Welcome to Untamed Publishing's Author Interviews! As a company that caters to the self-published author, we want to highlight and support indie authors. There is a vast array of talent amongst us, and here's the opportunity to connect the readers to their next favorite author! This year we have an all new round of writers from all genres so let's saddle in and have an Untamable 2018!
This interview features, Author Michael Maxwell. He found contentment in his writing! In this Untamable interview, we'll explore his love of the mysteries!
Hi Michael! Let me first say it is an honor to have you interview with UP. Welcome to the UP HOT SEAT! Before we begin, please tell us a little about yourself.
I am finally free of an overseer or task master! I retired to the life of a writer last year. I live in the Mother Lode area of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California with my wife, Janet. Our three sons are all grown and live in various parts of the west coast.
I am never content, and always want to see what’s on the other side of the hill. For years, I tried to find a hobby to let out my need to create. I tried painting, hosted radio shows, did wood turning, carving, playing guitar, and a variety of other things. Then I wrote my first short story, that turned into a book. That was it. I’ve been writing ever since.
Now that you've found your niche, what made you decide to go from writing as a hobby to becoming a published author?
After finishing a couple of books, I started asking friends to read them to see what they thought. They were very encouraging and insisted I try to get them published. After getting my nose blooded a dozen times from door being slammed in my face, I gave up. Oddly, I wrote two more books. Then I was invited to submit to a book being compiled by Nick Stephenson. It ended up being Eight The Hard Way, a compilation of mysteries stories. That’s when I first heard of Indie Publishing. With the help of David Dyke and Nick, I took a leap of faith and self-published my first three books. The rest they say is history. The First book Diamonds and Cole has been downloaded now over 450,000 times. So it turned out to be a pretty good decision! Thanks guys!
Before I move on let me just stop and say KUDOS to you for having over 450,000 downloads! You'll have some authors hunting you down for that secret later, I'm sure, lol! Since you've discovered your love for writing, please tell us what genres do you write and wish to write?
I primarily write mysteries. However, I have also published a young adult Time Travel book, a guide for parent of teens and tweens who hate to write, and I am dying to finish books I have started in three other genres. So anything other than books about outer space, dinosaurs, or erotica, I’m in!
We'll dive into some fun facts about you as an author. So please, tell us a unique writing habit that you have.
I jump around when I write. I’m a great one for outlines. Most of time I have a pretty good idea where I’m going with a story. I always have a loose outline of how the story lays out. Then I write scenes. I will get an idea for a scene or plot element and go for it. I’m the same way at Christmas, I don’t dare buy presents early, because I can’t wait to give them. Same with writing, I get excited about an idea itching in my head and I have just got to get it out! Then when I get to that chapter a good portion of it is done. It works for me, but I don’t know if it’s for everybody.
When it comes to writing, are you a morning person or a night owl?
By nature, I’m a night owl. As a writer, I seemed to do my best work in the early afternoon.
If you were to write a book about yourself what would you name it? Why?
Striking Matches on Quasimodo’s Hump. My life has been one enchanted adventure after another. It has certainly held its share of the bizarre and the dangerous moments. It would make good fiction, but alas it is all true.
That is funniest and most unique title I have ever heard of. That title alone makes me want to read it so I do hope you write it. Now, we are going to talk about books that you have written. Please tell us about your current project.
I had two new books come out in the second half of 2017. Neither of which were Cole Sage books! First Dara and Dupree was a stand-alone novel; part travel log, part thriller, part romance, all me. People are clamoring for a sequel or a series of it. That was not part of the plan, but lately I seem to be drawn back to it. In fact, I wrote an outline for a second book yesterday! The other book was called The First Chapter. It is a collection of my short stories over the years, and the first novel I ever wrote, The Whistler. It was great fun to put together. It even has my first published work! A story that was in my Sixth Grade Spring Literary Journal! Lol So far the reviews for both have been great.
What is your upcoming project about? When will it be released?
My new book will be out February 22. It is a sequel, something I’ve never done. As with any series the Cole Sage books build upon the last. Cole’s life, love, relationships, are living things, and as such grow, change and in some cases die. Cole Mine: Return to Orvin has our hero returning to the site of book four in the series, Cole Dust. Without any spoilers; Cole decides to write the novel he’s dreamt about based on his grandfather’s journals. Where better than the place he found them? I think fans of the series are going to love meeting up with old friends, and seeing his book come to life. The real story is how Cole gets there!
What makes your writing stand apart from other authors?
