James Bond, I believe, would undoubtedly be voted as one of the coolest cats in the history of fiction. A ladies man. A man’s man. All around best spy ever. Now shift your train of thought. X-Files. Arguably, one of the best shows of the 1990s. Huge cult following. Just one creepy episode after another. Okay. One more shift. The pulp heroes of yesteryear. Fighting the most notorious baddies ever known to man…and doing it with a smile. Now mix all those together and you start to get a picture of Nicholas Boving’s Maxim Gunn series.
There are several Maxim Gunn novels available, but we’ll focus today on the first two…Maxim Gunn and the Chaos Project and Maxim Gunn and the Demon Plan. In order to get a better feel for what thess books (and hero and series) is about, here’s a product description of the books from Amazon:
MAXIM GUNN AND THE CHAOS PROJECT
Maxim Gunn, agent extraordinary, takes on one last official mission before resigning from the Organization. Wanda Liszt, arch criminal: dark, beautiful and deadly, has found Sheba’s Necklace, the legendary rope of emeralds that bestows great powers on its possessor. Her plan: Chaos in Africa, after which she, as Great White Queen, will pick up the pieces and rule the greatest empire the world has ever seen. Gunn is ambushed by a Mongolian archer, fights a starving jaguar, wrestles a monstrous freak, and pits himself against an albino swordsman in his desperate efforts to thwart her. The explosive climax takes place in the Swiss Alps.
MAXIM GUNN AND THE DEMON PLAN:
Witchcraft in the twentieth century? Computer controlled demons? Maxim Gunn didn’t believe it either – until his old enemy Wanda Liszt, miraculously returns from the dead with another plan to control, the world. Ambushes, a booby trapped tomb, a demonic attack by the fiend Wanda controls keep Gunn on his toes, until, with a little help from the giant Swedish archaeologist, Torquil Tornquist, the crashing finale is reached.
Sound far fetched? ABSOLUTELY! But that’s the beauty of it all. Nicholas takes the classic spy hero and turns him up on his head. Anyone can have a spy fight ninjas or Russians or egomaniacal villains bent on world domination. But throwing in magical talismans, monsters, and aliens into the mix just breathes new life into the tired old genre. I’ll be honest…I haven’t read his books, but I can guarantee you that I will be downloading them to my Kindle this week! They just sound so cool to me and that’s why I wanted to share these books with you.
Recently, I had an opportunity to sit down and talk to Nicholas about Maxim Gunn, writing, and life in general. Here’s what he had to say:
1) Okay, Nick, tell us a bit about yourself.
After much wandering I now live in Toronto. I was formerly a mining engineer and travelled the world widely. Tiring of the mining industry (my unalterable conviction being that mining in 40 degrees (104 F) in the shade was a vastly overrated pastime) and wanting to experience more of the world firsthand, I also worked from time to time as a docker, fruit inspector and forester. My books and screenplays draw on these experiences to provide characters, backgrounds and scenes.
2) Reminds me a bit of Louis L’Amour during his “yondering” years. How did you come to write the Maxim Gunn stories?
One day back in 1980 when I was in Perth in Western Australia I decided to write a novel. It was a kind of James Bond spoof. It was a lousy novel and I still shudder when I look at it and one of these days I’m going to shred it.
3) But that gave you the idea for Maxim Gunn?
The Maxim Gunn stories are an ongoing, and hopefully never ending series of light-hearted action-adventures. Think James Bond or The Saint meets the X-Files.
When Maxim Gunn retired from the British Secret Service, those who knew him doubted his retirement would be peaceful. They were right. A man with his reputation wasn’t likely to be left alone. Gunn is the quiet stranger who rides into town and lands in the middle of a fire fight. He never asks for trouble. Trouble asks for him, by name. The stories are not a litany of mindless violence, not every scene is a hail of bullets and action. Maxim Gunn thinks and feels. He is a human being, not a mindless robot programmed with an itchy trigger finger. And, Maxim Gunn has a twist. Not always arch criminals, but a computer controlled demon, survivors from Atlantis, hostile aliens, and even vampires are all in a day’s work for this suave and elegant ex-agent. And the list goes on, Maxim Gunn is different.
