Even though Max Elliot Anderson grew up in a house full of books, he didn’t love reading like his siblings. A few years ago, he started asking himself why he’d been a reluctant reader as a boy — and came to the conclusion that the books he looked at just didn’t interest him. The style was boring, the dialog sometimes sparse or even too adult. He was looking for action, adventure, suspense, and humor. So as an adult he began writing the kind of action-adventure and mystery books that he would have liked as a boy. His books are written for 8 to 13-year-olds who are reluctant, unhappy or struggling readers.
Anderson has also produced films, video programs and TV commercials. His Christian films for children include Hobo and the Runaway, The Mystery of Willouby Castle, The Great Banana Pie Caper and others.
1) TELL US ABOUT YOUR MOST RECENT BOOK.
Barney and the Runaway tells the story about a boy who
thinks that because his parents discipline him it must mean they don’t love
him. I thought it would be interesting to put a twist into the typical story of
a boy who runs away to join the circus. In the case of Barney and the Runaway, Michael pretends to run away with his small
dog so that his parents will miss him and feel bad about telling him what to do
all the time. But that idea goes terribly wrong. Michael
doesn’t truly understand his parent’s love until he loses it, and it takes the
help of an adult runaway, who plays a clown in the circus, to show him the
2) WHICH OTHER WRITERS/STORYTELLERS WOULD YOU COMPARE YOUR BOOKS TO?
I think it’s probably better to let others do that. My books have
been compared by readers and reviewers to Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys,
Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo, Lemony Snicket and adventure
author Jack London.
3) WHEN YOU FIRST BEGAN WRITING, WHO WERE THE AUTHORS WHO INSPIRED YOU? WHO ARE THE WRITERS WHO INSPIRE
I grew up hating to read, even though my dad was the author of
over 70 books. When I began writing, I was most concerned about what his
reaction would be. To my complete surprise, he became my best supporter,
mentor, and “writing buddy.” He died about four years ago and I really miss the
interaction we had together as authors.
4) WHAT ASPECT OF GOD DO YOU MOST HOPE READERS GET FROM READING YOUR WORK?
My books take place in contemporary situations and circumstances
that can and do happen in real life. I’d like readers to come away from each
book with a better understanding of character, honor, right and wrong, peer
pressure, and the power that God has to help them with all of these trials and
5) WHAT COMES NEXT FOR YOU AS A WRITER?
This is an interesting question because I’ve completed 36
action-adventure & mystery manuscripts. Part of what comes next is that 9
of these will be published in 2011 and many, many more of them have been
contracted including audiobook and e-book versions. I’d like to be writing now,
but my time will devoted to interacting with the publishers, marketing,
promotion, speaking, and additional platform building in the next few months.
I began writing as a direct result of what happened on 9/11. Most
of my video production clients disappeared after that. Late last year I wrote a
story called When the Lights Go Out.
It’s a mystery/thriller for my target age group and will be released in time
for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 this September. I’m already
contacting some of the 9/11 family groups and working with pre-publicity about
this one. As I’ve spoken in schools recently, it’s become clear that students 9
– 13 know little or nothing about what happened that day, or the importance it
holds for our country. When the Lights Go
Out contains a terrorist plot that the boys in my story have to uncover. This
project is a fitting way to close out the first ten years of writing and look
forward to what God has ahead.