Friday, June 2, 2017

Interview with Max Booth III, Author of The Nightly Disease, Editor-in-Chief of Perpetual Motion Machine, and Managing Editor of Dark Moon Digest

Ames: You put a lot of yourself into your novel, The Nightly Disease. Not everyone knows that your novel is about someone who has your job outside of writing, working at a hotel. What would you say is the scariest experience you have ever had while on the job?

Booth: A few months ago I walked into the hotel and the 3-11 shift employee told me he'd spotted a snake out through the foyer's big picture window, so I went back out and tried to find it but didn't see anything. I'm standing half inside the hotel and half out, yelling at my co-worker that he's crazy, there's nothing out here. He heads toward me to prove me wrong, then stops dead in his tracks and screams and flees down the hallway. Slowly, I look down and BETWEEN MY LEGS there's a rattlesnake in the process of hissing and rising. I jumped out of the way just as it attacked. It barely missed me. That's by the far the scariest thing to ever happen at work. I've been having nightmares about snakes almost every night since.

Ames: You have said you lived in a hotel from 12-16 and that it wasn’t exactly pleasant for you. You also said you put a lot of yourself into The Nightly Disease. In the story, the character reverts back to OCD tendencies they had as a child – and he says part of this comes from being in a motel during his childhood. Is that part also autobiographical?

Booth: The OCD stuff and living in a hotel as a kid is all true, yeah. Some of it was originally written for the now defunct website, Revolt Daily, which I recycled for the novel. Fun fact: my father owned a hotel before I was born, and that's how he met my mother. She applied to be a bartender...or something. He didn't own it very long, though. Either he sold it or lost it, I'm not entirely sure. Then, yes, we all moved into various motels and hotels when I was a teenager. It was not very fun. I developed severe OCD that in retrospect should have definitely been treated. It resulted in scratching my flesh until blood was drawn and, yes, cutting myself with scissors and knives. I mostly have the OCD stuff under control these days.

Ames: You have said you love Joe Lansdale, mostly because he blends genres so well. What Joe Lansdale novels or stories would you list as your top 3?

Booth: Lansdale is the best. My favorite novel is, hands-down, The Bottoms, which is kind of like a better version of To Kill a Mockingbird. I'm also gonna cheat and include the entire Hap & Leonard series as one book. My favorite short story of his is a tough one to choose, but I'm gonna go with "Godzilla's Twelve Step Program", which is available free online here:

Ames: I just recently read your book, and I think you have one of the strongest voices I have ever read. Nothing I have read has gone by as fast. Who do you believe has the best voice in horror, if you had to pick one writer?

Booth: Thank you, you're very kind, those words mean a lot to me. I should note that I've just been given word The Nightly Disease will be going out of print sometime in June, sadly. The publisher is stepping down to a part-time role and releasing a bunch of his back catalog from distribution. It sucks, but it's the way publishing goes sometimes. I'll eventually find a new press to take it on or I'll just end up releasing it again myself. Who knows? Maybe six months is the ideal length for a book!
As for your question, I don't want to be a boring person and say someone like Stephen King, so I'm going to go with Josh Malerman, who is relatively new to the scene but absolutely reads like a seasoned pro. If fans of horror aren't reading Malerman, I feel bad for them. Oh, and also John Foster, and Betty Rocksteady, and Lori Michelle, and Jessica McHugh, and Philip Fracassi, and Matthew M. Bartlett, and Laird Barron, and John Langan, and Gemma Files, and Damien Angelica Walters, and Gabino Iglesias, and Michael Bailey, and Bracken MacLeod, and George Cotronis, and Stephen Graham Jones, and Kristi DeMeester, and Alyssa Wong, and T.E. Grau, and Christopher Slatsky, and Ashlee Scheuerman, and Joshua Chaplinsky, and James Newman, and Paul Michael Anderson, and Michael Paul Gonzalez, and Autumn Christian, and Jon Padgett, and...shit, man, I could keep going and going.

Ames: You have said that you bring a lot of your job at a hotel into your writing, especially in The Nightly Disease. Have you ever thought you might get in trouble with your job or lose your job based on something you have written?

Booth: Yeah, I used to be pretty afraid of it, but now I no longer care. There are other jobs. I'd rather be entertaining than censor myself because I was worried about what a manager might think. Fuck it. Life's far too short for that kind of stress.

Ames: How goes Gnawing on Bone? Can you tell the readers a little about it?

Booth: It's actually titled Carnivorous Lunar Activities now, and I can't really say much about it. It's finished, and remains a free agent. One press is currently seriously considering it, so I have my fingers crossed it all works out. But plot wise - it's werewolf book, and it's also a friendship book. There are really only two characters, and the entire book mostly takes place in a basement. During the writing process, I did something weird and wrote all of the dialogue before anything else, then after it was finished, I went back in and added more narrative. I...would not recommend doing this. 

BIO: Max Booth III is the Editor-in-Chief of Perpetual Motion Machine and the Managing Editor of Dark Moon Digest. He writes online for LitReactor and Gamut and hosts the Stephen King podcast, Castle Rock Radio, with his partner, Lori Michelle. He's also written a bunch of books. Find out more information at and follow him at Twitter @GiveMeYourTeeth.