I had an opportunity to throw some questions at Max Booth III (you know, the author of Toxicity and The Mind is a Razor Blade) and he responded by throwing some cookies at me. I like cookies, so we sat down and ate of them. He also gave me some answers to my more burning questions.
Keep in mind that as you read this there may be spoilers about some of this works…
ZM: Maddox Kane, was he arrested or did he manage to find a way to go free?
MB: Nope, not tellin’. I left Maddox’s fate intentionally open. What do you think happened?
ZM: Addison Kane, How much $$$ was actually in the bag? I mean, I know that Ruth sated it was about 1/4 of the winnings.. but how much was it?
MB: Enough to start a new life. I never figured out exactly how much. I don’t think it really matters, to be honest.
ZM: Addison is not exactly a “good guy” and seems to have some underhanded dealings with her father, but knowing her background we certainly see how she got to where she is, how do you think Maddox would react knowing she lied to him?
MB: If he had known the complete truth, then he might not have gone back to King, and most of the events in the book would not have happened. I don’t think he would have been too angry or anything, either. He’s too concerned about being a good father.
ZM: King, Is he still making and selling Purple?
MB: Yes. Unless, of course, Maddox escaped custody and murdered him. You may never know!
ZM: Goths, They seemed to be able to “handle” Purple better than Johnny. I state this only because they more or less warn him of the things he is going to experience before it starts happening to him. When we see Johnny try Purple, it grips him fast and does not let go. Did the Goths see The Fly as well?
MB: Most of the screen-time with the Goths is purely hallucinogenic, except for their introduction in the school hallways.
ZM: The Fly, Was it real or was it just brought on as a “hallucination” from Purple? Did the world end for everyone or just for Johnny?
MB: The Fly was a complete hallucination brought on by the Purple. Or maybe it’s not. Maybe the Fly exists and the Purple opened Johnny’s eyes, like the sunglasses from THEY LIVE. Of course, I know, but I ain’t sayin’. Because, you see, I’m a jerk. The world ending is purposely vague.
ZM: Did you read my title for the 2nd book, Toxicitii ? You’re totally gonna use that title aren’t you? Aren’t you? The Fly said you would.
MB: Toxicitii will be the title, yes. Good call.
ZM: I know that you have written flash fiction before, were any of the characters or elements from that a foreshadow to what Toxicity became? Like, has The Fly or Purple or Kane been in anything previous? Does anyone from Toxicity show up in The Mind is a Razorblade?
MB: No, not really. Although I do have a flash piece coming out soon called “Kurt Cobain Murdered My Father” that is about somebody addicted to Purple. Look for it in Post Mortem Press’s anthology, 44 Lies by 22 Authors. Also, Johnny makes a brief cameo in Razorblade, yeah. Kind of early on in the book, for maybe two or three paragraphs.
ZM: I’ve gotten most of my answers for Toxicity, but next I’d like to delve into some.. other areas.. We may jump around a bit… What does the Demon Blak do once he comes up to the surface?
MB: Probably gets a slice of pizza.
ZM: Toxicity was, to me, a bit of a dark comedy. In The Mind is a Razorblade, is it a bit more gritty than Toxicity?
MB: I would say that The Mind is a Razorblade is more horror-themed than Toxicity by a long shot. Razorblade could also be called a dark comedy, but there’s a lot less of a Tarantino feel to it and more of a Phillip K. Dick feel.
ZM: I’ve got to ask a forced question, please don’t torture me because of it.. How much of your inspiration comes from the people you encounter while you are at work? Can you cite anything specific that got translated into one of your books or stories?
MB: For Toxicity and The Mind is a Razorblade, not much of my customer service history came into play. I will say that I’m currently working on a novel about a hotel night auditor, and that obviously comes from my own hotel experience.
ZM: Next I want to ask you about the process. No, not the process in how you write, I think every writer is different when it comes to that, but rather.. I want to know the process you found to actually GET published. I’m not looking for the “secret entrance” for a writer to finally see their work in print, but rather, what advice can you give to someone who has decided to get published? What is the wrong way and what is the right way to approach a potential publisher to pick up their work?
MB: My advice is to research your markets. If you see a company you like, approach some of the authors they’ve published in the past. Ask about their experience with the company. Figure out exactly what you want the publisher to do for you. What can you gain by going with them that you can’t by going with somebody else? For example, I was really excited to go with Post Mortem Press for my first novel because they are constantly touring around the country at book conventions, selling your book at places you would have never been able to without their hard work. That’s not something every publisher will do. The wrong way to pick a publisher is by agreeing to any terms and conditions and going with the first person to send you an acceptance letter. There are a lot of bad publishers out there. Most of them don’t know any more than you do. So do your homework. Don’t be greedy to see your name in print. Do it right, even if it’s slow and hard and bloody.
There you have it folks (that’s such a cheesy line, but it never fails to work for wrapping things up), a great interview with Max Booth III! Be sure to check out our review of Toxicity and be sure to stay tuned for a review of his newest novel, The Mind is a Razorblade! Remember it’s due out on September 18th and details to order it can also be found towards the bottom of our Toxicity review.