Max Elliot Anderson

Why I Started Writing:

I grew up as a struggling, reluctant reader. My dad was the author of over seventy books, and I never read them. As an adult, I wanted to find out why.  9/11 changed everything for me. My life’s work up until then had always surrounded the production of dramatic films, television programs, videos, and commercials. After 9/11, many of my clients stopped calling as their businesses failed, were bought out, or they moved away.

A period of research showed me why I hadn’t enjoyed reading for most of my life, and why I was more of a visual person. That’s when I began writing the kinds of books I would have enjoyed as a child. Now kids tell me reading one of those books is like being in an exciting or scary movie – good scary, not dark.

My research into reluctant reading led me to take a look at hundreds of books that had been written for children. I noticed that there were plenty of choices for girls but few for boys. Further, I noticed that many of the boy’s books tended to be on the dark side. I remembered in the past that there had been several book series, many of them Christian, but I didn’t see much of that today. I wanted to stay away from the more adult themes that are prevalent in teen books and to focus on that age group between “little” kids and the more mature teens. The age has been called tweeners or middle-grade. I also learned that by the age of fourteen, young people have made most of their life’s important spiritual and moral choices. After that, they pretty much are who they are going to be as adults. Armed with that picture in my mind, I began writing books that addressed these issues. One or two of my books are evangelistic, but as even secular reviewers have written, “Not in a preachy way.” Other themes deal with a number of moral, spiritual, character, and ethical issues in a way that kids understand. My hope was to create a set of books that would plant these concepts in young minds today, so those principles would be there in their adult lives.

Many of my middle-grade books are compared by readers and reviewers to Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, and adventure author Jack London.

Authors Who Have Influenced Me:

This area tends to be a bit tricky for me. Since I grew up hating to read, I don’t have a deep well of authors to draw from. My father published many books during his lifetime, and when I started out writing, he helped by critiquing my early work.

Bill Myers is a long-time friend as well as Jerry Jenkins. Their work and career paths have been helpful. But it was through my many years of work in film, video, and television production that I probably gained the most value and influence. Here I was exposed to all sorts of writing styles. And these experiences have had the greatest influences.

Through audiovisual productions, I learned the elements of dialog, different characters, scene, setting, pacing, comedy, story, and more.

Books I Have Written:

The Sense of Humor is a project I’ve been working on for several years. It looks at the benefits of humor for our mind and body, but it also offers hundreds of the funniest jokes and stories gathered from many sources. Elk Lake is the publisher on this title.

Midwest Review recently wrote of this book,
Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, The Sense Of Humor: Let Humor Fast Track You to Healthier, Happier Living is one of those life-changing reads that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone, content and commentary, "The Sense Of Humor" is very highly recommended for community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections and personal libraries.

Tracy’s Choices is contracted by Elk Lake Publishing and is intended for teens and young adults. Its focus takes a close look at the negative effects of drugs, alcohol, and promiscuous sex. Tracy was the first person in the state of Illinois to be convicted and sent to prison for the knowing attempt to transmit HIV/AIDS.

Elk Lake Publishing has two of my middle-grade series for kids. They are The Sam Cooper Adventure Series and The Accidental Adventures of Kurt Benson and his friends Riley and Jordan.

In addition, I have several stand-alone titles not related to any series. These include:

  • Newspaper Caper
  • Terror At Wolf Lake
  • North Woods Poachers
  • Barney and the Runaway
  • When the Lights Go Out
  • Legend of the White Wolf
  • The Scarecrow

Another six books have been contracted with an education publisher and the companion teacher materials are completed. Those titles are:

  • Third House on the Left
  • Forest of Fear
  • Midnight Shadows
  • Rail Yard Bandits
  • The Secret Tunnel
  • The House Next Door

What I'm Working On Now:

When I began writing in 2001, I had no publisher, contract, or agent. Over the span of the next three years, thirty-six adventure and mystery manuscripts for kids were completed. Since then, much of my time has been devoted to refining those manuscripts and finding homes for them. So what I’m working on now consists primarily of marketing, publicity, and promotion for the published titles along with moving unpublished work into the published column. There are many more middle-grade adventures and mysteries I’d love to write. Hopefully, I can get started on those before too long. 

Max Elliot Anderson

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