INTERVIEW WITH ALLISON BRENNAN

 

Abandoned by Allison Brennan takes the Maxine (Max) Revere stories to a whole new level. She is able to create a suspenseful and exciting plot centered around this fascinating character’s background. In this latest she explores why her mother deserted her shortly before her tenth birthday.

The disappearance of her mother, Martha, has haunted Max for years. It has been seven years since she last heard from her and this has left her in a state of limbo. Getting information from another investigator, Sean Rogan, Max feels this clue, a discarded car found in Cape Haven, Virginia sixteen years ago, might provide answers. Knowing Martha left her to be raised by her grandparents, choosing to be with her con artist boyfriend, Jimmy, Max begins to unravel the pieces. She finds out Martha had been living off her trust-fund money and resorting to scams, irresponsibly traveling all over the world having fun. But did the twosome get more than they could handle after becoming involved with art thief Phillip Colter. Max also must contend with the locals who are less than forthright about answering her questions. This includes Jimmy’s brother Gabriel and his sixteen-year-old daughter Eve. Through her research she discovers the FBI has an open investigation into Jimmy about stolen artwork. Knowing she needs help, Max decides to team up with FBI Agent Ryan Maguire. Their quests for answers, sets in motion a chain of events that puts Max and several townspeople in grave danger. As Max sorts through all the secrets and betrayals her world turns upside down.

Brennan does not disappoint in this latest Max novel. Once readers turn the first page they will be hooked. The story is as powerful and electrifying as Max’s personality.

Elise Cooper: Why Max’s backstory now?

Allison Brennan: I just figured out Max’s backstory about her mom. When I was finishing off Shattered, the book pairing her with my other character Lucy, it just kind of clicked. Sean found Max’s mother’s car that she had bought under a different name. I started thinking why did she disappear in the Chesapeake Bay area? Then I figured it out, which was actually fun for me. It all seemed to fall together.

EC: Does Max seek closure?

AB: Deep down she was afraid of what she would find out about her mother, which is why before this she did not seriously look for her. Deep down she still feels like a nine-year-old child. Even though she always sought the truth about everything, she blocked this out. She realized if she did not pursue why her mother abandoned her, the fear would win.

EC: Why the Louis L’ Amour book references?

AB: I read a couple of books by him. He was a famous writer of westerns. My grandfather actually had the entire collection. He just loved those books. After he died my grandmother gave them to me, something I put into Max’s story. When my husband saw them on the bookshelf he read them also.

EC: Do you ever incorporate your own personal stuff with the character?

AB: People always say write what you know. But taking it literally, I do not think it applies to me as a fiction writer since I have never been a cop, an investigative reporter, a bad guy, or committed a felony. Maybe it applies to the minor details in the story that sometimes evolve around my personal experiences. For example, the Louis L’ Amour books. When I write my observations of people come out in the story.

EC: Did you do research for this book?

AB: I had to do a lot surrounding art theft. I read the book Priceless, about the FBI’s art investigators. This is how I learned how they investigate art crime, what is the statute of limitations, and why they often buy back art instead of prosecuting.

EC: How would you describe Max?

AB: Independent, strong, curious, determined, courageous, and a straight-talker. She calls them as she sees them.

EC: You have Max suffer from insomnia?

AB: I wrote it into the first book, Notorious. When she wakes up she cannot fall back to sleep, probably because her mind is constantly going. In the book Compulsion, she did a lot of soul searching and her insomnia got worse. David, her good friend and partner thinks she is suffering from PTSD that impacts it.

EC: Why the Eastern shore setting?

AB: It is so pretty and isolated. It is in its own little world that has small towns with their own secrets. People in this small town did not necessarily trust outsiders.

EC: How would you describe Max’s new lover, FBI Agent Ryan Maguire?

AB: I totally did not expect him to be her love interest. Ryan walked onto the page and he just took over. He is unique, cute, down to earth, and really smart. What you see is what you get with him, as he is so matter of fact. He does a better job than Max compartmentalizing and is more even-tempered. I think he will be really good for her, because he knows how to have fun and how to turn off the job.

EC: You have a humorous banter between Ryan and Max, “I downloaded all four of your books to my e-reader. She scowled. I see we’re going to have a huge problem.”

AB: I am like Max and only like real books, ones that we can physically hold. We both have reading chairs.

EC: Your next books?

AB: On October 30th Too Far Gone, a Lucy book will come out. It delves into hostage situations since Lucy has just finished up her training to be a hostage negotiator. She is investigating the case after the person holding the hostages is killed. There is also a sub-plot involving Sean’s Son.

There will be two Lucy books before the next Max book. I would actually like to pair Max and Lucy together again in another book. I have a couple of ideas.

THANK YOU!!