Today on Booktastik, we have thriller/science fiction/post apocalyptic author, Miles A. Maxwell joining us. Miles pens, or types as the case now may be, contemporary thrillers that deal with the ever-present threat of terrorism. His books are fast-paced, filled with suspense and action, and they’ll get you thinking. We can’t wait to find out more about Miles and what drove him to write his State of Reason series.
Welcome, Miles, and thanks for joining us. You’re writing a modern-day thriller series that includes bombs and terrorism. Did you choose the subject matter because it’s something you worry about?
Thank you. Yes, definitely. History says it’s healthy to be aware of what could happen again. To try to figure out what its cause is. What we might do about it.
Has a lot of research gone into the books?
A tremendous amount. Thousands of hours on the Internet. Thousands more studying religious texts – the Qur’an, the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, the Teachings of Buddha. Speaking with surgeons and perfusionists, chefs and gold traders.
But a lot of the research has been physical as well. I’ve viewed the remains of the World Trade Center soon after 9/11. I had a look at the hole in the Pentagon. I’m a private pilot so I flew, for example, to four major power plants. Took thousands of pictures.
One of the stranger things that happened was hours after I got done touring a coal-fired power plant in Nevada one day, there was a knock at the door of a house we were renting up in Lake Tahoe. I opened it to find this FBI agent on the front steps wanting to know why I was so interested in power plants. I took him down to my writing room. He looked around at all the U.S. electric system maps, the photos all over the walls. Then he saw all the manuscript pages and said, “Oh, you’re a writer. Never mind.”
Wow, you’re a pilot as well. And I don’t know about you, but I would have freaked out if the FBI knocked on my door! You are almost living in a real-life thriller story.
While writing the books, because you’re thinking about terrorism all day, does it make you more worried or can you switch your mind away from it when you’re not writing?
Well, it gets you to stock up on food a little more. And batteries. And medicine. To be better prepared for emergencies. Less dependent on doctors. To try to figure out how to live a little less dependently on doctors and just-in-time groceries. To think about your own water supply and maybe some solar panels.
Have you always written, or is it something you came to after an out-of-the-blue urge?
Writing is therapy. I learned at an early age, if you write down your troubles, they’re released from the brain. Pretty soon they melt away. So I’ve been writing for a long, long time. This series was more than fifteen years in the making. A lot of that time was spent turning the therapy into an exciting cohesive story.
You’ve lived in Manhattan before moving to the Rockies. What inspired the move, and is it easier to write in one environment as opposed to another?
It’s a lot less stressful out here. Less compression. It’s both harder and easier to write. The stress causes more need for release, resulting in a kind of auto-writing. Just let the stuff come out. The open air, the sky, the mountains, the desert, allow more time for thinking. It’s better for editing and putting things in order. Tying things together.
Can you tell us about your State of Reason series.
There are two plot lines. Macro and micro. As terrible as it begins, it’s basically a tale of solutions, of growth, of progress. One plot line, micro, concerns the main people in the story – Franklin, Everon, Victoria – and how they grow and evolve. The larger macro line takes in the country, to an extent the world as a whole.
There are two books in your series at the moment — Loss of Reason and Search for Reason. How many books have you got planned altogether for the series?
Originally I had planned on six. But because I became dissatisfied with the ending on Book Four – not enough of a cliff-hanger – we’re releasing books Four and Five as one book. So it looks like there will be five altogether. Book Three, Finding Reason will be out next year.
In today’s Internet-orientated world, authors have to do a lot of their own marketing online. Does being online eat into your writing time, or are you disciplined enough to make sure the writing always comes first?
Writing first. Always.
I salute you :).
Your covers are awesome. Do you come up with suggestions for the cover artist or does your publisher present them to you when they’re finished?
Thank you. I help a bit, but my publishing company does them, the most recent ebook cover for Loss Of Reason was done by Damonza.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
Probably the part about two months after a story is perfected, when I get to enjoy for myself reading what somebody I don’t know anymore created.
What are you working on at the moment, and what is happening for you book-wise in 2016?
I’m finishing up a short novela that is to be released prior to the third book in the State Of Reason series. Author! Author! ties into the State of Reason series but it’s a kind of prequel, several years before the first bomb goes off. The story is told by a former Olympian, come FBI agent, Naomi Soul, about a series of famous authors who are killed by the methods used by the villains in their stories.
Every person I write will ultimately tie into the series.
What is your goal as an author?
I really think of my job as actually being more of a legal drug-pusher. My goal is to sell as much of your own adrenaline back to you as possible.
Well, based on your extensive research, I think you would do a very good job of that. Thanks again for joining us today. You’re one of the most interesting authors I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing. Good luck with your next release, Miles.
If you’d like to catch up with Miles — when he’s not flying a plane or chatting to FBI agents — you can find him on Twitter @MilesAMaxwell, Facebook, his website, and you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org as he loves to hear from readers.
And if you want to pick up a FREE copy of his first book in paperback, copies of Loss Of Reason are being given away. For a list of states where you can pick one up go to: http://www.StateOfReason.com/bookTour.html
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