E: Hey, Max! Welcome back to the blog. Of course, you had to bring me guacamole. Why can’t you bring me pie like normal people?
M: It is pie. It just happens to be filled with guacamole. I don’t understand why you won’t just eat the damn thing. It’s delicious. This is what killed Hitler. It’s good for us. Trust me. One bite.
E: You have a new book out, Toxicity. When did it release and what can you tell us about it?
M: Toxicity was published by Post Mortem Press back in April. Post Mortem Press is probably best known for publishing the short fiction of Joe Hill and Clive Barker through various anthologies, along with the ongoing columns by Harlan Ellison in their quarterly dark fiction journal, Jamais Vu.
Toxicity is a dark comedy about drug addiction and dysfunctional families. It features three main characters and their individual stories, who all eventually clash together toward the end of the book. So, it’s kind of similar to certain Quentin Tarantino narrative techniques in that aspect. Many reviews actually have compared the book to Tarantino, as well as the Coen Brothers, Elmore Leonard, and Carl Hiaasen.
E: Where did you get the idea for the book? What’s the weirdest, or most unusual, thing that has inspired a story?
M: I grew up loving the hell out of films like Snatch and Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. I wanted to write a humorous crime novel in the same sort of style. The actual idea? Man, I don’t know. I started off by writing about a dysfunctional family very similar to my own family, and allowed the craziest shit I could imagine to continue from there. After many rewrites, an actual novel had formed.
E: You’ve got some short story news recently. What got accepted and where can we find it?
M: My short story “The Neighborhood has a Barbecue” was recently accepted in Michael Bailey’s psychological horror/science fiction anthology, Qualia Nous. He had previously published my story “Flowers Blooming in the Season of Atrophy” in his horror anthology, Chiral Mad 2. “The Neighborhood has a Barbecue” is written in the same style as old Twilight Zone episodes, so fans of that show will probably really dig my story. Well, that’s the idea, at least.
Vincenzo Bilof also accepted my short story “One Day I’ll Quit This Job and Rule the World” in his anthology, Surreal Worlds. My story is…surreal.
Both anthologies should be available sometime later this year.
E: You’ve got a fairly busy convention schedule this year. In fact, didn’t you just get back from one? Where else can we find you this year?
M: Indeed I did! I just returned home after a great convention at Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago. I spent most of the time panhandling on the streets with Christian A. Larsen.
The remaining conventions for this year all happen to fall on September. I will be at the following conventions, hosting a vendor table for my own small press, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing: Monster-Con (San Antonio, TX – September 06-07), Enter the Imaginarium (Louisville, KY – September 19-21), and Alamo City Comic Con (San Antonio, TX – September 26-28).
Side note: I’ll also be attending Enter the Imaginarium in September. If you’re in the surrounding area or you’re willing to drive and you’ve got a burning desire to meet us, that’s where we’ll be. Charlie can’t come. They said something about “biohazards” and “fumes.” Bastards.
E: You have another book coming out this fall from Kraken Press. What can you tell us about that one?
M: The Mind is a Razorblade will be published this September by Kraken Press. It’s a supernatural neo-noir horror novel of a man born into death. Drowning, he wakes beside two corpses. His memory has been wiped clean. He doesn’t know his name, what he’s doing here, who these people are, or even why one of them is a cop. Questions plague his mind like hellfire, questions that begin a journey leading into the rot of downtown America, a journey that will not end until every one of his questions have been answered, despite who has to die in the process. Even if those who have all the answers aren’t even human.
A story of identity and redemption, satanist cults and funny bunny slippers, The Mind is a Razorblade is the deformed lovechild of a lunatic raised on cheesy ‘80’s science fiction movies.
E: You’ve also edited another tribute anthology. What was behind choosing Charles Bukowski and what are your plans for future tribute anthologies?
M: I’ve done two tribute anthologies so far. Volume one focused on Kurt Vonnegut, and the second featured Charles Bukowski. Both of these authors inspired me both as a person and a writer. They affected not only me, but millions of fans. I’m currently putting together a new volume for Elmore Leonard, and if any writers are interested, they have until September 30 to submit something to me.
I am actually on the fence about continuing the tribute series after Elmore Leonard. If I do, I’ll either tackle Flannery O’Connor or Roald Dahl.
Roald Dahl sounds like a lot of fun, to be honest.
E: If you could change any part of the publishing industry, what would you change and why?
M: Besides all the ass kissing that’s involved, probably the really shitty “publishers” popping up every two seconds. You know the kind I’m talking about. The publishers that pretty much release only anthologies, offering zero payment or contributor copies, and exist solely to make money off of writers’ friends and families. I would love to see them all fall off the face of the earth.
Max Booth III is the author of two novels, TOXICITY and THE MIND IS A RAZORBLADE, along with a collection of flash fiction called THEY MIGHT BE DEMONS. He is the co-founder of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and the assistant editor of Dark Moon Digest. The editor of numerous anthologies, he has studied under Craig Clevenger and award winning editor, Jennifer Brozek. He writes columns for Litreactor, Revolt Daily, and Zombie POP. Raised in Northern Indiana, Max currently works as a hotel night auditor somewhere in San Antonio with his dachshund and life partner. You can find Max at his website or on Twitter.