Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Maxwell F Hurley - Author Interview


Maxwell F Hurley

LiT, Part I: The Dark Ignites
LiT, Part II: Falling Lite
LiT, Part III: Pure Heart

Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

It’s amazing how long it has taken me to start this question. You think as a published author I could easily write about myself since I’ve known me all my life. I am fortunate to have a marvelous family consisting of my wonderful wife and our son. I never thought I would have that, considering my origins. Without sounding like a cliché, but it’s the actual truth that I come from a small town where hunting, fishing, and drinking seemed to be a prominent pastime. I wasn’t the most popular kid in school, but I wasn’t ridiculed on a daily basis.
My mom was a single mother of three. My siblings and I all had separate fathers, which made it quite confusing and rough while growing up. She was a strong woman when it came to her determinations, but they always weren’t congruent with the norms of a small town up north. A prominent positive male influence in my life was something that I will never know. I have seen the effects of domestic violence and feeling abandoned, to be pushed to the side, even when you silently begged for someone to take you under their wing. I was never allowed to join the typical school sport activities, even though I wanted to. Since mom was very liberal, government-defiant, and extremely anti-social, her views prevented us kids from experiencing what most kids take for granted. I never knew what I was capable of or had the confidence to try, that was until the next major step in my life.

Growing up in that antigovernmental household, naturally, I joined the military after high school. I joined the United States Air Force in the year of 1996. During my career in the Air Force, I was an Air Force Security Forces for the first four years of my career; then, I became a paper pusher for the rest. I served in multiple locations across the world, and those experiences I took and placed in my writing. The effects of alcohol on people who have issues with it, (mainly myself). I have seen the ugliness that people hold, but the good people have to offer regardless of their race, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or upbringing. I have been fortunate to meet some great people who I will always cherish knowing, but others I really wish I could forget. Regardless, all my experiences have made me who I am today and the ability to explain it in my writing.

What inspired you to author this book?


I’ve always loved storylines with characters who have strong personality traits that are different from each other but still get along; for example, the characters of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, any superhero story. So, one day, I stepped outside my office building to go to the post office. Across the street is a massive Catholic church, with the rectory right next to it. Really, what happened was a snowball effect. My thoughts first started to think of a person who would stay at the church, who would be the most unlikely person. My brain obviously went to a demon or gargoyle creature protecting the church, but why, and eventually it would be seen, etc. So, then it just morphed into who would be one of the last people who would want to live in a church. I came up with a young, attractive girl, who was confident, dressed in Goth attire, and listened to hard and loud music. Hence, the protagonist was born. This character and setting just stuck in my head. On my way to work, I thought about why she would stay there, what her life would be like, and why would the church allow it. Then it came into different scenes she would get herself into. Then one day, I wrote one of the scenes down, then another, and another. Then, for no particular reason, I started writing and didn’t stop. I really wish I could tell you that it was an emotional, life altering, epiphany, but it was just that I wanted to produce a good story. It just started to flow, and kept on going. My wife said it was a stress outlet for me, I guess she was right in some ways. I can read this book series and see my influences in my life in certain characters.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?


Once I wrote the book and decided to publish it, the cover was easy for me to visualize. The biggest problem was finding someone to do it. I tried local companies, but they were charging an arm and a leg. Then someone told me to go to, and I found a designer. She does all my work for the artwork for my Facebook page, covers, and posters for the book. I give her a detailed explanation of what I would like, and it goes from there.

I wanted book covers that stood out, almost movie poster level. I was looking for the reaction of, “What’s her story?” Then, when they read the book, I do expect them to go, “Wow, I wasn't expecting that,” but in a good way. The cover represents the growth of her throughout the books. In the first because, she goes in facing the unknown. The second one shows she is confronting the Dark. The third book has her walking confidently in her endeavors.

Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?



Everybody with who I come into contact has a significant influence on me. I like to mentally document certain traits, quirks, mannerisms, and especially the strengths of their personality. Someone would say something or I’ll witness a situation that I would jot down in a notebook I keep in my truck. I try to keep it real, as much as a fantasy novel allows it, and my biggest thing, I wanted to write about flawed characters that make mistakes. Some of them, quite drastic with consequences to match.

There is no single person that I can think of that I would want to “Look up” to because of the fear of being let down. I can’t stand it when you look to people who you think you know and then you are just let down. The saying “Never meet your heroes” is so true, even if you already know who they are. I like to live in my own little fantasy about people I respect; I don’t want to know the truth.

As a writer, there is not one I can think of that I try to use as a model. I think I’m at an advantage that way because I just want to do my own thing. However, there are people who I respect their opinion about the direction of the story. There is a teacher in my hometown that I bounce ideas off of. He’s close to my age, so he was never my teacher, but he’s my primary person to go to about the direction I want to go. Initially, I had the story at a hard “R” rating, but after discussion he explained to me why I should tone it down to the story it is now. I am extremely proud of the product that was produced and there is room for so much more in this universe.


