Max’s House

Only a few weeks into writing the gag-worthy Proud to Be a Smart, I decided to start another book featuring these characters. Not only that, but it would be a series, and it would focus on Max Seward and his unique family. I was already so in love with Max and his slightly older cousin Elaine that I felt they deserved their own series. Series books for young people were very popular at that time, and I thought it would be really fun to make one of my own. I didn’t know at the time that writers aren’t encouraged to deliberately create a series, but I’d still write series books even if I were never traditionally published.

Originally called Maxwell House (then changed because I figured I might get sued!) and originally slated to have 33 books, it’s now set to cap in at 40 books and end in 1970. The series starts in June of 1941, exactly where the last book of the introductory series left off, and follows the often hilarious adventures of Max’s blended, extended family and his friends. And while Max, Elaine, and the other members of their family are navigating the ins and outs of being part of a stepfamily in an era when decent people didn’t get divorced, Sparky’s friends and their friends living under Nazi rule in Europe are just trying to navigate their own survival and then to relearn how to be a part of the normal world after liberation. The two radically different plot trajectories are meant not only to show a more sober and straightly historical side of the era, but also to show that Max, his family, and their friends have it pretty damn good, in spite of all their complaints and petty issues.

The books are as follows (some of the more generic titles may be changed as I get to them):

#1:  New Beginnings

#2:  Families Stick Together

#3:  Resolutions

#4: The Start of AS

#5:  Mixed Feelings

#6:  Two Happy Endings (original title:  Starting Out Fresh with Samantha)

#7:  Summer’s Soo Cool

#8:  Back to School

#9:  Who Said Junior High Was Supposed to Be Easy?

#10:  The “In” Crowd

#11:  Winter Vacation

#12:  Making the Grade

#13:  We Love the Beach

#14:  Eighth Grade Is Soo Hard

#15:  Last Summer Before High School

#16:  The Double-Dare

#17:  Being a Freshman Ain’t No Piece of Cake

#18:  The Big Fight

#19:  We Never Agree on Anything!

#20:  Turning Sixteen

#21:  Half-Sister Twins

#22:  The Big Family Picnic

#23:  The Hand-Me-Down

#24:  The Tragedy

#25:  Being Seventeen Stinks

#26:  Road Construction—Caution!

#27:  The Party That Got Out of Hand

#28:  Samantha and Max

#29:  Strictly Business (Mr. Seward forces Elaine, Max, Adeladie, Harold, and Gene to get jobs, and Cora Ann, Sandy, and the quints start kiddy jobs as well)

#30:  Dating (main character is Adeladie)

#31:  A Baby (focused around Max’s older sister Tiffany, who’s married to a man Mr. Seward has always despised)

#32:  An Unorthodox Decision (Elaine stuns her uncle and many of her friends by announcing she’s going to live with and have kids with her boyfriend before committing to engagement or marriage, as an experiment to see if their relationship can withstand going to that next level)

#33:  Love (primary characters aren’t Sewards at all, but Malchen von Hinderburg, Pali Weiss, Jozef Roblensky, and his sweetheart Svetlana Juric)

#34:  An Unlikely Pair (oldest stepsister Adeladie and her former childhood sweetheart Mohammad ibn Omar are the stars of this book)

#35:  Not a Child Anymore (middle stepsister Cora Ann is the main character in this book)

#36:  The Worst That Could Happen (dreading having to write this one and have to depict these sad events all over again)

#37:  A New Life in Italy (one of the main storylines focuses on Max’s favorite brother Harold and youngest stepsister Sandy)

#38:  One Last Chance (originally planned as #33 and the final book of the series)

#39:  The Sewards in the Sixties

#40:  Farewell to an Era (Great-Grandpa Stanley dies at age 110, and the relatives gather together to mark the end of an era and reflect on how much the world has changed between 1860, when Great-Grandpa Stanley first opened his eyes, and 1970, when Elaine’s first grandchild Carrie has just been born)

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