In a galaxy of cutthroat companies, shadowy clans and a million agendas, spy agency RIM barely wields enough control to keep order.
Maximus Black is RIM's star cadet. But he has a problem. One of RIM's best agents, Anneke Longshadow, knows there's a mole in the organisation.
And Maximus has a lot to hide -
Together with Michael Pryor, Paul is the co-editor of the highly successful fantasy series, The Quentaris Chronicles; he has also contributed seven titles to the series as an author. Paul Collins's other works include The Jelindel Chronicles, The Earthborn Wars trilogy and The World of Grrym trilogy written in collaboration with Danny Willis.
Paul has been the recipient of several awards, notably the inaugural Peter McNamara, the Aurealis, and the William Atheling. He has been short-listed for many others, including the Speech Pathology Australia and Ditmar awards. Paul has worked as a pub bouncer, served time in the commandos, has a black belt in both tae kwon do and ju jitsu, was a kickboxer, and trained with the Los Angeles Hell Drivers.
The Maximus Black Files - Mole Hunt
Ford Street Publishing
Author: Paul Collins
Question: Can you explain what The Maximus Black Files trilogy is about?
Paul Collins: In a galaxy of cutthroat companies, shadowy clans and a million agendas, spy agency RIM barely wields enough control to keep order. Maximus Black is RIM's star cadet. But he has a problem. One of RIM's best agents, Anneke Longshadow, knows there's a mole in the organisation.
And Maximus has a lot to hide.
So starts a rollercoaster of ups and downs for our anti-hero and heroine. To borrow a quote form Bookseller + Publisher: "it's a cross between The Girl With the Golden Tattoo, Dexter and Total Recall. Buzz Words said it's so fast-paced that it would give Matthew Reilly a nose bleed."
It's part thriller, space opera, humour, dystopian fiction. Maximus needs an armada of dreadnoughts long since put into mothballs somewhere in the universe. There are three sets of "lost" coordinates pointing to its resting place. Maximus fights all and sundry, even mighty cartels in his efforts to get the armada to realise his dream of ruling the universe.
Question: Why did you decide to write a trilogy aimed at boys 12 years and older?
Paul Collins: Most authors have a niche area in which they write. This middle ground - 12-year-olds plus, seems to be mine. As a kid I didn't read books - I read The Hulk, Captain America, Daredevil, etc, and I suspect their action and filmic qualities have influenced my writing. Although Mole Hunt has a strong male lead, it has an equally strong kick-ass female in Anneke Longshadow. It's had three excellent reviews so far - all by female reviewers, who have commented on Anneke.
Question: What do you enjoy most about writing trilogies?
Paul Collins: The best part is the author can tell a much longer story. With three lost coordinates, I can obviously cover one set with each of three books in the trilogy. If The Maximus Black Files were one book, it would be rather daunting for a 12-year-old - a massive 200,000 words. Some kids would gladly pick up such a book, but they would be the superlative readers. As reviewers have said, this is a fast-paced novel. I'm not sure that level of hi-octane action would sustain a single "door stopper" book
Question: Have you used your tae kwon do and ju jitsu training in the current series?
Paul Collins: Most definitely. I often use my knowledge of martial arts in my action series. I've written quite a few: The Jelindel Chronicles, The Quentaris Chronicles, The World of Grrym, The Earthborn Wars. You'll find action sequences in every one of them. People who teach writing often say write what you know about - there are a lot of weight behind this statement.
Question: What books did you read growing up?
Paul Collins: As mentioned, I only read comics when I was a kid. In fact, there wasn't a book in our house, if you discount an old Erle Stanley Gardner mystery novel that would pop up sometimes. None of my family read books, and still don't, apart from me. It makes my blood boil to see teacher librarians taken out of schools these days, because they're the ones who would be encouraging kids to read. But these days I love reading - when I get the time! - Ioin Colfer's Artemis Fowl and Philip Reeves' Mortal Engines series.
Interview by Brooke Hunter