The Happy Melancholic

The Happy Melancholic

Some people die in my books.  That’s a fact.  The minute Larry Flynn gets onto the bus in the opening pages of my book whose title bears his name; you can almost smell it on him.  That’s not to give away anything, it’s just clear that he doesn’t have long to live.  If you want to know more, you will have to read it for yourself but death is all about him.  Add in the back story of Nazi Germany and modern day Dublin gangland and you can pretty much see there will be loss of life somewhere or other.

Bad Blood opens with a killing.  The plot centres on a man on death row and a series of killings, so no surprises that you will find some death along the way here.

Darkly Wood has death a plenty as the history of that wonderfully ghastly place is revealed through the book that Daisy May discovers.  Of course there is her own voyage of discovery, where danger lurks and death is always on her shoulder as the story progresses.

I am editing my latest book in preparation for its publishing date and yet again I find there is death about the place.  I write across genre and this tragic tale is all about a small boy growing up in Dublin.  I say growing up, but in truth it is more a story of survival as his life is filled with sadness and tragedy and not inconsiderable danger.

So am I macabre?  Do I have a fascination with mortality or is there something else?  Writers love to write this much is certain.  Some like to imagine they are perhaps more than the sum of their parts.  I am not so complicated.  When you read a Max Power book, what you are getting is way less than the sum of my parts.

I give bits of me away for sure.  I quite like using my own experiences to evoke an emotion for example.  Who can write about love that has not experienced it?  Fundamentally I draw on my rich history of reading.  When I was a small boy I discovered books and was an enthusiastic reader.  I used to go the library every day and quite literally, would read one book cover to cover in the space of 24 hours.  I devoured books and I read everything.  I read science books, Enid Blyton, Alfred Hitchcock, The Hardy Boys, I even recall reading Douglas Bader’s ‘Reach for the Sky’ when the book was bigger than my tiny little head.

I dipped my toe into books that were beyond me.  Bram Stoker’s Dracula was a nightmare when I was eight years old but I finished it without fully understanding half of what I read.  Of course I went back to it and I read it again, when I was old enough to understand words that I had only struggled to pronounce the first time around.

In the mix I discovered the beauty of variety.  I even secretly read some of my sister’s books, because I wanted to know if they were different somehow.  My curiosity knew no bounds and because of my early passion for reading, I always wanted to become a writer.

When I began to write, I knew without question what type of writer I wanted to be.  I wanted my readers to get what I get so I wrote books for me.   I wanted excitement, danger, mystery, uncertainty; I wanted to be a great story teller.  So I approach each story that I create in the same way.  I am surrounded by inspiration and doubt I will ever get writer’s block for I see a story in everything.

How I transform a word or a sentence into a book is much easier than you might think. I begin at the beginning.  I start with a simple central character.  Daisy is just a normal teenage girl in Darkly Wood.  Larry Flynn is a grumpy old man.  While James Delaney’s actions make him stand out a little more in bad Blood, he is really just a man like the rest of us, tired of a journey, hoping to find closure.  The central character in Little Big Boy above all is just an ordinary little boy.

Then my job is to make something happen to create the story.  My way is to inject a little fear, offer up some hope, take it away and conjure up tragedy.  You see, for me it is all about putting ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.   Darkly Wood is in many ways other worldly, yet I wanted it to be familiar at the same time.  My desire is to present the ordinary, to touch a reader’s heart with a sentence or word, to evoke a particular emotion that allows them to bond with a character through their own experience.   I like to offer up kindness and then snatch it away to shock or to frighten, only to give comfort.  Death much like love, both of which are abundant in my books, are just some of the devices I use to achieve my desired result.

There is no secret to what I do; you only have to read one of my books.  Someone recently asked an interesting question.  How and why do I write across such different genres?   My next book will be as different to Bad Blood as Larry Flynn was to Darkly Wood.  The answer to the question is really quite simple.

Writing to tell a story for myself is the key.  Like I said at the beginning, my influences were so varied that I have no preference for genre.  I just love a good tale.  Starting with the Character or event at the heart of my story, I allow myself to be led by the choices they make.   Importantly, it is always my voice that you hear in the telling, because I love to tell stories in my own peculiar way.

I am writing the sequel to Darkly Wood and all I can say, is that once again I have been surprised by the path this story has taken.  It is the perfect example of what happens to me in the writing process.   I am not trying to fit my story into box to please an anonymous reader.  I have become completely engrossed in the tale.  It is like I am reading a book written by someone else.  I know where the book should finish up for sure, but every page sends me down an untrodden path and I am dying to find out where it will lead me.

So the secret of where a Max Power book comes from?  I write as me and for me and I am contrary sod. I am the ultimate contradiction in life. I am a happy, melancholic.   Confused?  Don’t worry, all the answers are between the covers of my books, all you have to do is peek inside.

Little Big Boy by Max Power. Coming soon…

Max Power’s other books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn and Bad Blood, all available on amazon to download or in paperback.

You can find more details about Max Power’s other books here : –

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

2 thoughts on “The Happy Melancholic

  1. I’m sure we’re not alone in this, Max. I’ve commented on my own blog about wide and varied influences I’ve had, not just in writing, but also in film and TV. As readers and viewers we enjoy a variety of genres, so why shouldn’t we produce a similar variety when we write? This is the advantage we have as indies, because publishers want to pigeon-hole their authors.

    I haven’t read one of your books yet, but you are on the list and I’m looking forward to dipping my toe in those waters.


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