Interview with Jon Thomason, author of Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud (Giveaway)


Jon Thomason lives with his family in San Diego, after many years in the beautiful Seattle area. He has a successful career in high tech where he’s been fortunate enough to participate in many big-name industry releases.

Storytelling permeates everything he does. In the moments when Jon is not helping build the story of the tech world, he can almost always be found working on a project: writing, photography, videography, graphics design, or 3D art.

And he’s always careful to conceal his jinni magic abilities, though perhaps might slip one day and be discovered…

You can join the conversation with him at or on Twitter at @jonthomason.

Thank you for joining us today, Jon. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

I’m thrilled to be able to call myself a writer. People would ask, and I had a hard time saying it until the novel was real. Finished. And now it is!

I have a successful career in the high tech industry, where I’ve been able to use my creative side more than you’d stereotypically think. But books have always been a passion for me, as is storytelling. I’ve written a number of stories over the years, but this is my first attempt at novel-length fiction.

I’ve never shaken the feeling of being a kid. I’ve always asked myself, “when exactly do I grow up?” 

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I don’t remember exactly, but it was very young. My mother taught me to read at an exceptionally young age, and I have always read anything and everything I could get my hands on. Perhaps it’s ego, but I would say to myself, “I could do this.” So, I’d write my own stories. But it wasn’t until I took some extended time off work that I got serious and tackled something novel-length. 

Why did you decide to write stories for this market?

Like I mentioned, I have never been able to escape the feeling of being a kid. So, writing where I could pretend to still be one is the most natural thing ever. 

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

My favorite part of writing for middle grade is that you can add in some goofy things that would make a kid laugh. The book doesn’t have to be so terribly serious and uptight. The biggest challenge for me is restricting vocabulary and making sure the concepts don’t go over the head of the middle grade reader. What I try to do is make sure that the story elements are layered. The lower-end of the middle grade readers see one level, but the upper end (and adults) see something deeper. That’s what I strive to do across the board to span the range of readers. 

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

Shhh! I shouldn’t tell you this, Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud is not fiction. They got to it and spun everything I wrote to sound like a novel, but it’s not. It’s all true. I’ve been there. To Zumuruud, that is. I can’t tell you much about it here, but it blows your mind.

I’ve met Max. She’s good-hearted, but don’t get on her bad side! I saw Philip once on his skatecarpet getting chased by some men in long black coats, but I bolted. I want nothing to do with that action.

In real life, people think of me as your average, boring, high-tech engineer. Little do they know of my secrets.

I’m just afraid one day I’ll slip and my jinni powers will be discovered…and I’ll be taken and experimented on by the guys in white coats and long syringes. Gulp.

Just read the book. It will explain everything. And remember: shhh!  

What inspired you to write it? max

I am a vivid daydreamer. I have loved to read from quite a young age and always imagined what it would be like to be able to do magic–really do the magic. What would it feel like to make something across the room move? Or what would it be like to play a trick on an unsuspecting classmate? While I love creatively constructed worlds, I’m generally more interested in things happening just next door. The idea of intrigue and conspiracy and hidden things fascinate me. Might there be a shadowy group pulling the strings somewhere? Powerful people behind the scenes? And then one of our children had a form of leukemia as a child, and the powerlessness of this gave way to the idea of good from evil, and of being transformed. I’m also well acquainted with anger management issues of the teen female, and contrite, bland dialogue, just doesn’t work. Throw in some cynical sarcasm from our villain, and the story just poured out. 

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud is available on both as a paperback and as an Amazon Kindle e-book. An easy way to find it is to go to

 What is up next for you?

I’m already working on the sequel to Max. I can’t share the title yet, but suffice it to say that while the story wound down at the end of the first book, there are many more adventures remaining for Max, Aaron, and Brynn. And don’t think Philip is out of the picture yet, even though he might seem to be… 

Do you have anything else to add?

It’s so energizing hearing all the positive feedback! The reason I like to write is to be able to share stories with other people, and to hear that people actually like the story and are begging for the sequel makes me feel great and propels the work on the remainder of the trilogy. 

Thank you for spending time with us today, Jon. We wish you much success.

And thank you for listening and for the opportunity to share my book with your readers!


GIVEAWAY! Visit the book’s tour page at for details on how you can enter to win great prizes!


max tour

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s