All about Max Booth III!
Literary Wunderkind Max Booth III may come off as irreverent and sarcastic to some, including me, but that’s not because he’s a dismissive, patronizing wiseass. Quite the opposite. He’s an unusually savvy human being that uses all formidable artistic tools at his disposal to honestly and creatively express himself, without getting all high-falutin’ about it. This makes him refreshingly unpretentious as a writer, commercially accessible to diverse demographics, and relatable as a human being. Mostly.
We’re all unique. But true non-conformists aren’t trying to be different. They’re just being true to themselves. And that either grabs you as a reader, or it doesn’t. If it does, that’s cool. If not, that’s cool, too. Not his problem. I can relate to that attitude.
Fortunately for Max, and for us, his hands-on approach to writing and publishing reaches a lot of people, without getting all touchy-feely about it.
You have a lot of balls, literary-wise, to juggle: prodigious novelist, prolific short story writer, in-demand journalist, and publisher/editor of your own press, Perpetual Motion Machine, not to mention your day (or night) job as an hotel auditor. For someone so young, what is the driving force behind this ambitious, audacious, awe-inspiring agenda?
I grew up with a family that practiced the fine art of doing absolutely nothing. No hobbies besides smoking cigarettes and watching trash reality TV. Working terrible, back-breaking jobs that left everybody miserable and exhausted. I want to be a different person. I want to create things and make an impact. When I was 18, I took a bus to Texas and never looked back. Writing and publishing and podcasts, it's all very exciting. I am not pretentious enough to claim any of this means anything to the world, but it means something to me. We're all just distracting ourselves until death finds us. How we choose to spend that in-between time is up to us.
Tell us a bit about the rollercoaster journey of your famous “hotel novel,” The Nightly Disease, including its initial inspiration and its recent resurrection.
I wrote about its journey in detail in the book's new introduction, "A History of Hotels,” but here's the tl;dr version: In 2012 I got a job working night audit at a hotel, the strange interactions with guests inspired me to write a novel, it was published in December 2016 by DarkFuse, DarkFuse filed for bankruptcy in the summer of 2017, fucking me out of my royalties, so I self-published it through my own small press in September. The new edition is now available, and it includes an introduction and other bonus content.
You maintain a lively, entertaining social media presence, mixing the personal with the professional, which are often intermingled. How important is this aspect of your overall mission statement as an author/publisher?
I really don't think about social media like that. I dislike trying to sell things on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Whateverthefuck and every time I post a link to a book I've written or published, I feel sick to my stomach. It's necessary, sure, but I guess it helps if you try to make the business-side of social media a bit more entertaining. I have no overall mission. I don't care about any of that. I don't give a shit about social media brands. It's all very gross.
What are your influences, literary or otherwise?
Probably the same bunch of folks everybody always includes. Stephen King, Joe Lansdale, Quentin Tarantino, Flannery O'Connor, etc. Do people really care about influences? Maybe it's more fun for them to figure it out by reading the work and connecting the pieces.
What’s next for you?
Well, I just released the new edition of The Nightly Disease. I have another novel finished called Carnivorous Lunar Activities, which is about a guy who suspects he might be a werewolf. I have no news about the book at this time. Publishing wise, we're preparing to release John C. Foster's Night Roads and Joe McKinney's Speculations through Perpetual Motion Machine, and we're putting the final touches on the next issue of Dark Moon Digest. We're also hard at work on our Stephen King podcast, Castle Rock Radio. I might take a nap later, too. Yeah. That sounds good. I like naps.
Sweet dreams, cheers.
PHOTO: MAX BOOTH III
Max Booth III is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Perpetual Motion Machine and the Managing Editor of Dark Moon Digest. He co-hosts the podcast Castle Rock Radio with his partner, Lori Michelle, and writes online for LitReactor and Gamut. He’s written some novels, too. Follow him on Twitter @GiveMeYourTeeth.