My third interview in “The Author Speaks” is with James Maxstadt, who has written the delightful “Tales of a Nuisance Man”
He is a busy man – just finished the sequel to Tales, in the middle of two other novels, and building ideas for yet another! I am really grateful he found the time (somewhere!) to give us his thoughts, and an update on what’s going on with him!
The Book Itself: Tales of a Nuisance Man
This is a short story collection with a fantasy twist. The storyteller is the Nuisance Man himself, Duke Grandfather, as he regales his grandson with stories of his past. A great YA read, or adult read to the kids!
Book: Tales of a Nuisance Man
Published: November 14th, 2017
Now my favourite bit!!
Please give us a little more about the person behind the book:
I’m originally from upstate NY, around the Albany area, but have lived in a few different places, all along the east coast.
Now, I live in North Carolina, where my wife and I have a house that was built in 1937. We’re in the process of renovating it, room by room, which is challenging and fun.
In addition to writing and renovating, I like reading, watching movies and spending time with my bride.
Q: Why did you begin writing?
It’s something that I used to love doing when I was younger. But then, life intruded – I let it stop.
Over the years I’ve dabbled with it on and off, but it never amounted to anything. Then, about a year ago, the bug bit me again, and this time, it stuck.
I wrote the first book that I ever actually finished, “Vasily’s Property“, but quickly realized that it wasn’t very good. Instead of getting down about it, I continued on, writing short stories and improving my game.
Now, I can’t imagine not doing it. I love the feeling of suddenly being struck by an idea and thinking, “now that would be a good story.”
Q: How do you form the ideas for your book?
Different ways, actually.
For the one and only time in my life, I dreamed the character of Duke Grandfather. Dreams are usually a horrible place to get story ideas, at least for me. But in this case, it worked out.
For the individual stories within “Tales of a Nuisance Man“, I draw on myths, legends, established fantasy tropes, etc. Then, I try to come up with a way to put a new twist on them.
Oh, and sometimes, I think of the title first, and then come up with a story to go around it.
Q: Is there a particular genre you like writing in, or do you see yourself writing in several genres?
Fantasy will always be my first love and the genre that I prefer. I’ve played with light science-fiction a bit, but I don’t think I can make it realistic enough to do the hard stuff. I think I would probably stay in the speculative fiction realm, but who knows what’s down the road.
Q: What authors inspired you to write?
What fantasy author doesn’t say Tolkien? I’m not going to be any different. To me, The Lord of the Rings are the best books ever written.
Other than him, my absolute main inspiration is Terry Pratchett. I love the world he created, and how he expanded it and let it grow over the years.
Glen Cook is another huge influence, with the Garret P.I. files.
And I’m in awe of Tad Williams. I wish I could string so many different story lines together and have them all draw together the way he does.
Q: Describe your writing space.
Ok, this one is pretty funny. Let’s just say that I have a unique situation, and have the chance to write when a lot people wouldn’t, and leave it at that. [Blogger’s note: Sounds like there could be a story in THIS nugget of info!!]
Q: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with them?
God, yes! So far, I’ve been very fortunate and haven’t had anyone review either Tales, or the sequel, “Duke Grandfather Saves the World*”, who has hated them.
Having said that, it’s not the easiest thing to read that someone didn’t like a particular piece of your book without trying to come to its defence. Even if it’s just in your own head.
Q: What is it like, to have your book published and out there?
A little surreal, and a little frightening at times. You spend so much time writing it, and pouring your heart into it, and then you throw it out there for anyone to read. And you want them to, the more readers the better, but, it’s still a little nerve wracking at times.
Q: What did you learn when writing the book, that was surprising to you?
It always surprises me when the characters don’t go the way I expect them to.
I’d read authors who would say that, and never really understood it, but it’s absolutely true. Sometimes, you start to write one story, and it comes out to be something entirely different.
Over the course of writing Tales, I learned to let it happen, and not fight it. If the story isn’t suitable for the book, use it elsewhere, or maybe it wasn’t meant to be anyway.
Q: What do you read to relax?
Mostly fantasy, some sci-fi, and some history.
Q: What words of advice would you give aspiring authors?
Keep plugging, take criticism and keep learning.
Join a writing group and listen to the feedback.
And most importantly, love it.
If you’re writing fiction, tell yourself the story, and let yourself discover it with the same sense of wonder that you hope your audience will get from it.
Q: In “Tales Of A Nuisance Man”, what would you like readers to get the most from?
Enjoyment, first and foremost. I really just wanted to write a fun story. It ended up having a bit of social commentary in there, especially in this day and age, but it wasn’t my main intent. But if it helps someone realize that we’re all really the same, then hey, bonus.
Q: What are your upcoming projects (if you can talk about them!!)?
I’ve finished and released the sequel to Tales. It’s titled “Duke Grandfather Saves the World“, and it’s a direct continuation. I made a slight change to the format in this one, and eliminated the interludes where Duke is talking to his grandson. There is a short chapter at the beginning and end where that happens, but otherwise, it’s all Duke. Oh, and there is an overarching theme for all of the stories.
I’m currently finishing up an anthology, which should be out this summer, titled “Rejected Worlds”. It’s short stories that I’ve written and goes from humour to darker pieces. There’s a new, stand-alone Duke Grandfather story in there as well.
I’m also working on a novel called, “Solomon’s Exile”, which I’m hoping to have out by Christmas, or early next year. It’s a stand alone and has nothing to do with Tales, or Duke.
And finally, the idea for a third Duke Grandfather book is slowly percolating in the back of my mind…….
Q: What are you currently reading?
Right now, I’m reading The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan, about the building of the Biltmore Estate. After that…I have no idea, but I have a whole stack of books waiting for me.
Q: Any last thoughts?
I’d like to say thanks for the opportunity to do this! I had a lot of fun answering these!
Tell us how we can discover more about you and your books:
The easiest way is:
- to go to http://www.jamesmaxstadt.com.
- I’m also on Amazon and Goodreads.