Interview with Jon Thomason


Hi Jon! Its great to have you here today, as part of your book tour. Congratulations on the release!

Can you tell us a little about your latest book.

I'd love to, thank you! Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud is a fantasy action adventure novel starring a thirteen-year-old girl named Max (she hates Maxine) Xylander. Like many thirteen-year-old girls, she has a touch of an anger management problem. One day, she gets really angry at kid at school, and shockingly, her anger erupts in a physical way and nearly kills him. Meanwhile, our hero, or anti-hero, depending on your perspective, Philip, gets his ring returned after a conviction and some years spent magical powerless. Now he's back and ready to make life much more comfortable. Escaping work is what magic should be for, right?

What inspired you to write it?
I am a vivid daydreamer. I have loved to read from quite a young age and always imagined what it would be like to be able to do magic--really do the magic. What would it feel like to make something across the room move? Or what would it be like to play a trick on an unsuspecting classmate? While I love creatively constructed worlds, I'm generally more interested in things happening just next door. The idea of intrigue and conspiracy and hidden things fascinate me. Might there be a shadowy group pulling the strings somewhere? Powerful people behind the scenes? And then one of our children had a form of leukemia as a child, and the powerlessness of this gave way to the idea of good from evil, and of being transformed. I'm also well acquainted with anger management issues of the teen female, and contrite, bland dialogue, just doesn't work. Throw in some cynical sarcasm from our villain, and the story just poured out.

Is it part of a series?
It is part of a planned trilogy. I'm working on the second book now.

If your latest book was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
Photo: juliooliveiraa via photopin cc
Photo: by Janine via photopin cc
Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series) would make an excellent Philip. Elle Fanning (though she'd have to go brunette!), Niamh Wilson, or of course, my daughter, the budding actress who is the model for Max on the book cover, would all make a spectacular Max.

What made you want to become an author?
From a very (very!) young age, I have wanted to write a novel. While I write often technically, I don't consider myself a writer, but rather a novelist. The only kind of writing I'm really interested in as an art form is the novel because I love the notion of a self-contained story. I always wanted to be a writer, an engineer, and a fighter pilot. Two of the three came true!

Name one of your all-time favourite book covers?
This is really difficult. One that is definitely a standout favorite is the book cover for The Godfather. It was so good that it was carried into the artwork for the film, and I suspect most people would recognize it. I hesitate to mention it, but I believe the cover for Twilight with the intertwined fingers holding the deeply red apple, which I'm sure many people recognize quickly on sight, had a lot to do with Stephanie Meyer's success with the novel. I think cover art is wildly important to the success of the novel and I'm always looking for feedback on the cover of Max!

Name one book that made you think 'wow'? Why did it have such an effect on you?
Oh my, so many books make me think, 'wow,' starting many years ago. I remember reading Farenheit 451 and 1984 as a child and the kind of impact they had on me then. I remember reading John Christopher's The Tripods series (The White Mountains, and following), one of the earliest dystopian children's series and of thinking about mind control and oppression. But recently, many books have made me go, 'wow.' One of note was Karl Marlante's visceral (and quite graphic) novel of the Vietnam War called Matterhorn, where the young Marine officer is stuck between ridiculously incompetent staff officers and his platoon of jaded Marines. The treatment of race and of the insanity of war--but being able to plausibly see how it becomes so insane, really made me say, 'wow.' I also am 'wow'ed by Hugh Howey and his Wool series, a masterpiece of a fantastic concepts and skillfully leading the reader through a maze by revealing tiny, but scrumptious literary bits of cheese just ahead of us.

Who, or what, inspires you?
My wife inspires me and helps make sure I actually finish what I start and my kids give me all the material I could ever need!

Where is your favourite place to write?
While I love sitting at my workstation and huge monitor, the very best place to write is at 36,000 feet in international business class with no in-flight Internet service. A comfortable seat, people bringing you food, dark lighting, and nothing to distract you equals some of the most productive writing time around!

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Honestly, there are very few of these. I don't know why the medium of a novel is so difficult to make an excellent film out of! The Harry Potter series are probably some of the best made movies from books. Unbelievable casting, effects, sets, and direction.

Who is your favourite author (s) and why?
This is just plain impossible to answer! I love so many different authors, and it depends so much on my mood and genre. As a pure, mass-market novelists, as in guilty pleasure reading, I probably have to go with Lee Childs and his Jack Reacher series. I read those the day they come out (17 novels and counting!). He's a master of the story arc and his characters are suitably interesting. For more intellectual fare, Tom Wolfe is tough to beat. His prose and stories are so rich and thought-provoking. For comedy, the Australian Max Berry is about my favorite. Jennifer Government had me laughing the entire time.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
Isaac Asmiov would surely have to be there, the great, prolific, erudite. The three authors just mentioned, Lee Childs, Tom Wolfe, and Max Berry, would make an interesting combination. Throw in Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, and of course, Agatha Christie, and maybe to liven things up, Jack Kerouac. Now that would be an interesting dinner.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
Over time, I've owned four different body styles of the same make and model car. How's that for random?

Tell us something interesting about the area where you live.
People in LA think San Diego is "provincial" and "boring" (once I was asked how I could stand living here by someone from LA!). Fortunately, we in San Diego think this is just fine and are happy they stay to the north. We love our beaches, our crystal clear air, and our (very!) friendly people. Something interesting about San Diego? In reality, it *is* kind of a boring place. Almost always warm and sunny (but not too warm), no bugs to speak of, and no significant natural disasters to worry about. We like boring! We do have a really cute newborn Panda at the zoo named Xiao Liwu...

Oh how adorable, Jon. I think San Diego sounds wonderful, to be honest! Thanks for allowing me to be a part of your tour and I look forward to reading your book!

To be in with a chance to win a $50 Amazon voucher or Paypal cash, as well as a copy of Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud, fill in the Rafflecopter at the end of the page. In the meantime, find out more about Jon and his books, here:


Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud

Max has anger management issues. But she has a secret, too. She can make things happen. Like magic. She almost killed a loser skate punk and nearly used it on her stuck up older sister. The question is, can she do anything other than blow things up? Can she learn to control it? And is it really possible that an obscure teenage girl is the key to keeping all of humanity safe?

Philip just got his ring back. He got it taken away for messing with his teacher’s mind so he can cheat on a test. Now that he has his ring, he thinks he should be able to use his power to make his life better. A lot better. The problem is that people want him to be responsible. But if you could do magic, wouldn’t you use it to escape work in any way possible?

Aaron wants to be a soldier. He knows there are lots of people who would try to take over, and he’s determined to stop them. The problem is that there’s this new girl. And she might be not be on the right side of things. She’s really talented and pretty, but she might be able to destroy everything he believes in. Whatever the case, he knows he needs to learn to be world class with the magic sword while he figures out what to do.

Brynn never gets out. Her grandfather won’t permit it. Her only access to the outside world are high fashion magazines, so she has an unusual idea what she should wear. She’s dying to get out and travel. And adopt animals. Any kind of animal. Is she a lonely future granny with cats or are her ridiculous clothes actually the next fashion craze? What possible role could she play in the destiny of the world?

Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud is a fast-paced fantasy adventure for all ages (10 and up) and is the first of a planned trilogy. Fans of magic, swordplay, secret agents, and conspiracies set in a modern everyday world will not be able to put the book down. Jon Thomason is a debut author and paints a vivid world of magic right under our noses and delivers rapid-fire action that keeps the pages turning.

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