4) What do you do when you’re not writing?
Plan more books, come up with ideas, pester agents, do a bit of promotion on Twitter and my blog – I tend to be lazy with these. I find writing is a 24/7 occupation; your brain never lets up. Other than that: a bit of gardening for my wife, the odd round of golf and a lot of reading.
5) What’s your greatest challenge as a writer?
Writing is easy, selling is hard. I never have writers block, and in fact don’t believe it exists. Selling what you write is the tough part.
6) Okay, now for every authors favorite question. Where do you get your ideas?
The screenwriter and director, Quentin Tarantino said, “I steal from every movie ever made.” I can also say I probably steal from every book I’ve ever read. There’s always something that catches your eye, something worth saying again in a different way. I think every writer does it, consciously or otherwise. How does an idea start? With me it’s often a line I’ve heard on TV, an article read, a line from a movie, and on one occasion I just wanted to write a book about a certain theme; the life of an environmental activist as told to his biographer who also ends up his lover. It’s from the woman’s point of view, which just goes to show that you don’t have to be gender stereotyped. Do a little experimenting; it really broadens your skills. Incidentally that’s the book which after a lot of writing finally got me an agent.
7) Do you do work from an outline, or just write whatever comes into your head?
My planning tends to be pretty short; just bits of action and dialogue and a general theme, and in no particular order. I always write a scene or chapter when it’s fresh in my mind. Be warned, you won’t remember it later, even if you write notes. There’s going to be something missing, and that missing piece could well be the enthusiasm you felt at that first moment. It’ll show.
8) What else have you written?
Thrillers, drama, a few children’s stories, screenplays, both original and adaptations of my books. I like to think that having more than one string to my bow makes me a better writer, and gives me a wider target. I can also switch gears if I get stuck or a bit bored with what I’m currently doing. I’ve also started another action/adventure series featuring a feisty young woman, Frances West.
9) What do you like most about being a writer?
It’s one of the most rewarding, and at the same time frustrating things you can do: rewarding in the same way that all art forms are rewarding, because you create; and frustrating because it is so uncertain. There’s no guaranteed paycheque at the end of the week: you rely entirely on the goodwill of the public who hopefully will buy your books, and on the dubious goodwill of publishers and editors if you can get them to buy your manuscripts; which in these days is about as likely as winning the lottery.
I just can’t think of anything quite as satisfying even if I’d never made a dime out of it. Turn on the TV, go to a movie, and you’re sitting watching someone else’s interpretation of a story. Pick up a book. Read a scene. Read a description of a person or place, and for every person who reads that passage, there will be a different interpretation. That is what is so wonderful about the written word: it stimulates the mind and encourages imagination.
So, is it worth it? Of course it is. There is nothing in this world as satisfying as creating something from nothing, of magicking characters and the world they live in out of thin air; of seeing your imagination coming to life, line by line and page by page until you type that final full stop and the words “The End” or “Fade to black”.
10) In your opinion, is there a right way to write?
I don’t believe there’s a right way to write. They are all right. The only thing that’s dead wrong is boring your reader. Not that it’ll ever get that far because long before that you’ll have bored the publisher’s reader, or an agent or whatever professional’s desk it landed on, and then you’ll get a neat little rejection slip.
So what’s next?I’ve just finished another Maxim Gunn adventure and have two more on the stocks. I’m also part way through another drama and a thriller/horror novel. See what I mean about more than one string?
If you’d like to learn more about Nicholas or purchase his books, take a look at his publisher’s website: http://www.tauruspub.net/. And remember his books are also available on Amazon.
And you can find his books also here at Smashwords! https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Nicholas