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Author Interview With Max Allan Collins

Author Interview With Max Allan Collins

Book Name: Max Allan Collins Collection Vol. Two: John Sand


What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write this book?

  • MAX: My co-author, Matthew Clemens, and I are both fans of James Bond, in particular the Ian Fleming novels and the Sean Connery films. Many years ago we had the opportunity to create a series and I got the idea of doing the “real” spy who James Bond had been based on – it was a fun way to play in the Fleming sandbox with tongue slightly in cheek. Not long ago we were approached by Wolfpack and jumped at the chance to return to that concept. We did a trilogy and hoped one day to do one more.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of your book, what would they be?

  • MAX: John Sand’s would be “Thunderball” and his wife Stacy would be “Nobody Does It Better.”

What books are on your to-be-read pile right now?

  • MAX: Mostly non-fiction. I do a lot of historical fiction and that requires research that eats up my reading time. At bedtime, I do like to read vintage material that is, frankly, a little encourage sleepiness. Mysteries from the thirties for example.

What scene from your series was your favorite to write?

  • MAX: The action climax of each was probably my favorite. But, really, I don’t look at it that way – I’m a professional storyteller and have been for fifty years. I do get caught up in the telling while the writing itself is cooking, but other than that I keep my distance. Try to maintain some objectivity.

Do you have any quirky writing habits?

  • MAX: I would say not. I am fairly methodical. I need silence, no music, no phone calls, no interruptions. Not sure that’s quirky, just a need for focus, to be immersed in the work.

Can you describe your writing process?

  • MAX: I work from a synopsis but allow myself plenty of room to surprise myself. I write in a linear fashion, one chapter at a time, not moving on till that chapter is finished.

What’s next for you?

  • MAX: I am in the middle of a pirate short story I’m collaborating on with Matt Clemens.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

  • MAX: I don’t know if I live by it, but I love the line in the film and play Harvey: "In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.”

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

  • MAX: “That was fun. Let me read some more by these guys.”

Where did you get your inspiration for your amazing characters?

  • MAX: In the case of John Sand, the Fleming influence is obvious. But I tend to base characters on people I know or have encountered. Writing characters suggested by characters in other people’s books or on TV or from movies is a poor choice, generally. Of course, John Sand is an exception, because he has that fun aspect of having something famous, an exaggeration of himself, out there that he must live up to...or avoid.

An author or authors who inspire you and you look up to?

  • MAX: Mickey Spillane, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, Ian Fleming, Rex Stout, Agatha Christie, Erle Stanley Gardner, William March, Samuel Shellabarger, Chester Himes, Horace McCoy, Jim Thompson, Mark Harris...and many others.

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