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Adam Maxwell

Website: AdamMaxwell.com

Adam Maxwell was born in 1976 and has written for a plethora of publications, including Dave Eggers' McSweeney's, and Tonto Short Stories. He has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from Northumbria University, and lives in the wilds of Northumberland. This is his first book.

Short story collections

Dial M for Monkey (Tonto Press, 2006) 

Reviewed by Sara Crowley

Interview with Adam Maxwell

The Short Review: How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?

Adam Maxwell: I think overall it took around two years to write. Although more recently I think I write a lot quicker.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?

AM: Not really. As you can probably tell from my writing style there is a certain randomness at work. I know some authors who feel that they need to have an overall theme but I am more inclined towards writing a good story whatever the subject then moving on to the next.

TSR: How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

AM: Making a short story collection is very much like making a compilation tape so the stories and the order changed a number of times before settling on the final version. And then of course it changed again when the publishers got their hands on it!

TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?

AM:  I think I've spent so long staring at the page, writing and rewriting it depends on the time of day and the stage whatever I'm writing is at. It means plot, character, ideas, language, point of view... Having said that I think more than anything else I think that it means conflict. The one thing that always makes me stop reading a story is when there is no conflict.

TSR: Do you have a "reader" in mind when you write stories?

AM: I try not to but it creeps in there. It tends to be my wife and my friends. After a while you sort of identify your ideal reader and if you are honest you are your own ideal reader.

TSR: Is there anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?

AM: Will you go to my website and subscribe to my stories by email? Or the podcast? And would you buy the next one when it comes out please? Did I mention I have a website? Hang on that's four questions - perhaps I can rephrase it into one, long, multi-clause question. Come back when I've done the second draft of that one.

TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?

AM: It's weird. But brilliant. And then you look at the stories in there and think "oh no - they're nowhere near as the stuff I wrote last week" and get worried that people won't like your stuff as a result. Overall it has been a great experience and I think there's nothing better than when someone gets in touch to tell you how much they liked a particular story.

TSR: What are you working on now?

AM: I'm working on something a bit special for the new year with a designer friend of mine. It's called 5 Tales of Marvel, Mystery, Murder and Meerkats and it is going to be an illustrated and hand-bound chapbook type thing. We have been looking at producing something that was artistic and collectable, beautifully printed and hand finished as a kind of counterpoint to the website and online things I have been doing. And of course I keep myself busy in the meantime with monthly stories on the website and monthly podcasts there too.

TSR: What are the three most recent short story collections you've read?

AM: - One Hundred and Forty Five Stories in a Small Box by Deb Olin Unferth, Sarah Manguso and Dave Eggers ; Very Good, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse; Revenge of the Lawn by Richard Brautigan