Saturday, October 22, 2011

In Max's Own Words- Interview with Maxwell Cynn, Author of The Collective

Release Notes is thrilled and honored to have Maxwell Cynn, author of The Collective visiting today. 
Maxwell Cynn is a novelist, freelance writer, amateur coder, webmaster, and Indie publisher who writes deliciously romantic speculative fiction and blogs book reviews on a wide range of genres. His website, with links to all of his social media connections, can be found at  I hope you'll enjoy! 

In Max's own words:

I'm a pragmatic dreamer, a poet, a philosopher, and a construction worker. I enjoy fine art, literature, and classical music as well as Monty Python, dime novels, and hard rock. I prefer cheap beer to fine wine and a good play to professional sports. My interests include theoretical physics, classical history, technology, science fiction, psychology, philosophy, mythology, and the paranormal. I tend to be shy, but I love people. So look me up on your favorite social network, leave a comment on my blog, or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?
I dreamed of being a famous author in high school, and later in my 20's I played at writing a few fan fiction stories, but it was in my mid 40's that I decided writing is what I wanted to do and started seriously pursuing publication.

On average, how long does it take you to write a book?
Writing is easy. I can type out a novel in 4-6 weeks when my muse is cooperating. Then there is editing, revisions, polish... So I'd say 4-6 months before it is ready for beta readers and advance reviews and a couple of months after that before it is ready for readers. It's easy to spend a year from concept to publish.

Where do you find writing inspiration?
In everyday life. I write speculative fiction which is simply saying, What if? What if a sexy desktop assistant program became sentient? CybrGrrl. What if a computer virus was designed to infect the user's mind? The Collective. I have a devious and over-active imagination, so I'm always thinking, what if?

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
My first attempt at a novel was a Star Trek fan fiction, but we'll skip over that. I was 45 when I wrote CybrGrrl and published it at 47. I have three other novels ready to publish: The Collective which releases Oct 22, .45 Caliber Jitterbug releasing in December, and La Belle Mort releasing in 2012.

What do you think makes a good story?
Good characters and character interactions. A great plot falls dead at the feet of poorly developed characters.

Does your family (and/or close friends) know that you write and are a published author? If so, are they supportive of your efforts? 
My family and friends know and are supportive in a limited sense. Some of them are not avid readers and few have made the jump into eBooks. Being 50, a lot of my friends and family are not what you would call tech savvy and still have trouble with the internet - yes those people are still out there. I think they would be more excited and supportive if they had hard copies of my books.

Is there another sub-genre aside from your primary sub-genre that you would like to write for and why?
Speculative fiction is a wide genre and allows me great latitude in what I write. I've stayed mainly in SciFi and Tech, but I've also ventured into Historic Mystery and Paranormal. But everything has a romantic element because I'm a romantic at heart. I also dabble in non-fiction and would love to write for a local paper.

Is there a main genre that you would like to write for? 
As I said above, journalism has a huge draw to me. .45 Caliber Jitterbug is a classic Cozy Mystery set in the late 1920's during Prohibition. The main character is a reporter for the local newspaper. It was my chance to write like an old style journalist (think Hemingway). I loved it. But it is my only novel in that style or genre.

Are there any other types of fiction/literature that you enjoy reading? 
I'm an avid reader and read almost everything. If there isn't romance involved I tend to loose interest unless it's non-fiction, but I love fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, historical, suspense, you name it.

How important is reader feedback, good or bad, to you?
Bad feedback is more important than good. Someone saying they like my work is encouraging, but not constructive. When someone tells me things that aren't working I can make it better and grow as a writer. But any feedback from readers is highly important. I write for readers, so their opinion is everything.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Read. Seriously. I love reading. There is nothing better than curling up with a cup of coffee and a good book on my Kindle, except writing a good book myself.

What advice, if any, do you have for aspiring authors?
First, read and read some more. But read like a writer. Look at style, plotting, voice, characterization, everything. Then find your voice. Don't try to copy what you've read, but use the tools you learn from reading. Next, edit. I spend more time editing, revising, and polishing than I do writing. Find honest crit partners - not ones that tell you how awesome you are, or ones who tell you how much you suck, but ones who are honest enough to tell you either when appropriate.

One note about crit groups: Some writers (Hemingway, Stephen King) believe crit groups are not only a waste of time, but destructive. Others live by their crit partners. Crit groups are what you make of them and only as good as the members. I've known people who praise everything and others who trash everything (except their own of course).

You must take all of the advice, critique, and edit suggestions as just that - suggestion. You are the writer. It is your manuscript, your story. Ultimately you decide its final state. Listening, and following every suggestion will result in a total mess and your voice will be completely lost in the cacophony of differing opinions. Nothing will ever appeal to every reader, and often opinions will contradict.

Write what you write. Write well structured prose without spelling or grammar mistakes, but write in your style - your voice. Don't let crit partners or popular books pull you away from your voice in an attempt to be "commercial." Readers can tell a false voice or a copycat and they won't read it. If I want to read Nora Roberts, I buy her books, not books by a Nora wanna-be.

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