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Maxwell Gandel

How long have you been involved with Epics?

Oh, it's coming up on two years now. Hard to believe it's actually been that long.

How many characters do you write here?

I've got two main characters at the moment.

Which characters do you write?

Maxwell Gandel, out of touch Imperial Admiral and Lyton Aeros, Jedi fugitive. The first is involved in The Lost Fleet Returns, while the second is involved in After The Fall.

I also write a number of what I consider NPCs for Epic Space Opera.

Can you explain briefly how he/she/they came into being?

I'd been writing Gandel and the 105th fleet for years at another forum. When I left there, I thought it would be a fun idea to reimagine the character at Epics. From the very beginning Gandel was supposed to be a good guy who just happened to be on the bad guy's side, doing what he considered to be his patriotic duty. I think the original inspiration for him came from Pter Thanas in the book Truce at Bakura.

Lyton Aeros came into being around the time I watched Episode III. The era surrounding the Jedi Purge seemed like a great setting in which to play a Jedi. Instead of being the powerful, respected protectors of the Republic those that were left were hunted and public enemy number one. So much more fun that way. :)

Your main character is an Imperial. Do you enjoy playing Imperials over other types of characters? Why or why not?

I do enjoy playing Imperials, and to a more generic extent I like to play the "bad guys". On the one hand, they can be really fun if you choose to go full bore evil with them. On the other hand, there's a lot of opportunities for character development if you try to play someone as an anti-hero, like I'm doing with Gandel. I like to try and bring a more humane side to the Empire with Gandel. They're not all the kinds of guys who would slaughter Jawas or blow up planets, even if they didn't choose to defect to the rebellion. They've just got a job to do, a duty to carry out, and they're trying to do it.

What avatars represent your characters? Why did you pick them?

For Gandel's avatar I chose Bruce Boxleitner of Babylon 5 fame. My first choice was Sean Connery, but he was already taken. Reflecting on it now, I think that my current choice really does fit the character better. He's got the "naval commander" look down, and I think subconsciously I was copying Sheridan a little bit when I wrote Gandel anyway.

For Lyton's avatar I use a slightly altered picture of a random Jedi sketch I found online. I couldn't think of any celebrities I wanted to use, and trying to photoshop in a lightsaber was beyond me. The other two pictures of Jedi in the signature came from the Star Wars Artists Guild, and overall I think it works fairly well.

Do you have a favorite post you've written, or favorite story you have been involved in?

I don't think I can really point out a favorite post. There are some I like better than others, but I tend to be fairly critical of my own work. As far as stories go, I enjoy all the ones I'm involved in.

Did you develop your character's backstories or did you add it in after the character was established?

I came up with a backstory for Gandel before I put up a bio. I had a really good idea of who I wanted the character to be, what he's done, and where he's been. I still have yet to come up with a complete backstory for Lyton, though I have a pretty general idea of what's happened to him in the past. Someday I might put up the bio I've got half finished...

What other parts of Epics do you enjoy?

I don't tend to think of Epics in parts. I just enjoy the site as a whole.

How did you find us?

I found you once a long time ago, back when you were on ezboard. Star Wars Tales, I think you were called then. I remembered that it looked like a fun place, so when it came time for me to leave the other forums I roleplayed on I started trying to find Tales again. Changing the name to Epics made things a bit more difficult, but I found you eventually.

Are the people in your life (spouse, significant other, family) supportive of your time on Epics?

Yup, I'd say my wife is pretty supportive. She has a character here as well, actually - Jola'Edana Kahlid. So she can't complain too loudly. :p

Do you roleplay anywhere else? Why or why not?

I used to roleplay on another board, but it got so unfriendly and annoying there that I left. I'll resist the urge to rant about it's many drawbacks. Suffice it to say Epics is a much nicer, much friendlier place. Since landing here I haven't really had the urge to look anywhere else.

Do you have any suggestions on how to make Epics better?

Free party hats at the door?

And now, for the off duty questions...

Real name and age? Please enclose a picture of yourself if you are so inclined.

Mark, age 24.

The picture is about a year old. Aside from the facial hair, I look pretty much the same.

Where do you live?

Denver, Colorado, USA.

What is your occupation?

Currently I'm a computer field technician. I do on-site warranty repair work on Dell desktops and laptops.

What is your favorite type of music/band?

My music tastes wander quite a bit, but I'd have to say that rock/alternative tends to be my favorite kind of music. My favorite band, I'd have to say, is probably Evanescence.

What kinds of hobbies do you have?

I like to read a lot, write, play computer games, and I enjoy playing tabletop roleplaying games.

What is your favorite way to relax?

My favorite way to relax is to sit down at the computer and lose myself in a computer game.

Is there anything special you do when you write?

I usually listen to music when I write. Sometimes I choose mood appropriate music, but usually I just put my playlist on random and let it go. I also tend to drink a rootbeer and snack on a few chocolate kisses during the course of a post.

Did you always love writing, and do you write anything else?

I've loved to write since high school. Most of it was pretty bad, looking at it now, but it was fun to do at the time. Aside from Star Wars roleplaying, I've started a lot of short stories that I've never finished. Mostly sci-fi, some fantasy. It's one of my biggest problems, really. I have too many ideas running around in my head, all demanding to be written. I start one story, get partway into it, and then get distracted by another idea. Maybe someday I'll actually finish something...

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