On Saturday, June 4th, the sequel to my first published novel, To the Max, will be released as an ebook, the print version to follow shortly thereafter. This is a milestone for me, my first sequel, so naturally I'm rather excited about it. I'd like to give you a little background about how the books came to be, and what they're about. Maybe later in the week, we can get Max himself to say a few words.
Well, that didn't work. He kept on taking up space in my consciousness til finally I said okay, let's just take a few notes here, keep the fellow happy, and get back to them later. I sat down wtih a pad of paper and a pen and began to write what basically became the first chapter. Names of people whom I had no idea who they were, the people in Max's life.
Now I do know where some of the names came from, in the jumbled clutter of the recesses of my mind. Max - I just liked the name, but not Maxwell as in Maxwell Smart, but Maximillian, as in Maximillian Schell, the actor. My daughter Sarah was reading Romeo and Juliet at the time, so that filtered into my consciousness - which accounts for Montague and Juliet, and the Shakespearean influence extended to Ophelia as well. Sebastian is the name of a character that my friend Kitty once played in a game we were in, an HP game - he was the father of future Hogwarts student Theodore Nott. Kitty herself is represented by Max's friend Catherine, or Cat as he calls her. See? Kitty - Cat. Richard? I love the name, perhaps it comes from Richard Sharpe, a great Sean Bean series. St. Louis is a no-brainer - I live here, and I used to work in St. Charles, where I put Max's cottage. Terranova Fisher comes from two things - my kids were about to take a test at the time called the Terranova, and Fisher is a play on fisher of men, as in the pope, or a general religious reference, apt for a minister.
Max's story unfolds both in present time occurrences and in flashbacks. I know he meanders and wanders a bit, as the mood strikes him, but there is method to his madness. I don't think he's that difficult to follow, and I do label his flashbacks with dates - I have an entire timeline in order to keep everything straight.
Max is 44, Richard about a year older. Max's mother is more cool with his being a werewolf than being gay, and she likes to set him up on blind dates. Rachel is his best friend, the girl next door. I forgot to mention that she is named after Rachel Weisz, the only female celebrity I've ever roleplayed, and Sheldon comes from the Sheldon Concert Hall here in St. Louis - I hear it has perfect acoustics, but I've never been there. Yet. Max and Richard have been together for over twenty years, but Richard has a tendency to wander off and disappear at times, without explanation. Max always takes him back when he returns, without question. The first book deals with that, as well as Amy Rose Banneker. I named her after two characters that someone I intensely disliked roleplayed, Banneker comes from House on Haunted Hill, the remake. Amy is an old friend of both Rachel and Max and she has a thing for him, despite the fact that he's gay and always has been - she's the source of great pain and aggravation to Max and Richard. Then Juliet, Max's mother, begins to date a homophobic minister, Terranova Fisher. Makes for some interesting times.
In the first book, Max's lycanthropy is not actually an issue, and we see little of it. There is more in the second book. Unlike a lot of other werewolf heroes of novels, Max is not an Alpha. He's a guy, just trying to get by, and hold on to what he has, particularly his lover. He's older than some too, in his forties. Hey, not everybody is a teenager or in their twenties, you know? Check out this beautiful cover by Reese Dante. Isn't it gorgeous? Max and I are damn lucky to have her.
There is a lot of me in Max - we share a number of things. Yet he is also himself. I love him dearly, flaws and all. Who's perfect, after all? No one. So I didn't try to create the perfect hero, just a human one. Well, other than the werewolf thing.
For Love of Max is available at Silver Publishing. I'd love to hear what you think of Max, or the premise of the series, or anything else! Like I said, I'll try to get Max to say a few words, maybe Thursday, since I'm guest blogging elsewhere. I might turn this blog over to him. And for those who are wondering, yes, there will be another book, because I love writing about Max. I hope people love reading about him.
Max says we should have a contest and give a copy away. What do you think? Is anyone up for that? Let me know!