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Dog, Boy Genius, Chess

Tom Donaldson Author Interview

Tom Donaldson Author Interview

Max is the story of one genius little boy and the tumultuous turns his life takes beginning at the age of eight. What was your inspiration for this story and how did it change as you wrote?

My inspiration for this book began with an previous book I wrote. Black Overalls. Max was introduced in that book. That book has already been reviewed by Literary Titan, and received four stars and a Silver Award. This book is very much about Max, but as the story evolved it also became very much about Sheldon, Charlie and MaryAnn.

Sheldon is a genius at age eight who experiences multiple losses and trials as he tackles the challenges of adulthood while striving to become a champion chess player. What were some of the trials that you felt were important to highlight the characters development?

Although being a genius is a tremendous asset, it also creates some very real difficulties for a young boy. Since all his classmates are several years older, Sheldon finds it difficult to form friendships. He is more interested in being a normal kid, than being a genius. With the death of his father, he is left with little male influence in his life. His mother, Max and Charlie become his whole world.

Max is an exceptional dog in his own right and plays a vital role in impacting the lives of multiple people. Have you ever had a pet that impacted your life as greatly? What was your inspiration for Max?

The picture on the cover of the book is actually of my dog, Max. He died a few years ago at the age of sixteen. I have always been a dog lover, and have owned several. Max was probably my favorite. I have two dogs now, Ozzie and Cyrus. They are mentioned in another of my books.

What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have written three books so far. Two of them you have already reviewed. The other book, The Valley Country Club, will be submitted for review soon. I am not currently writing a new story, but I have a few ideas that I am considering.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Max by [Donaldson, Tom]Dog, Boy Genius, Chess

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GROND: The Raven High

In the year 2086, Earth is exhausted. The seas have been emptied, the bedrock and soil stripped of their resources, and the superheated atmosphere churns with terrible storms. Those who can afford to do so live in the limbo of virtual reality, and the billions who suffer in poverty have no work, no clean water, and no security from the chaos.

The only hope for those trapped on a dying Earth are the Changed—the seven bioengineered post-humans who work in their separate manufacturing facilities orbiting high above the planet. Raised from birth for their work and fully matured at ten years old, their genius provides the nanomaterials that have begun to cleanse Earth of the pollutants that have wiped out almost the entire ecosphere.

But for Olga Voronov, youngest of the Changed, the isolation and endless toil are not the greatest of her challenges. Down on Earth there are those who resent and fear her talents—and would prefer that humanity not be given the second chance that only she could make possible…

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Black Dragons Attack: A Nick Grant Adventure

Black Dragons Attack, the fourth installment in the Nick Grant Adventures series outdoes the high bar set by the previous adventures. This enthralling pre-World War II story features a superb cameo by American aviation hero Howard Hughes! Readers are transported to the nostalgic war era with the mind-blowing narrative by author Jamie Dodson. Nick Grant starts afresh as a Naval Aviation Cadet that leads to a chance encounter with Howard Hughes that changes the course of his life. Join Nick as he thwarts the Japanese plot to steal the famous Hughes H-1 racer along with his friends Nancy Tanaka and Leilani Porta for some edge of your seat entertainment.

Jamie Dodson has always delivered riveting story lines, perfect character development, amazing locales, and ultimately an exceptional climax  – in short, each of Nick Grant’s adventures, be it Flying Boats & Spies, China Clipper, or Mission Shanghai or the latest offering Black Dragons Attack never fail to impress readers.

Set in 1936, Black Dragons Attack continues the Nick Grant saga as he believes his arch nemesis Toshio Miyazaki, is dead and starts afresh as a Cadet in the Naval Aviation Academy. It takes no less than a chance run in with the genius billionaire aviator and movie producer, Howard Hughes to lure Nick back into another deadly spy game.

The Black Dragons, working for the Japanese Intelligence Service, turn out to be secretly active and conspiring with a new partner, the Third Reich in California! As the Japanese hatch an elaborate plan to steal the Hughes H-1 racer to reverse engineer and build something even more advanced, US Naval Counterintelligence uncovers their activities. Nick is tasked with foiling the plans of the Japanese with the help of Nancy Tanaka and Leilani Porta.

As much as Nick impresses with his heroic show of patriotism and daredevilry, the Hughes H-1 steals the show with its sheer technological prowess and revolutionary functionalities that are years ahead of anything that existed in that era, precisely why the fascist regimes of Imperial Japanese and Nazis were so obsessed with it.

The setting of pre-world war II provides a poignant background wherein Jamie Dodson successfully manages to capture the mindset of people in a war torn country. Howard Hughes, albeit in a sort of guest appearance, manages to shine and awe the reader with his larger than life personality. The character sketches of Nancy, Leilani and Toshio are spot on and do justice to their role in the plot.

Overall, Black Dragons Attack, the fourth book in the Nick Grant adventure series is a pleasure to read.

Pages: 244 | ASIN: 1938667549

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Max

MaxMax, by Tom Donaldson, is the story of one exceptional little boy and the tumultuous turns his life takes beginning at the tender age of eight. Sheldon, declared a genius and allowed to skip several grades, experiences multiple losses and trials as he tackles high school, college, and the challenges of adulthood all while striving to become a world champion chess player. Sheldon and his parents become acquainted with Max, an exceptional dog in his own right, and are oblivious to the fact that Max will play a vital role in changing the lives of countless people over the coming years.

As I read the first few chapters, I was sure I had Donaldson’s story pegged. I believed the story line involving Max would turn out to be a minor one, as for several chapters, Max seems an aside to Charlie’s backstory and Sheldon’s budding friendship with the older man. Donaldson manages, however, to incorporate some touching and surprising plot twists with the parallel plots involving Max, Charlie’s long-lost savior, and Sheldon himself.

I was fairly certain the author had taken a wrong turn about halfway through the story by eliminating some vital characters. As, I continued to read, however, the pieces fell neatly together. I was more than pleased with the way in which Donaldson has tied Max together with the primary players as well as the late entries into the falling action.

Charlie’s history and the attitude of the neighborhood busybodies make for a wonderful plot line. I was able to immediately visualize Charlie as an almost reclusive sort of man hidden away not by his choice but by the biases and exaggerated fears of his neighbors. Donaldson had me rooting for Charlie from the first mention of the accusations leveled against him. The author has drawn some clearly defined lines between Charlie and the intrusive welcoming committee.

Sheldon’s mother, Maryann, reacts in much the same way any parent would upon learning of Sheldon’s friendship with the very real Charlie. Maryann is a highly relatable character and offers readers the opportunity to both sympathize and empathize with her struggle to overcome the obstacles bombarding her as a newly single mother of a highly intelligent and driven young boy.

I didn’t want to fall in love with Sheldon, Charlie, or Max, but I most certainly did. Donaldson has a knack for hitting sentimental nerves and playing upon the emotions. Sheldon, Charlie, and Max are unforgettable characters.

Max was a quick read that begged to be finished in one sitting and offers plenty of thoughtful scenarios that spark the desire to reread. Overall, it is a thoughtful, emotional journey I would recommend to any reader.

Pages: 182 | ASIN: B06XWFGZMQ

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