About Maxwell Silver:
I have been a tech writer, college professor, technical trainer and course developer. I am also published in military history and classical studies, which helps in my fiction, which I write for fun. But "Terror Quest" got such good reactions from my writers group and beta readers that I decided to publish it as my first novel.
What inspires you to write?
I like to find things that don't often go together and write a mystery or thriller, or even science fiction/fantasy about them. For "Terror Quest," I put Taliban-like restrictions on life in Ohio, opposed by gamers and militia members.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, together and individually. Their stories move like a freight train. Clive Barker, but I leave the lights on. Stephen King, of course. A lot of SF classics, like Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, but many of those tales have not aged well (socially: casual sexism and such).
Tell us about your writing process.
I meticulously outline most of the tale beforehand. But when I write chapter 1, that all goes out the window, except for the beginning and ending. I try to "meet in the middle" and end up trying to streamline my often convoluted plots.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
This technique does not always work (which means I might have to rethink the characters more), but if the story is solid, it always does. You put the characters in a scene with a setting and watch in your head what they say and do, like a movie. Yes, I discuss things with my characters, like a director, and they often resist doing what I want them to do.
What advice would you give other writers?
Never, never stop writing. Keep at it and you will get better and better. Everyone was a beginner once. Oh, and nobody follows all the "rules"…but you have to know them first, and control how you break them. And anyone's advice is based on one person's experience (even this advice).
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I've had agents, but the story did not sell. Today, I find that the lag between publisher acceptance and book appearance can be a year (or longer if there's a similar book out). Small press (Abuzz Press in the case of Terror Quest) and self-publishing is more agile, but a challenge to market. But even big publisher marketing budgets are anemic these days. I picked Abuzz to get the book out there as fast as I could (two months).
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
There will always be "traditional publishing." But writers can do more and more on their own in the future, I think. And why should authoring be limited to text? Let your book have a playlist for music to listen to while reading (full disclosure: Terror Quest has a playlist). The web has video and audio and streaming for podcasts and such: use that to present a story to the "reader."
What genres do you write?: Thriller, Science Fiction, Fantasy (and a lot of subgenres in those major areas).
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
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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.