Estelle Van de Velde

Finding Maxwell

Do you know what is terrible about being eight years old?

Dragged to St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Maxwell wonders what can be worse. On holiday with his parents, the list of boring visits grows too much for his taste. Max wants to become a knight and rescue princesses, not to discover already known places.

Then a secret is uncovered, and Max jumps on the occasion to make a wonderful discovery. He is a genius after all.

But the world can be enormous when you are a child, and finding his parents turns out to be quite a challenge. Who is going to help him?

A cute and funny story of imagination, curiosity and adventure.

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Finding Maxwell ebook cover in an ipad


“A wonderful story that transports you back to a time you were a child, on holiday with your parents and wishing for adventure. A page turner without doubt and highly recommended.”

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ from Richard on

“A beautiful story of an 8 years old boy full of dreams and imagination. I really liked to discover the world with Maxwell eyes’. It’s very well written with a touch of humour, don’t hesitate to read it!”

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ from Anaelle on

“Naivety, hyperactivity, an imaginary world where he can be a hero. All the factors are there to put ourselves in this child’s place, and perhaps to remind us what it is to be a child. We feel the boundaries between the adult/real world and the childhood/dream one. The point of view is just right. Bravo.”

⭐⭐⭐⭐ from Amazon Customer on

“Nice short story. I particularly appreciated the writing style of the author full of humour, and found the story very true and realistic.”

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ from Amazon Customer on

FAQ/Behind the scene

How did Finding Maxwell came to me?

I was on my first holiday with my boyfriend, in Sweden. We had taken the plane from Belgium and, up in the clouds, I started daydreaming about a castle and its little inhabitants. I think that was the starting point of the story.

I imagined a story called Once Upon a Sky. It would have a very young character named Max who would meet a tiny man from a cloud castle named Ruhtra (Arthur written backwards). I wrote the first chapter of this story for my uni application. The title, back then, was Once Upon a Coffin. I’m glad I’ve changed it to Finding Maxwell, haha.

Why did I choose an 8-year old boy as a protagonist?

To be honest, I don’t know. It just came to me naturally.

Maybe it’s because I had read a lot of these stories when I was a kid and it always was with a male protagonist. It sounds a bit cliché though.

I chose to make him very young – 8 years old – because then he’d still be considered as a child. I wanted to make the reader understand that, as a child, you have a lot of imagination that is completely (or partially) lost when you grow up. One of the reasons for this is because we’ve been told it isn’t very “grown-up” to have this big fat imagination.

Had I been in Rome before writing the story?

No. I wrote Finding Maxwell without having ever been in Rome. I had just looked up at the architecture, the places and so on on Google. Tourists are taking a lot of pictures, which are super useful to me as a writer. I didn’t know a thing about St Peter’s Basilica, except that it was in the Vatican, haha.

However, I went to Rome with my sisters in October 2018. It felt amazing to finally go where I had imagined my character. Okay, Popes are not really displayed behind a glass, but that was really fun to write.

Getting lost somewhere as big as the Basilica, is it something I have experienced as a child?

I remember something like this. I had gone to the supermarket with my mum and younger sister. I was maybe around 8, but I’m not quite sure. Anyway, we had gone row after row to fill the shopping trolley and, after a while, my mum noticed my sister’s disappearance. I remember how panicked my mum was, and how relieved she was when she found my sister. That’s definitely a memory that I’ve used in the story.