nature. His mother is his world and he has to cope with ever increasing pressures beyond his years as his home life disintegrates and he has to cope with not just the violence of the school yard, but the creeping danger that surrounds the boys from the Christian Brothers, one in particular. The book is filled with huge sadness and it has been a challenge to balance the light and shade. As each piece of the boy’s life is offered up to the reader, so too is the gradual realisation that there is going to be a cataclysmic collision and coincidence of events, that will hopefully mark this book as my best one to date. I certainly love it and that’s a start. It is impossible to say much more without completely ruining it for perspective readers, but I have blogged some extracts and for those of a curious disposition, they can check it out there while they wait.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Not really. I don’t suffer from writers block and I just get so lost in my work that it is a complete joy every time I sit down to write. As I write from the starting point of entertaining myself, I don’t feel the pressure to please anyone else. The challenge I do impose I guess, is that I set deadlines for completion of certain tasks like editing and so on, but other than that the challenge is to tell the best story I can and well… I love telling stories. Like many Indie authors, editing is always a challenge. I have learned through my mistakes that you can never edit enough. It is difficult to edit your own mistakes and you can become snow blind. However I am editing my next release at the moment and I have picked up some techniques that make life a little easier.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
God, what a question. It’s a bit like what’s your favourite song? I have massively eclectic tastes. When I say I love James Joyce I mean Finnegan’s Wake not Ulysses for example and I love the simplistic approach taken by Stephen King in some of his books. I don’t like everything he has written but I remember reading The girl who loved Tom Gordon and thinking, ‘this is brilliant.’ Flann O Brien also known as Myles na gCopaleen or his real name Brian Nolan, wrote such imaginative books that stick with me today years after I have read them. Books like At swim two birds or The Third policeman are astounding. How can I choose between Dostoyevsky with Crime and Punishment, Robert Tressell’s The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists or possibly one of the most beautiful books ever written, the simply lovely The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I could go on, I love Hemmingway and in recent times I have discovered some brilliant new writers. Perhaps it is my wide reading taste, that has influenced my writing and what strikes me about all of the above for example is one common thread, great story telling.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No is the simple answer. I do travel a lot and it has impact on some of my plot lines. I lived outside of Ireland for some time and to this day I am a bit of a globe trotter but it is business or pleasure not book related at the moment.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My wonderful and talented daughter Ciara takes the honors on that score. I chuck a general notion of what I want to achieve at her and we both play with imagery and then she puts it all together. I love all of my covers although I should say ‘her covers’. If I created them I wouldn’t love them I’m sure. That’s not just because I am not as talented as Ciara, but also because I am very self-critical. I am very close to my daughter and I think we just so completely get each other, that she is able to evoke exactly what I have in my head and turn it into striking imagery. Darkly Wood is my first Book and she made what for me, is a beautiful book cover with tiny details such as the Daisy representing the main character. For Larry Flynn, she managed to incorporate an amalgam of imagery, Larry’s visage is of course at the centre of the cover, but there are other background images such as the Halfpenny Bridge in Dublin and the American flag, all pertinent to the story. I simply love the vibrant nature of the cover. For Bad Blood, she stripped it back to a simple strand of DNA and I couldn’t have got it better myself. My soon to be released Little Big Boy has perhaps one of her most striking creations. It is a simple black and white photograph with one colour coming to the fore, as the only colour is on the boy’s jumper. Red is symbolic in more than one way in the story, which you will have to read to understand. I think it is a beautiful cover design. Hat’s off to you Ciara.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Letting go. Certainly with my first one. I felt safe until I asked someone else to read what I had written. I have been fortunate enough to get some wonderful reaction from readers since then, which has encouraged me to continue when I could so easily have given up.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Not really. I guess because I have been essentially writing all through my life, even if just for me, the writing process is such a natural part of me that it feels like walking or riding a bike. I’m sure I’ve learned superficial technical things; I know I have but nothing deep or spiritual. Maybe I have learned one thing. I have learned not to be so afraid that I might fail as a writer. I have learned perhaps to enjoy the process as I always have, to let the book do the talking and to just set my stories free.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
One word. Write. Writers write. Thinking about it, saying ‘some day’ or putting it off until tomorrow is not being a writer. Athletes run. They don’t think about running or say maybe tomorrow, they run. Singers sing, dancers dance and writers write. Every day sit down and write a sentence, a paragraph or a page. It doesn’t matter. Once you start then you will make progress. Take one step at a time and have faith in your ability.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Absolutely not. I am not about imparting a message, I am a storyteller. I know there are writers out there who want to offer up wisdom, advice or let the world know of some injustice, but that’s not me. All I want to say to my reader is ‘ turn the next page, go on, you know you want to…’ and if I succeed in making my stories good enough that’s what they will do.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, like I said earlier I read from a young age. Early on I remember being hooked on series of books from Enid Blyton for example, but I couldn’t pick or recall a specific book as my first.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Lord I laugh and cry a lot and I mean a lot. Some people say I make them laugh and I have a wicked sense of humour, but that’s because I see the funny side in so many things. I like it best when people I love make me laugh, so I will have to say that my family and friends make me laugh most. In terms of crying, I am such a softie. I cry at everything and very often make myself cry as I write. That may seem a little odd but I become so completely immersed in what I write, while I am in the page, I feel everything and my books can be quite emotional at times.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Louis Copeland (for those not in the know a famous Irish Master Tailor) and the reason… I need a new suit. Seriously, I have often seen this type of question and generally people answer with someone famous and predictable so I won’t do that. I am such a cynic that I don’t hold too many people in high regard. I have to meet you and get to know you and if we like each other, we will be friends, if not we won’t.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I’ve often joked that you can chuck my body in a ditch for all I care but my loved ones are appalled by the idea. I might be cremated which kicks the headstone idea out of the park, but for the sake of argument let’s try, ‘if you’re here to say a prayer for me, you’re too late.’
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I used to be super fit, running marathons, playing basketball, cycling I was mad for the auld exercise so I was. Unfortunately I had some injuries that have side-lined my more physical activities, so these days I like to walk the dogs, read and travel as much as I can. Being Irish, socialising is also a big part of my life so if there is a chance of a shindig… I’m there… hardly a hobby but hey, I’m a busy man.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Don’t get too obsessed with TV, Netflix is great to watch Boxsets though and I loved Breaking Bad and I quite like crime dramas, period pieces and so on.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Big foodie and I eat everything. Love eating out in particular and while I have favourite restaurants, I don’t have a favourite food. I’m surprised I don’t have a huge waist! How can I have a favourite colour they are all beautiful. ..and like my books, in terms of music I listen to everything. I love Joni Mitchell, Bruno mars, The Script, Thin Lizzy, Bob Dylan, Amy Winehouse, Paloma Faith, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen, The Doobie Brothers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Imelda May, La Roux, Marvin Gaye, Paul Weller Plan B, Santana, UB 40, Smokie Robinson The Squeeze, Steely Dan, Hozier need I go on… I am unpinable when it comes to taste. Perhaps this is reflected in the fact that I write across genre without a second thought.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Lord knows. I wanted to be a pilot, or an astronaut, or a cowboy, or a deep sea diver discovering ship wrecks when I was seven. If I’m being honest, nothing much has changed.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I Blog here ; https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com/
I have a Facebook author page ; https://www.facebook.com/maxpowerbooks?fref=ts
and I tweet https://twitter.com/maxpowerbooks1