What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

I had many struggles getting this book out. The main obstacle was my own self doubt. I had the story completely written and sat on it for just under a year before I even told anyone I wrote it. The way my wife found out was when the copyright approval letter came into the mail. Then, I asked my sister to read it but she was building a house and didn’t have time….I know right, excuses. But then she suggested that I give it to her brother-in-law. I debated on it because even though it was a draft, it was still my baby. I didn’t want anyone to tell me that I was a fool to try doing something like this. I got a phone call saying that he really enjoyed it. He suggested cleaning it up a bit with the vulgarity and other stuff. Then with multiple and multiple rejections from publishers, a small publishing company out of the UK, Fiction4All, picked it up. Once I got over that obstacle, the big one is the marketing portion out there. The market is so flooded with many books and different authors, which in a way, is good. Authors really have to step up their game to give the consumer a genuine and fantastic story to dive into, but on the other hand, it’s hard to get readers to give you a chance.


Tell your readers about your book.

The story is about the constant battle between the Lite and Dark. They must have equal balance, and the Lite knows this. The Dark don’t care, they want to rule over humans in this life and after. Too much Lite will cause humans to lose their freewill, causing them to not gain access to Heaven, so the Lite sends the Conduit of the Lite to distribute the correct amount of Lite. But, the Dark has other plans, they send out Infiltrators, a mist that forms into a bear-like creature of evil. They have two purposes, kill for no reason or inhabit willing humans to become Demons. These Demons walk among us, both human and Dark, to try to enslave humanity.

To battle such a force, God asks a select few throughout the world to battle such creatures, these selfless warriors of the Lite are called “Lite Sentries.”


In a small town, Alexandria Johnson (Alex) is a popular, small, petite, girl who dresses in dark clothing with a hint of Goth to her. She is spunky, confident, mouthy, and quick to swing a fist but equally as fast as to forgive. She is approached by a strange man with a very large German Shepherd who acts as a messenger of what is asked of her. She has the choice to either deny it and go about her life, or accept the duty as a Lite Sentry.

She accepts the responsibility with open arms and then gets thrusted into a world of angels, demons, and others who are knowledgeable in this war. The Council of the Religions is a secret group of select clergy among all the religions of the world who monitor this fight. They support the Lite Sentries in their fight and help out where possible, but the majority of blood spilled is from those who choose to hunt the Infiltrators and Demons.

Now, Alex faces consistent dangers from pure and raw evil while trying to protect the ones she loves from harm; Some balances are easier to maintain than others.

Who is your target audience, and why?



I wanted to write a story that targeted a wide range for an audience. I still struggle to this day when I drop the book off at bookstores to place it on the shelves. Some bookstores have it in the Young Adult section while others have it the Fiction or Local Author section. I didn’t have the intent of a target audience, I just had an idea for a story that I wanted to put down. Not even getting it out in the public, like I said earlier, I finally took a shot. Now, I know I’m not JK Rowling, and no Stephan King. (I use those examples because their writing genres are a mixture of what this story is). Anyways, I know I’m not known, and I have realistic expectations. But I will say this, I carry a $100.00 bill in my wallet for the first person I see (in person) that I don’t know who has any of my books with them. I’ve had it with me for a while now, LOL.

What do you consider your greatest success in life?


Obviously, my own personal greatest success that I hold personally is being the best husband and father to my family. I thank God everyday for that, in a way, this book pays tribute to Him for that. Now, don’t get me wrong, it doesn't have the preaching tone of the Left Behind series, far from it. I get a bit nervous of openly saying what I’m proud of in fear that it will be taken. I don’t know if it is to teach me humility because I needed to be taken down a few pegs. I don’t like to keep in company with people who brag about themselves. I have a very bad habit of comparing myself to others. I constantly worry about how others view me and to this day, it can keep me up at night. Again, that is the main reason I used a pen name. I felt guilty because I kind of snapped at my brother last month because he told me he told a classmate of mine (who was very judgmental back then, but I’m sure he’s changed) that I wrote this series. That fear of failure and the judging of others (in my mind anyways) keeps me from stating any success I may think I have.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?



I would say the one thing that separates me from other authors in this genre is what my readers tell me about the story. The character development is fast, relatable, and the ability to fall into them. One reader told me it was nice because I didn’t spend three pages talking about the leaves on a tree. I tend to write fast-paced, with a touch of humor, and dealing with themes that young adults might encounter in life and that adults have witnessed. My goal was to make people as realistic as possible. The story is all about keeping the balance between the Lite and the Dark, but there are other balances that are in need of attention as well.