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Capture the Flag
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Sweet on Books Interview
with Mark Jeffrey, author of the The Max Quick Series

Where did you get the idea for The Max Quick Series?

I had several competing ideas in my head for years. One of them was something I thought of as being The Stand for kids: there would be an 'empty world' where only kids would exist. Or at least there would be no adults around who could help. With stopped time, I found a way to arrange this. I was also fascinated with the ancient world, so I wanted a story that weaved that in also, and I found a way to do that as well. Once I had those elements, Max Quick popped to life.

Was Max inspired by a real person?

Not really. :) A lot of people ask if Max is actually me. My answer to that is Yes, he is. But Johnny Siren (the villain) is me as well. He's the worst side of me. Max is the best side of me. Every character in the book is an aspect of me.

Can you explain what a podiobook is?

A podiobook is a podcast audiobook. The idea is that the author records themselves reading the book aloud, like a traditional audiobook, and then releases the mp3's via a podcast feed. Usually this is done in a serialized fashion, sort of like a radio drama.

Can you tell us about your next book?

The next book is call MAX QUICK: THE TWO TRAVELERS. It's completely finished; in fact I self-published it and then had to pull it down when I got the deal with HarperCollins for 'Pocket'. Our four heroes both go back in time; two of them to 1912 and two them of the old west. They learn quite a bit and then reunite, basically. It's sort of my 'The Empire Strikes Back'. The book following it is called MAX QUICK: THE BANE OF THE BONDSMAN.

What made you want to be a writer?

Ever since I read The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever as a kid I wanted to be a novelist. It took me until my mid 30's to actually do it, however.

How do you get your ideas? Do you do research?

I read a lot of strange stuff. I read a book called The Twelfth Planet by Zecharia Sitchin and that was one of the bit of 'research' that became the backstory for Max Quick. So my answer is, Yes I research but i don't realize I'm doing it at the time.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I write in my house. I like to be alone and blasting music. So, very unlike people who write in cafes and such.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Just write. Write and write some more. I know this seems oddly obvious, but a lot of aspiring writers don't actually write, they talk about writing.

What would you be if you weren't a writer?

An internet entrepreneur.

If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would you choose?

Stephen R. Donaldson. And I've actually had dinner with him, so, box checked. :)


Read or write?    Read

Call or text?    Text

Fly or drive?    Drive

Beach or ski?    Beach

Time travel back or time travel forward?    Back (I'd want to see the ancient world)

E-book or traditional book?    E-book


Children's book:    The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet

Song:    Hey Jude

Sports Team:    Chargers

Travel destination:    Hawaii

Superhero:    Superman

Magic power:    Ability to fly

We are Sweet on Books, so we have to ask – what is your favorite sweet treat?

Chocolate cake!


Mark Jeffrey is an author and internet entrepreneur. He has cofounded four internet companies and written two novels, including Max Quick: The Pocket and the Pendant. Mark is currently CEO of, a web television venture with Jason Calacanis and comedian/actor Kevin Pollak. Previously, Mark Jeffrey was CTO of, Inc., a company backed by Sequoia Capital (Google, Youtube, Yahoo, etc.), CBS, NewsCorp, Elon Musk (Paypal) and others. Mark also cofounded business social networking company ZeroDegrees, Inc. and sold it to IAC/InteractiveCorp in 2004 with more than one million registered users. Mark initially podcast an audiobook version of Max Quick: The Pocket and the Pendant: it received more than 2.5 million downloads, and Oscar-nominee Abigail Breslin cited it as one of her favorite novels in a nationally syndicated interview. His first company, The Palace, Inc., was backed by Time Warner, Intel, and Softbank and sold to in 1998. The Palace was a popular avatar virtual world environment that grew to 10 million users at its peak. It was was selected The Best of 1996 by Entertainment Weekly, and received numerous awards and coverage, including a Webby Award nomination. It was also a Cool Innovation of the Year nominee, and a Chicago Sun-Times Best Website in 1998. He also was the cofounder and CEO of SuperSig, Inc. in 1999, an html e-mail company with customers including Williams-Sonoma, ITXC (a VoIP company), and Yahoo/Launch Media. Mark has been named on of 50 to Watch by Variety magazine, selected as one of the Digital Coast 50 by the Silicon Alley Reporter, and one of the Heroes of Multimedia by Entertainment Weekly. In 1996, he was a featured speaker at the first Harvard University Conference on the Internet and Society. Mark holds a BS in Computer Science and is a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do.