Author Interview - Maxx Victor
Maxx Victor is an Australian author, musician, and secondary school science teacher, who has achieved award winning success with his short stories. A dedicated husband and proud father of two, he is also highly involved in his local arts community; performing in bands and producing and directing amateur films.
Maxx’s author journey began at a very young age. As a child with dyslexia, reading and writing were a constant struggle. To help, his father implemented the nightly routine of reading Titin and Asterix comics and Biggles books to Maxx and his brother; installing a lifelong passion for reading. Maxx’s mother also encouraged him to write stories (some which he has kept to this day).
During his secondary school years, Maxx unearthed a love for music. He regularly wrote poetry and song lyrics, as well as scripts for plays and short films. Something again sparked the curiosity for writing stories when Maxx’s children were toddlers. He frequently created impromptu, twisted fairy-tale bedtime stories, with his family members as the main characters. Maxx now writes teen fiction and hopes that his writing can inspire young people to be defined by their passions and talents, not by the things that the world will tell them are impairments.
Genre: Paranormal Romance and SciFi
Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what is it about?
My latest book is the second in my Anchor and the Moon series, titled Hearts and Diamonds. In this book we continue following the romance and adventures of the two main protagonists, Cinder and Black, two young people with paranormal abilities. In searching for their missing friend Dom, they inadvertently draw the interest of an ancient evil. On returning to their sleepy beach-town home, they unwittingly unleash this evil on their friends and family. All the books in the Anchor and the Moon series will be modern-day, shifter romance twists on popular fairy tales. Hearts and Diamonds is inspired by Snow White and Cinder and Black was a reimagining of Cinderella. The books feature fun, action, romance, and mystery. There is a lot of flirting and inuendo, but the spice levels are still appropriate for young and old alike.
Q2: How long does it take you to write a book? How long does each stage of the process usually take?
For Hearts and Diamonds, I set myself the challenge to write and publish a book in 12 months. With a great deal of extra time on my hands during the pandemic, I managed to successfully write, edit, and publish Hearts and Diamonds in a year. As much as I like the idea of publishing a book each year, I am not going to put that time constraint on the third book. Working to that timeline made my writing feel too much like a job rather than a passion.
Q3: What is your favourite type of character to write?
I like to write witty and cheeky characters. My character Dom is made up of the worst parts of my friends (or best depending on your point of view). Dom isn’t afraid to say all those things we wish we could say. I also like that under all his bravado, there is a heart of gold.
Q4: Do you mine your own life for ideas, settings and/or characters? If so, please give an example from your current book release where you have done this.
The main setting for my books is a small beach town called Heathcote. While Heathcote is a fictional town, it is very much inspired by the towns I spent my summer holidays in as a child. The banter between best friends Black and Dom is definitely inspired by my interactions with my brother and my close group of friends. The most horrible insults are always saved for your best mates.
In my “day-job”, I am a high school teacher. I get the opportunity to meet all kinds of crazy, weird, wonderful young people. Dom’s younger sister Torry is one of these great teenagers. She is definitely on the autism spectrum, which makes her all the more lovable and engaging. Many of my readers tell me that Torry is their favourite character.
Q5: What is something you wish you had known earlier on it your writing career?
I wish I had known that I needed to have a marketing plan and that I had started that long before the book was published. As I assume many writers do, I just thought I could write a great book, give it a great cover, put it on Amazon and sell thousands of copies each month. I have had over 1000 copies of Cinder and Black downloaded in one month, but I had to work very hard to make that happen.
Q6: What do you do when you find yourself in a bit of a writing rut? Is there any strategy you find works for you to help the words start flowing again?
This happens to me often. I am very envious of people who can write 10,000 words a day, that is not me. Some days I struggle to write 10 words I am happy with.
The two things I find that work for me are re-setting my brain to be in a creative state, and removing myself from distractions. To re-set, I will take a walk through the bushland near my home (another influence for the town of Heathcote) and listen to music. I have created playlists that remind me of each of my characters. If I am trying to write a scene with Dom in it for example, I will listen to hard rock.
To remove myself from distractions I will take myself to a café. I’ll order a pot of tea and some cake and keep writing until the pot is empty. If I have time, I might then order lunch and keep working.
Q7: What is your favourite writing resource?
Punctuation has always been an issue for me, so I love ProWritingAid. I use ProWritingAid a few times in my writing process. At the end of the first draft, before I send my work to the editor and as a final check before publishing.
Q8: How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
My books are for a YA audience, but I have had people from primary school age to retirees tell me that they have enjoyed them.
I would say my ideal audience is anyone that likes a bit fun, action and mystery mixed with a good shifter romance.
Q9: You are writing book 3 of a series. What challenges have you encountered when writing the later books of a series, compared with writing the first book?
As I said earlier, the first book was my hobby for more than 10 years. I was fine with this book taking years because it was just something fun to do in my spare time. Now that I have that first book out, I just want to write and publish more books. My biggest challenge is not having enough time to get all the stories I have floating around my head down on the page.
Q10: What are you currently reading?
Fairy Tale by Stephen King and The Hub by Liv Evans
To find out more about Maxx Victor check out his linktr.ee or give him a follow on Instagram @maxxvictorbooks. Hearts and Diamonds, Book 2 of the Anchor and the Moon series is out now and is available as ebook and paperback. From the blurb:
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