By Sean Tuohy
There seems to be no genre that can contain author Maxim Jakubowski. From hardboiled fiction to sci-fi, Jakubowski is a hardworking and skilled writer. Jakubowski’s anthologies are highly praised, and his Mammoth Book of Pulp Fiction was the gateway novel that led me into hardboiled detective fiction.
I got a chance to chat with Jakubowski about his love of writing and what advice he gives to first-time writers.
Sean Tuohy: What authors did you worship growing up?
Maxim Jakubowski: I can't say I worshipped authors. Some I enjoyed more than others and made it a rule to read more of if I liked them. My first big literary “crush” was Jules Verne if only because of his sense of wonder and originality, which probably led to me beginning to write science fiction and fantasy in my teens and beyond.
ST: What attracted you to crime fiction?
MJ: I've always been a lover of popular/genre fiction alongside what may be termed as “mainstream” literature, again because genre must appeal first and foremost to the imagination rather than the senses, and often the fantastic is of more appeal than tales of kitchen sink or social mores. But these days they all coexist happily in my reading menu and my choices are pretty idiosyncratic.
ST: What is your writing process: outline then begin writing or just vomit on the page and see what happens?
MJ: Short stories just come out of the blue and are often improvised. Novels less so, and have to be briefly outlined but not over-prepared to the extent that writing becomes boring. The longest and most difficult period is the actual gestation when no writing is being done and it all whirlpools in my mind until I have a fix on the story, the characters and some form of structure, at which point I will actually get to work. On some books that can take years, with others less so. Also, for the past decade all my novels have sold to publishers on outline long before a word was set down on paper, so it became a financial obligation to work that way.
ST: What does the future hold for Maxim Jakubowski?
MJ: Just to keep on writing what I want to write, regardless of market or genre demands. The next two books are a long psychological thriller with several major twists under my principal pen name, which I'd reserved hitherto for my erotica as that market has now collapsed, but I have a “brand” so it makes sense shifting that author name to a neighboring genre, and, the first novel under my own name in four years, a post-apocalyptic thriller that begins as a standard private eye yarn and turns into something rather curious and supernatural as it goes along.
ST: What advice do you give to aspiring writers?
MJ: Don't talk about it, just write it. Read. Live.
ST: Can you tell us one random fact about yourself?
MJ: I once survived a whole weekend on a kilo of potatoes.
To learn more about Maxim Jakubowski, visit his official website.