10th October 2017
Max Booth Future Sleuth - Tape Escape
Written by Cameron Macintosh
Released: 1st August 2017
Book title: Max Booth Future Sleuth - Tape Escape
Author: Cameron Macintosh
Illustrator: Dave Atze
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
Intended Audience: 8-10 years
Author’s website: cameronemacintosh.com.au
Tell us about yourself
I started my career in publishing as an editor, hoping that it would lead to writing opportunities – eventually, it did! Since 2008 I’ve written more than 80 books in the educational sector – non-fiction books, teaching materials, and fictional titles including plays and chapter books, mostly for primary literacy series. While doing that, I’ve been quietly working away on the Max Booth Future Sleuth stories, and other trade title ideas for older readers.
What is your book about?
The Max Booth Future Sleuth books are about an 11-year old boy, Max, and his robo-dog, Oscar, who live in the year 2424. Max has escaped from an orphanage and makes a humble living by identifying objects from the 20th and 21st centuries for his friend, Jessie, a museum staff member. The objects he identifies have interesting connections to the past, connections which lead Max and Oscar into danger and adventure when certain devious adults realise the value of his discoveries…
Who is your target audience for this book?
The series is aimed at readers of around 8 to 10 years old. I’ve written the books using humour and vocab that I hope will particularly engage reluctant readers, but I’m confident that the series can be enjoyed by all middle years readers who enjoy science-fiction, mystery and adventure.
What aspects did you find challenging about this book?
Initially, it was quite a challenge to establish the main parameters of the future civilisation and ways of life. Life in 2424 needed to have lots of interesting differences and fun developments, but at the same time I wanted to keep the sci-fi aspects of the stories fairly light so that they could appeal to a wide range of readers, and wouldn't need too much explanation. I also wanted each book to be able to be read independently, without prior knowledge of the characters and setting, so I'm always mindful of avoiding heavy-handed exposition.
What does your book offer the reader that differs from others covering similar subjects?
To my knowledge, the Max Booth stories are the only books on the market that deal with a future character who investigates objects and devices from the 20th and 21st centuries – objects that would be familiar to today’s readers. This recurring feature opens the doors to lots of interesting discussions between readers and their teachers or parents about technology, as well as a range of social and environmental issues.
How did the idea for this book come about?
The first spark of the idea came about on a backpacking trip through Italy, when I visited the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and many of their associated artefacts at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. I was awestruck by articles such as pots, cutlery and oil burners – things that would probably have been quite mundane to the people of Pompeii. I found myself wondering which of today’s everyday items might hold such interest to future generations, and it struck me that this question could translate well into stories about a future detective who finds ‘ancient’ objects like cassette tapes as interesting as I found the relics of Pompeii.
Find out more about Cameron Macintosh
Cameron Macintosh's website: cameronemacintosh.com.au
Cameron Macintosh was born in Melbourne and has lived there ever since, apart from overseas backpacking jaunts whenever he’s been able to fund them. He studied Psychology and Italian at Melbourne University, and Professional Writing at RMIT. Since then, he has written more than 80 books for primary and early secondary students. He has also honed hundreds of books for teachers and students in his other life as an editor for high quality educational publishers. In the few minutes per week that he isn’t wrestling with words on the laptop, he loves singing and playing the guitar, and reading music biographies.