I think, if reviews mean anything, it is my ability to bring characters to life, and put them in situations that are realistic and believable. For example, Cole Sage is just a regular guy. No super powers, no extreme vices, yet his willingness to get involved with other people problems, without reward or profit, shows the character of the man. Through the eight books in the series we have really come to know a man that readers repeatedly say they either wished they knew or they were. One woman wants to marry him! I think that says a lot about him. The other thing I try to do is create stories that aren’t riddled with profanity, or books that are filled with sex just for the sake of titillation. In today’s market, I am told repeatedly, they are a very rare commodity. The same holds true for Dara and Dupree and Three Nails, readers say they feel like they know the characters, think about them for days, sometimes weeks and actually wonder what they are doing. is thrilling for a writer.
Would you like to collaborate with other authors on a book project?
I dream about it all the time. Actually, I have new partner I am working with to do series. So, I am excited about that.
Sometimes I wish I could do like Thomas Kinkade did, do a sketch, then have someone else flesh it out, then come back and put my special touches on it! I have so many stories I want to tell. Not sure that would work though. I’ve reached out a couple times to other authors to partner up on an idea in a genre I don’t feel strong enough in, but so far, it hasn’t worked out. So, I will just keep plugin’ along alone.
The right collaborations will come along, so no worries! You're doing an outstanding job on your own. Have you given any consideration to any other aspirations for your writing career?
To add about four hours to the clock!
I now have five books in various stages of being written, a WWII Spy Romance, a completely unique western (I don’t dare even talk about it for fear of losing the idea), a novel about a college kid who is recruited into a CIA-like organization called Clean Cut Kid and its effect on him, book two in The Time Pedaler series, and another collection of short stories. I seem to have more ideas than time.
Here is an exclusive for you! I have really committed to a new series! I’m hoping to have the first five books out this year (good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise). They are call the Flynt and Steele Mysteries. Two miss matched detectives that are thrown together and solve cases in spite of themselves. Lots of dark humor, wonderful cases, and lots of odd ball characters. I have even had the covers done, to put pressure on myself. Here are the first five titles for you! Dead Beat, Dead Duck, Dead on Arrival, Dead Hand, and Dead Head. See a pattern developing?
I love your hilarity! (Lord willing and the creek don't rise!) I'm a Southerner so that phrase tickles my fancy! With your comical and bold personality, we have to know more about Michael the person. We'll start with your fave writers. What are your favorite books by indie authors and why?
Any of Wayne Zurl’s books. His Sam Jenkins mysteries are among the best there is.
D. D. VanDyke who writes the California Corwin a spin-off of my Cole Sage books.
Outside of writing, what are your favorite past times?
I have three things that keep me young and alive! Travel is number one. This spring I will visit country number 50. If I could have my way, I would be gone three months a year. I’d have to get a new wife though, lol.
Then there is music, I have been a music junkie since I was twelve. I’m always on the lookout for the next favorite band or artist. My taste is very eclectic and I love to put together music on a flash drive then hit random! You never know what’s coming up next, it could be Edith Piaf, followed by The Grateful Dead, followed by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys! I love mp3s. I now have my entire collection transferred to digital, so I can have ton of music wherever I go.
My other great passion is film. I am so bored with American TV and movies, 90% of what I watch now is foreign. French and Scandinavian detective shows are my favorites. The writing and production is amazing. I’m always saying to my wife, “Why can’t I write like that?!?”
Tell us one thing about you that is a little known fact.
I was shipwrecked on the island of Salvatione in the Philippines.
OMG! I'm ready for another interview just on that alone. That is an experience you should definitely write about. Unfortunately, we have to wrap up, but before we go we'll get a bit of advice from you. What is one lesson you’ve learned since becoming a published author?
People want good stories. I got a review the other day that said all my book are different even though they are part of a series. I hate cookie cutter books. No names but, some authors find a niche and write basically the same book over and over. Like an artist that all their paintings look alike, or a singer whose songs all sound the same. Life’s not like that. Books shouldn’t be either.
Another is that way more people read your book than will leave a review. I don’t think people realize how valuable and important their comments and reviews are to the marketing of books.
Readers, you heard it from Michael himself, please leave those reviews! What is one myth about being a published author that you learned and would like to share?
The guys that pop-up on Facebook and other places on the internet claiming they have the secret to selling jillions of books, make their money from telling you how to do it, not selling books! LOL
I was very tempted to sign up for an online course. I decided to look up this “bestselling author” on Amazon. I had ten times more reviews and three times more books than the guy. I decided to save my money.
I was chatting with a fellow author the other night, who gets over a million Kindle Unlimited pages read a month. We also decided we no longer believe having thousands of people on your mailing list converts into the same number of sales or reviews.
The fact is, like any product, it takes something people like, will tell their friends about, and a lot of advertising to become successful.
Michael, it was a pleasure to interview you. We look forward to your future works! Please connect with the author and check out his collection of books.
Books by Michael Maxwell
Free copy of Diamonds and Cole https://maxwell.authorreach.com/books/02132ca9/Diamonds_and_Cole:_Cole_Sage_Mystery__1_(A_Cole_Sage_Mystery)