QUIZZLEBOON is a redneck fairy tale about Leon Hicks, a one-eyed outlaw who joins an anarchist collective in the hills of North Carolina. Guided by an imaginary man from the moon named Mr. Quizzleboon, Leon searches within these dirt people for a sense of family that seems forever out of reach.
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Max Booth III is an author, editor, and publisher of weird fiction. He also does strange things in a hotel at night for a living. He loves books and rumor has it he has a new one out there, so I asked him to show me his shelves.
Who are you and what role do books play in your life?
I am the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, a small press of dark, weird fiction based in San Antonio. I have edited numerous anthologies, my most well known probably being So it Goes: a Tribute to Kurt Vonnegut. I’ve even written some stuff. Last year Dark Moon Books published my collection of bizarro flash fiction, They Might Be Demons, and Post Mortem Press is releasing my debut novel, Toxicity, in April. I also write online for LitReactor, Zombie POP, and Revolt Daily, not to mention my blog at TalesFromTheBooth.com, which I keep frequently updated.
PMMP publishes everything, and that includes bizarro. What space do you think weird fiction occupies in today’s literary scene and why do you choose to publish it?
Weird fiction has always been here. We just haven’t always called it weird; we’ve disguised it with terms like “experimental fiction”, which can throw some people off before even opening the book. The weird genre is loved by many, especially in film—Terry Gilliam comes to mind right away. In literature, we are able to be even weirder. Film can only take you so far, while words can dig into your mind and plant seeds.
The tribute anthologies are a great idea. How do you go about selecting the authors you’ll pay tribute to? Okay, so this cliché question has to follow that one: who are some of your favorite authors?
So far I’ve chosen writers that have played a big inspiration in my own writing. Writers that I read growing up. Vonnegut, Bukowski, Elmore Leonard…they are all writers that played a big part in shaping who I am as a writer. Plus they’re all dead now, and that’s a damn shame. But I am also trying to be careful and only choose writers that had a very distinctive style from others; writers that made this world their own. I’m not sure who I’ll target after Elmore Leonard. Time will tell.
You work, edit, publish, promote, write, and get your own work out there. How do you find the time to do it all?
I admit that my writing is not as frequent as it was before starting Perpetual Motion Machine, but I prepared myself for that beforehand. I’m lucky to have a full-time job as a hotel night auditor; it’s a very slow job, and leaves me with a lot of downtime, so I typically do all my editing and writing between 11 P.M. and 7 A.M. I am also very lucky to have a business partner, Lori Michelle, who picks up after all my slack and makes sure shit gets done.
What’s your latest book about and why should we pre-order that toxic bad boy?
Toxicity is my first novel. It is my love-letter to films like Snatch and Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels. It is the product of somebody who grew up watching the films of Quentin Tarantino and devouring the books of Elmore Leonard. You should pre-order it if you like dark comedies and crime novels. Fans of the absurd should look no further.
You should pre-order it because this is my first novel, and I need you to have faith, I need you to give me a chance. I am confident that this book will make you a fan for life. Because if it doesn’t, then what the fuck am I even doing?
My writing is my life, and my life is something I will not waste.