Author of Hearts and Diamonds.
Today I have the pleasure of talking to Indie Fantasy author and podcaster, Maxx Victor, who is the author of the paranormal romance The Anchor and the Moon series which also has a fairytale twist.
Helen: Welcome Maxx, I am so happy we get to chat about your books today. I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by Maxx on his Indie Author podcast, but today I get to turn the tables and find more about his books. Let’s start with your latest release. Tell us about Hearts and Diamonds.
Maxx: Hearts and diamonds, is part two of my Anchor and the Moon paranormal romance series. It is the continuing story of my two main protagonists Cinder and her love interest Angus (also known as Black because of his black hair and dark features). The series is mainly set in a small beach town called Heathcote which is reminiscent of the beach towns I spent my summers in as a kid with my family. Angus is a dairy farmer who lives on one side of Heathcote and Cinder lives in an old mansion the overlooks the town. While the Anchor and Moon series centres around Cinder and Angus’s relationship, there is also the mystery of the strange creatures that roam the forests around the small beach town. Book one, Cinder and black was inspired by the Cinderella fairy-tale. This book, Hearts and Diamonds, is based on Snow White.
Helen: It’s nice when you can blend locations you know into your story, and have fun with known fairytales which you can give a fantastical twist. Tell us about your cover, the heart shaped tree must have an importance in your story?
Maxx: My good friend Paul Mah designed the cover. The large moon at the centre will appear on all three books of the trilogy. Red is a theme of the book and I’ll explain that more in the next question. I picked the Gold-shadowed text because that seems to be a feature of other books in my genre at the moment. I wanted the forest around the border to look dark and mysterious but the heart silhouette is also a follow on from the cover of book one. (Book one has a surfboard in front of the moon to make an eye shape).
Helen: How did you come up with the title?
Maxx: This book is inspired by Snow white. Both the mother and the daughter in the story are referred to as Red-Queens because of their red hair. The mother is more concerned with power and riches (the Queen of Diamonds) whereas the daughter is driven by love, friendship and compassion (the Queen of Hearts).
Helen: What made you write this particular story?
Maxx: This is the second book in what will be a trilogy. Most of the reading time I have is over the summer. Many years ago while I was reading Twilight at the beach, I begun to imagine what it would be like for there to be a something like that set in one of the small Australian beach towns that I had been vacationing in since I was a child. At the same time, I watched a documentary about Star Wars (My all-time favourite movies). The documentary explained how George Lucas reinvented old tales to create a “Space Opera”. I decided to use fairy tales as the inspiration for my trilogy. Book one was based on Cinderella, as I said this book has Snow White as its inspiration, and book three will have themes from Rumpelstiltskin. From my early teens, I had also been interested in Nephilim, strange superhuman characters mentioned in the bible and wanted to include them in my books. I didn’t realise until after I had published book one that Nephilim are the Shadow Hunters from Cassandra Clare’s books.
Helen: The ‘What if’ scenario is so useful for sparking new ideas. And seeing as most stories have already been written, it’s all about taking what is a known trope and putting your own orignal spin on it. When did you first realise you had a passion for writing?
Maxx: I loved writing stories even as a small child, I still have some of the funny things I wrote. As most writers, I have always enjoyed reading and read an eclectic variety of books. In my teens and early adult life, I wrote a lot of poetry and song lyrics but my passion for story telling returned when my two sons were little. To get them to sleep at night, I would make up funny stories with them as the main characters and they would go on all kinds of adventures. I wrote down some of these stories and others and begun entering local writing competitions. When I won some of these competitions, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel.
Helen: And we are so glad you did! Which element of the writing process do you find most challenging and why?
Maxx: The element I find most challenging is time. I have never been a fast writer and I just don’t have enough time to get all my ideas down.
Helen: There are never enough hours in the day. Which genre do you prefer to write?
Maxx: I guess you could call me a fantasy writer. My short stories are sci-fi/ time travel. I have always imagined what it would be like to go back and change the past or to be in the past with knowledge of the future.
My trilogy is paranormal romance. I didn’t know what paranormal romance was when I started writing them, that is just the genre that fits with my ideas. I also still have some of the children’s stories that I wrote for my kids that I would like to publish in the future.
Helen: I started by writing what I enjoyed reading, which was epic fantasy, but I didn’t write specific tropes, I was writing what I thought should be in the book. I retroactively fitted the tropes to my story, once I realised what I had written! Who first inspired you write?
Maxx: My mother and father. As a child I struggled with dyslexia and found reading and writing a challenge. To help, my father would read to my brother most nights. My mother encouraged me to write journals and ideas. My mother passed away just before I published my first book, but I dedicated it to her. My older sister should also get some of the credit, she gave me the first book in the Narnia chronicles when I was about 10 years old, sparking my love for reading.
Helen: What is the best thing that has happened to you since you began writing?
Maxx: The best thing is seeing that my books appeal to a wide range of people. One of my friends who is in his forties enjoys reading my books, but his 11 year old daughter loves them and is always asking when the next one is out.
Helen: That is so great, reaching across generations. It’s been great chatting with you today, just to close us out, is there a tool you have found useful when writing?
Maxx: I Love Pro-Writing-Aid. I have never been great at punctuation and because of my dyslexia, I am bound to misspell words or put the wrong word in place of another. As for a resource for anyone thinking of self-publishing I am a big fan of Joanna Penn and all the work she does for Indie Authors.
Helen: Oh yes, Joanna Penn and her Creative Pen podcast is a great resource for all Indie authors. Thank you Maxx for joining me today. Wishing you all the best with your books and don’t forget to check out Maxx’s Indie Author podcast for more writing advice and great indie author interviews.
About the Author:
Maxx Victor is an Australian author, musician, and secondary school science teacher, who has achieved award winning success with his short stories. A dedicated husband and proud father of two, he is also highly involved in his local arts community; performing in bands and producing and directing amateur films.
Maxx’s author journey began at a very young age. As a child with dyslexia, reading and writing were a constant struggle. To help, his father implemented the nightly routine of reading Titin and Asterix comics and Biggles books to Maxx and his brother; installing a lifelong passion for reading. Maxx’s mother also encouraged him to write stories (some which he has kept to this day).
During his secondary school years, Maxx unearthed a love for music. He regularly wrote poetry and song lyrics, as well as scripts for plays and short films. Something again sparked the curiosity for writing stories when Maxx’s children were toddlers. He frequently created impromptu, twisted fairy-tale bedtime stories, with his family members as the main characters. Maxx now writes teen fiction and hopes that his writing can inspire young people to be defined by their passions and talents, not by the things that the world will tell them are impairments.
Social Media: Find Maxx’s scocial media links here.
You can purchase Hearts and Dimaonds here:
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If you enjoy fantasy romance books then you will love my new release SoulBreather, book one of the SoulMist series, and my epic fantasy Sentinal series. As a new threat against Remargaren is discovered, only one man can wake the ancient guards who can protect them, only he doesn’t know how. Start the adventure and stay for the journey. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and get notified when my next books are published.
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