Henry S. Maxfield, as is the case with so many writers, has had a variety of occupations,
including actor in an Equity Company in summer stock.
A navigator on a B-24 Liberator bomber in the 8th Air Force WWII, he and his crew were shot down by flak over Gelsenkirchen, Germany, 11 November, 1944. Six of the crew of ten were killed. He and the three other survivors were made Prisoners of War.
After the war he became a special Traffic Representative facilitating travel for people
important to W.R. Grace on their way through Miami. When the company decided to send him to La Paz, Bolivia for the wrong reasons, he decided to return to Bowdoin College, having had enough of big corporations. After Bowdoin he worked as an advertising copywriter for thirty-five dollars a week. A friend of his in insurance offered an impressive draw and assured him that selling life insurance was the right career for him.
The next decision was to return to college and prepare for a college teaching career. After
a semester in conversational French and German at Bowdoin, he enrolled in the University of Maryland's graduate year abroad program. He, his wife and daughter moved to Zurich, Switzerland where he majored in Comparative Literature.
While there he considered entering the Foreign Service, but was counseled by the then
Consul General in Zurich not to do so unless he was independently wealthy. He was also told he was not the type who would be happy in that situation - too lively and outspoken.
It was then he decided to become a writer - a novelist. His first attempts were begun in
prison camp at the age of 21 and although his work was lost, he had not forgotten how absorbed he had been in the process.
Maxfield moved to New Hampshire, purchased an old farmhouse, started to write, and slowly went broke. He sold shrubbery door-to-door in the winter in the small town of Wolfeboro and made enough to pay his debts.
It was at that critical juncture he was recruited for the Central Intelligence Agency. He served for over three years during the Korean War. Not only did he need the job, he believed that intelligence was his nation's first line of defense.
Disillusioned by his experience in the Agency, he resigned, he said, to write a book.
He and family moved back to their farmhouse and once again Maxfield started writing.
He also opened a real estate brokerage office -just in case.
The subject of his first novel was Intelligence, about which he has developed very strong
feelings. That novel is Legacy of a Spy.
All of Maxfield's work deals with subjects he knows. Character and plot are his main interests, but there is always a point of view. He has said, in several interviews, that if a writer has nothing to say, there's no point in writing. Legacy was a success, but its sale was gradual. None of its publishers, starting with
Harper & Bros., did anything to promote the book or its author, and his editor at Harper & Bros., insisted he keep writing in the same genre - in spite of his wish not to be known as a genre writer. He believed he was versatile, a man with many interests and a lot of varied and interesting experiences from which to draw.
His next published novel was Another Spring about life in a small New Hampshire summer resort.
That and Legacy, though very different from each other, continue to be borrowed from the local library, are two of the popular novels. Little, Brown
published it but let it die, There was no paperback edition. Maxfield purchased the remainder and put them on the local market just two years ago. The original publication date was 1974.
The local bookstore sold 122. It sold almost a hundred at the new price of $20.00. The last
28 hardcover novels, now selling at $25.00, are being showcased side by side with
His second novel (chronologically), not published, is an anti-war story dealing with the air war
over Germany in WW II. It is about the crew of a B-24 Liberator Bomber flying out of
England and their varying ways of dealing with combat, the war itself, sacrifice, cowardice,
bravery, treachery, desertion, prison camp and escape. There, as usual, is plenty of story
and there is a good deal more - authenticity and a special kind of reality. The timing for
its publication may be now due to the invasion of Iraq..
Maxfield is presently working on a novel, Justice Justice, in which a newly elected
American President who believes the Justice system has failed, decides to appoint a non-lawyer to the Supreme Court. His nominee is Bradford Justice. Should a miracle occur,his title would be --- Justice Justice. The novel is completed. Manuscript available
He anticipates a huge audience. The subject will always be timely!
I feel, as do many authors, published and unpublished, that the present
Agent/Publisher/Bookseller procedure is unwieldy, time consuming and frustrating - that with
conglomeration it has become even worse. Publishing is a business and publishers have
to make money, but as is obvious from the present output, much is repetitive and inferior
both in content and typography. Editing as practiced in the past no longer exists.
I have now learned that selling and promoting are extremely expensive - too many
middlemen and not enough publisher encouragement to get their authors out on the road.
As founder, owner and operator of a real estate business for thirty years I am sure there is a better
way, l will be trying to find it.
We writers are a persistent lot, willing to be humiliated and even cheated - anything to see our works published. And finally, when published,an author may find himself dealing with a different editor - a result of the game of musical chairs endemic in the publishing industry.
My intention is to make an end run - around that awful bottleneck - and get my work to the readers. It is an act of faith - in my work - and my ability to reach the appropriate public.
Keep an eye on me, I can be reached at personally at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime - Buy Legacy!