All Authors Blog Blitz

Today, I am hosting an author interview as part of an ‘All Authors Blog Blitz’, started on Goodreads. My own will be hosted by Patti Lavell. My guest is Max E. Stone, a thriller writer. So…here he is, I guess (just pretend there’s trumpets and things):

Let’s start with the obvious: tell us about your book, August To Life.

“August to Life” is the story of three families—the Warrens, the Bennetts, and the Johnsons—unwittingly and reluctantly thrown together by their children which forces them to deal with the secrets they’ve buried for years. And that’s just the beginning.

What led you to write in this genre? Would you consider venturing into other genres, and if so, which?

I’ve always enjoyed reading fiction and writing it is no exception. It’s an escape for me and gives me an opportunity to create something new. For instance, “August to Life” was the result of a series of traumatic incidents during my junior and senior high school years. During that time, escaping through fiction writing was all I really had to keep me sane. As far as other genre’s I would like to at some point do paranormal and maybe children’s books.

Thriller and mystery works seem to me some of the hardest fiction to write, with all the interconnecting threads and so on. How do you go about it?

You’re right. It’s not an easy genre at all because there are so many different threads of storyline that you have to clearly connect to create this yarn of one interwoven story and then you have to show the audience how its all connected. It took me years of practice with writing prompts, reading, agent rejection letters, and the like to have an idea of how to do it and even now, I learn something new every time I pick up a book by another author.

What kind of challenges did you come across in bringing this book to life?

Writing in a way that scared me was one of the most challenging aspects of bringing this to life. My mom, one of the smartest people and biggest book lovers I know, taught me that. I always let her read my drafts. I let her read the first draft of “August to Life” and she commented on how dialogue should go with the character at least in the context of the moment. From then on, I had to make sure I said what my character said, regardless of my feelings.

Another challenge was publishing. I didn’t know much about the self-publishing industry or publishing in general, which is another place my mother shined. She found all these details and information about publishing with Amazon and Smashwords. It helped me to get my voice heard so thanks mom 🙂

What lessons have you learned so far from your writing?

One lesson I learned was not to be afraid to be me. Sometimes what works for someone else may not work for you. For example, Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder were just two people who changed the face of music simply by doing what they did best: being themselves. My writing role model is Quentin Tarantino. He’s not afraid to say what needs to be said the way it needs to be said. His structure and dialogue is phenomenal.

If you knew everything you know now about writing, what, if anything, would you go back and do differently?

There are a few things, but mainly I would definitely read more of a wider range of authors both in and outside of fiction to see their different styles and tactics of reaching an audience and telling a story.

I’m pretty sure it was Elmore Leonard that said (but don’t quote me) that writer’s block is just another term for lazy. What do you think of that? Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, how do you get around it?

Well, I’ve never really considered it before. I have suffered from writer’s block before so I would have to both agree and disagree. You’re never truly blocked just because you don’t know where to go. Sometimes you just need to write or talk it out to get back on track.

Lastly, tell us anything else you want us to know: coming projects, tips, interesting facts about yourself… Anything.

“August to Life” is part of a series so you’ll be seeing more of the Warrens, the Bennetts, and Johnsons. The second in the series “The Bleeding” is a hard core thriller that goes into why one character is what he is and what he is planning next (if anything.) It will be available September 2013 and I will be posting updates and changes on twitter on my pages at @maxestone and @maxestonebooks as well as my blog “The Coloured Blog” on Tumblr at

August to Life

‘Around, Around, and Around they go. Where the blood stops?…Who knows?’

August to Life is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US now.

The Next Big Thing

Well, I’ve been tagged in this blog tag thingy. I refuse to admit just how long it took me to work out just what was happening, and why I’d been tagged, and what I was meant to do about it. It involves answering questions about one’s current project. We then tag someone else to force them in a thumbscrew manner to spill their respective beans.

I was tagged by Sammy HK Smith, who writes…stuff. Mainly fantasy and speculative fiction, I think I’d be right in saying. And it’s a good thing she did, because you only have to look at how long it’s been since my last post to see how hard I find it to come up with stuff to say! Which is odd, for a writer.

Anyway, on with the game!

What is the working title of your book?

I’m working on three (five, if you count my terrible habit of skipping ahead to start the sequel to the book I haven’t yet finished), but one may never see the light of day, and one is the third of the series in which the second hasn’t been published yet. So in short, it is ‘Temple of the Sixth’.

What genre does your book fall under?

Science fantasy. Genres are something of a necessary evil, though. They are needed for obvious reasons, but it does mean that authors can feel quite restricted, and readers often get the wrong or incomplete idea about what they’re looking at. Although science fantasy is the best and most accurate description of my novels, it (and the broader ‘sci fi’) brings unwanted connotations and requirements. I felt like I was going somewhere with this deep and philosophical paragraph, but it turns out I wasn’t, so moving on…

Give a brief synopsis of your book:

The Hierarchy is that most cliched of things: an ancient evil (ghostly ‘woooo’). Having experienced a most devastating betrayal by those they once fought to protect, the Hierarchy’s leaders did not go where they were meant to after death. Instead, they remained between planes of existence, seething in hatred and fury, and awaiting their chance to wipe all life from the universe in a raging torrent of vengeance.

In response to this unforseen threat to all life, the Celestians were created. Whenever the Hierarchy rises to exact their revenge, the Celestians vanquish them. But even they do not have the power to stop the furious immortals for good, and now, the Hierarchy has begun to control their anger. Now, they are scheming, intelligent and crafty. Now, they may be unstoppable.

Theak is one of the mortal agents recruited by timid – and debatably insane – little Fonau and his telepathic hotline to the kidnapped god who will bring the Celestians together. If they do not rescue her, nothing will stop the end of all life. Theak doesn’t believe a word the little man says, but there’s something compelling in those big, round eyes, and the trembling lower lip, and so he agrees to help. He probably wouldn’t, had he known how many times he’d be chased, bitten, burned alive, and have his chest ripped into by Death himself.

Time is inevitably running out, and the chances of success are looking worse with each passing minute. As the Hierarchy’s infection spreads across countless worlds, bending every living creature to its will, the thought in Theak’s mind is, how do you win a war against those you’re fighting to protect?

Where did the idea for the book come from?

People are going to get tired of reading it, but as usual, it just came about by itself. I decided I wanted to write something big. I also wanted it to be a little more fantastical.

Contrary to that… Although I didn’t mention it above, one of the parallel storylines in the novel has two ordinary men trying to survive this extraordinary situation. These two men work as secretaries, and have never so much as left their home town. I wanted to see the whole situation from their perspective, as well as from that of the people who know what is happening. These two think they’re being attacked by zombies! I liked the idea of writing that.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Well, Theak is black, bald, and twenty-eight years old, so that narrows it down a little. I’m not sure, though. I like Chiwetel Ejiofor – even if I can’t pronounce his name – but I’d rather have unknown actors, so they can be seen purely as their character.

Of course, some familiar characters from my first novel do show their faces, including Juni. I wouldn’t mind Kate Beckinsale playing her part, but then I’d have to do a rewrite for her involving a nude scene with a bald author…it might get a little contrived.


I nominate (read: unceremoniously kick into the spotlight): Mary Fan, Marita Hansen, Danny at Uproar Comics (because I’m stretching the rules a touch), and Nichole Sotzek.