For as long as she can remember, Max has always had a love of the macabre and thought provoking side to life. Which probably stands to reason why each of her books takes the reader on an emotional journey that not only promises twists, turns, and suspense but a heart-wrenching journey where her motto holds true: Love never comes easy. When she's not lost in an alternate world - fuelled by coffee and the odd sneaky bowl of chocolate (preferably M&Ms) - she spends her days as a wife to a dedicated husband, mother to two rambunctious boys, and an obsessive petrolhead enjoying the muscle on display at the local car shows.
Now, on with the interview...
ME: What is your favorite childhood book?
MAX: Can I Get There by Candlelight? by Jean Slaughter Doty. Fantastic mystery/suspense for all horse-loving girls.
ME: What is the first book that made you cry?
MAX: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. I read my mum’s copy as a teenager and loved it.
ME: Is writing your primary 'job' or do you have another source of income?
MAX: It’s my full-time job.
ME: Do people around you know you write romance/erotica and what do they think about it?
MAX: Yep. Friends and family all know what I do for a living, and while they don’t understand half of what I talk about, LOL, they support me.
ME: LOL, families can be like that :) Do you believe in writer’s block? If not why not? And if so what suggestions do you have to start the juices flowing again.
MAX: It’s a real thing, but I don’t believe it’s beyond the writer’s control. You have to push on to break through it. Like the epic Stephen King said, “Some days you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”
ME: So true. Are you a plotter or fly by the seat of your pants kind of writer?
MAX: I’m in between. I outline my novels, but I don’t get into the details; I let the characters guide me through those.
ME: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
MAX: Depends on the book. If it involves law or actual historic fact, I can do a lot of research—probably hours per book.
ME: Would you rather write standalones, standalones with connections to your other works, or multi book series with no true conclusion until the very end?
MAX: All of the above. I let the story dictate what it’s going to be.
ME: Where do your story ideas come from?
MAX: Everything and anything. A song, a movie, a real life situation, past experiences, wondering “what if?”
ME: Do you ever base your characters, events or locations on real people, events or places?
MAX: Totally. Most of my characters have traits that belong to people I know.
ME: Is there a character in one of your books loosely based off yourself?
MAX: All of them. Every single one of them draws from me in some way or another.
ME: What process do you use for selecting the names of your characters?
MAX: Honestly? I usually run through the alphabet in my head until a letter sticks with them, and then I go from there. It usually takes me a few minutes to settle on it.
ME: Who has been your most difficult character to write so far?
MAX: Ty, in the Butcher Boys series. He was a hard nut to crack, mostly because he’s the kind of guy that just makes such obvious mistakes that you want to slap him, but his naivety is all part of who he is.
ME: Have you ever killed off someone who pissed you off in one of your books?
ME: What was your hardest scene to write?
MAX: There are a couple of scenes in Echoes in the Strom that still make me tear up when I re-read them. They pull on some really tough emotions.
ME: Does writing energize or exhaust you, and why?
MAX: It energizes me. In a perfect world, I would make the husband retire and have him run the house so I could lock myself away and write for hours on end when I’m in the zone.
ME: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal, and why?
MAX: A black dog. Apart from the obvious representation to depression (which is a key part of who I am), dogs are loyal and trusting and not much can knock them down; they’ll keep getting back up to try again, do more, be more. Everything they do centres around love.
ME: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
MAX: Write the damn books, because one day somebody will invent the e-reader and self-publishing.
ME: LOL, at least you are there now and doing great. SO,what are common traps for aspiring writers?
MAX: Self doubt. Don’t write what people tell you to. Don’t write what you think people expect of you. Write the story that burns in your mind late at night, the one that keeps you occupied while driving, the one that bugs you when you’re doing the housework. Write YOUR story.
ME: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
MAX: A decent laptop, LOL. Probably finding good editors who challenged my weaknesses and encouraged me to be the best I can.
ME: Loving that the editors are getting such a good rap with this question! Thanks for your time, Max. See you soon at RTC!