About Max Turner:
Max Turner grew up in Peterborough, Ontario, in a family of three boys who all shared the lifelong dream of becoming Vikings. His house was the neighborhood hub for games of all kinds, spud, soccer, football, hockey, basketball, Dungeons and Dragons, Risk and Mario Cart, all of which was supplemented with healthy doses of books, marvel comics, Beatles, Bond and Batman. Little has changed, except that he’s now married and has three wonderful children of his own. When he’s not at play, coaching or teaching (which he does full time at a school in Ottawa), he writes young adult urban fantasy.
What inspires you to write?
A love of stories. I started writing creatively at university. My first project was a role playing game. (I have always regarded these games as vehicles for collective story creation. Over drinks, my brothers and I still revisit our favorite adventures). I started writing historical fantasy at the same time, thinking that, if I ever got my products to the marketplace, they would be excellent tools for turning people on to medieval history. (My first books were based on the life of Alfred the Great during the Viking expansion of the late 9th century. They are collecting dust now, as they should. Without a barrel of whiskey and diamond-bit drill, you’d never get through them). I fell in love with the process of writing, just as I’d fallen in love with reading as a young teenager. One can never have enough stories.
Tell us about your writing process.
My children are young and our neighborhood is saturated with kids, so my home is a den of chaos. I write in the eye of a hurricane. Needless to say, the process is very stop-start. As a result, I’ve learned the value of detailed chapter outlines. What happens? What is the purpose of each scene? How is the plot advanced and character revealed? What do I want the reader to experience? I do character outlines, too, starting with the physical. How do they look? How do they move? What are their most prominent features? Next comes purpose. What is their role in the story? I like to build each character a history (which may not ever be revealed in the story, but is important for your understanding of them). This gives me a sense of their attributes, strengths and flaws. Lastly I figure out how I want them to develop.
I am not fond of sitting still. (When I play Destiny of my X-Box, I sit on a recumbent exercise cycle). I also get very excitable when I write, so I tend to jump up often and wander around, talking my way through the particulars of a scene. Once I think I’ve got it, I sit down and type, and hope I remember all the details.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I get burned by my students all the time for talking to myself. It’s no different with my characters. I talk to them and for them. Despite having detailed character outlines, I don’t understand them well until the story unfolds. Often they turn out to be quite different than I intended. As my understanding deepens, I am forced to revisit scenes for consistency. Of all of the challenges I face when constructing a story, I find staying true to my characters the hardest, especially when it comes to their faults.
What advice would you give other writers?
Enjoy the journey. Writing can be a slow, arduous process. It’s natural to have self-doubt, and to wonder if anyone is going to enjoy what you’re creating (or even notice). Getting depressed partway through a project is common. The best way to keep this manageable is to have fun with your characters. Immerse yourself in your story. And take pride in what you’re doing. It’s not easy.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I was fortunate that several publishing houses were willing to read my first manuscript because it was endorsed by a successful writer. I have since heard opinions at all ends of the publishing spectrum, much of it contradictory. My only advice would be, no matter what publishing avenues you consider, get a professional editor to scrutinize your work and listen to what they say. Often we get too close to our own writing, or too attached to it, and are reluctant to make changes that will improve it.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Grim. Kids these days… Fewer and fewer read for pleasure. And many are used to getting their art on the Internet for free. Piracy will rise, abetted by an increase in ebooks, as more authors will self-publish electronically and distribute through companies like Amazon so they can sell for less, but reap a greater share of profit per item. The sky will burn. Rocks will melt. The dead shall rise…
But we will be saved by publishing houses. Small indy presses that specialize, and larger presses with reach, both of whom will restore some quality control to a marketplace that will be saturated with tripe.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Urban Fantasy
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print, Audiobook
Max Turner Home Page Link
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.