I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

I feel as if I've done my job

Pat Esden on her live journal has provided one of my favorite quotes about Bitterwood yet, and she hasn't even read the book! She attended my reading at Readercon and writes on her blog: James Maxey read the beginning of his novel “Bitterwood”. It was great and convinced me to move the novel higher up in my stack of summer reading—and gave me a craving for barbequed dragon tongue.

Really, that's pretty much what I consider the key to engaging writing... leaving the readers with cravings. It's been twenty years since I read Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Aiule (I'm sure I just misspelled her name). Yet, I can still recall vividly her descriptions of the food the cave men gathered, all the fresh green sprouts and pungent roots and giant fish. I remember going to a salad bar and loading up on bean sprouts and bamboo shoots and thinking, "a caveman would enjoy this salad." (Though I'm not sure they had ranch dressing.)

I said in my recent Solaris interview that my first goal as a writer was to entertain the reader. I also said I tried to make my writing thought-provoking. I left out my other important goal--make the reader hungry. A useful goal to remind myself of now, since I'm well underway with my next novel for Solaris. I've finished four chapters and am almost 17,000 words into the project. I'm leaving on vacation this week, and hope to get through at least two more chapters, perhaps even a third. I'm guessing there will be a feast in there somewhere.


pastcontinuous said...

Hi James,

You certainly have!Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your novels. I read NOBODY GETS THE GIRL, enjoyed it so much I Amazoned your name and BITTERWOOD popped up. I finished it today. An improvement over your first book in its structure, exploration of ideas and (especially) its female characters. I had a real sense of Jandra's teenage stubborness change into a broader emotional empathy that comes with maturity. NOBODY is like a roman candle, shooting out one brilliant idea after another, too many for the story to follow. It's still one of the best super-hero novels I've read (not that I've read that many). I like the lightness of your touch. You have a good way with dialogue, especially in tense situations, and your action sequences are excellent. BITTERWOOD is the best sci-fi/fantasy novel I've read since Iain M. Banks THE ALGERBRAIST. I eagerly await your next book.

James Maxey said...

Well, yowza, Pastcontinuous. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed Nobody. I'm hoping that the superhero novels like SOON I WILL BE INVINCIBLE and FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF DOCTOR BRAIN may make the market favorable for me to publish another superhero novel one day. For now, I hope you'll have as much fun reading my dragon novels as I'm having writing them.

If you like to see more emphasis on female characters, I think you will enjoy the Bitterwood follow up I'm working on. Jandra and Zeeky will be back, and we'll also be introduced to several female dragons who will be vital actors in the story. More details will follow soon.