This interview appeared originally at Specifically, here:   ~Prof. Jenn


The good folks over at Imagined Interprises connected with me recently, and I had the opportunity to interview one of their authors, Maxwell Alexander Drake. He’s another author that specializes in action scenes and instructing others in the composition thereof. Please to enjoy this interview, and stay tuned on facebook for a promo of his work! ~Jenn


5 Questions: Maxwell Alexander Drake

by: Jenn Zuko Boughn

1) What’s the one essential factor for writers to keep in mind when writing action sequences?

The number one thing a writer needs to keep in mind when writing action is that, well… it is ACTION. So, the words the writer chooses to use, the sentence structure, etc. all plays into how the scene will read. There is more detail in my  on my website, but here are the big issues to keep in mind.

1-Use strong verbs. Sally’s fist struck John in the face vs. Sally’s fist smashed John in the face. Smashed is a much stronger verb than struck.

2-Write in an action, reaction manner.

3-Do not write with passive voice.

4-Short sentences read faster, therefore feel faster.

2) What got you into Western Martial Arts? Why WMA and not Asian martial arts?

I like both Western and Asian martial art styles. However, for me I have always been more attracted to the western style of fighting than the Asian. Not because of the actual fighting style, but the culture that each of these has created. What can I say, I like Castles and Knights. There is just something more visceral with the western style. More primal. I am not saying the Asian fighting style is all prim and proper. When two people face off to kill each other, rarely do they do it with kindness. Perhaps it is also that my ancestry is Western Europe. Though I think it has more to do with Dungeons & Dragons than anything else.

3) What’s your favorite weapon / style in WMA?

I like the long sword; a blade that is versatile on the attack in both thrust and swing, and is good on defense. Plus, with the heavier blade, you can really put some weight behind it and cleave off extremities. A great way to end a fight.

4) Cthulhu, Zombies, Western? Wow. Please explain that combination! 🙂

Dead Ned is a story that is a long time in the making. It saw many different variations and themes before it became what it is today. Basically, it started out as a challenge. Someone asked me if I could write a story where the protagonist (the hero) was evil. And not in a Despicable Me kind of way that is actually loveable, but a truly vile person. After giving it some thought, I found that the only way to accomplish this would be to make the antagonist an even bigger threat. Then, it was figure out why an evil protagonist would take up the cause to kill the even more evil antagonist, throw in a few gods from other planes of existence, the occasional undead for good measure, and you have a story.

Unfortunately, due to health reasons with the artist, this project is on temporary hold. We are planning on getting back into it by year’s end and hopefully having the first graphic novel out by Comic-con 2013.

5) What action scenes in literature are the best/most inspiring to you? Is there anyone you still try to emulate in your own work?

I am a fan. The quintessential “fan boy” as it were. I love this industry with the unabashed wonder of a three-year-old child. So, basically, everything inspires me. I will walk away with ideas from even the most horrible of movies/books/comics. There is so much to see and experience, it is almost overwhelming.

As to emulating, I am not sure I have ever “tried” to emulate anyone. I do, there is no doubt about that. But it is purely subconscious. Robert Jordan was one of my favorite authors growing up. And my narrative voice is similar to his. Though, while he was heavy on description, I write mostly action and dialogue. It is also why so many equate me to Brandon Sanderson. I had never read Brandon until I was published, so he had no influence on me. However, Jordan was an influence on him, so we have walked similar paths.

However, I think my violence is unlike most. Some say it is closer to George R.R. Martin, though I disagree. I think my violence is a bit more visceral than his. More brutal. More emotional.


A Short bio of Maxwell Alexander Drake

Maxwell Alexander Drake, or Drake as he prefers to be called, is an award-winning Science Fiction/Fantasy author and Graphic Novelist. Drake teaches creative writing around the country as well as for the library district in Las Vegas, NV. Find out more about him at his website,