|Illustration by Luke Spooner, © LVP Publications
Welcome to The Pulp Horror Author Interview Series. Today's interview is with Max Booth III who explores the fear of poison in his short story "Manchausen" in The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias.
LVP PUBLICATIONS: What draws you to horror, both as a writer and as a reader? Who is your favorite horror creator? Who are your inspirations or influences?
MAX BOOTH III: Nobody’s safe in horror. When done right, nothing is predictable. I love the sensation of being dragged out of my comfort zone. I love Halloween decorations and cheesy spooky music and monster cereal. I don’t feel like a human being unless I’m hanging around skeletons and ghouls. My favorite horror creator is David Cronenberg. I’m inspired by everything. I’m influenced by everybody. I want to be buried in a Halloween Spirit Store.
LVP: What were your biggest fears as a child? Do you have any current phobias or fears now as an adult?
BOOTH: Abandonment, for sure. I often paced around my house, alone, terrified my parents had been killed in a car accident. I was also afraid of being taken away by Child Protective Services. Current phobias consist of probably everything. I live in a constant state of anxiety.
LVP: Horror has a million sub-genres, from psychological to splatterpunk. Which sub-genres have you written in? What's your favorite flavor of horror?
BOOTH: I don’t focus much energy on what sub-genre I’m writing in. It’s all horror, as far as I’m concerned. The moment I start giving a shit about what genre or sub-genre I’m falling in, is the moment the writing starts to weaken.
LVP: Is there any sub-genre or area of horror that you won’t go anywhere near? Any one area that is completely off-limits?
LVP: In your opinion, what is the scariest or most terrifying thing you’ve ever written?
BOOTH: Probably The Nightly Disease, a novel about a man who works the night shift at a hotel. Seeing as I still work the night shift at a hotel, I feel this pain the most.
LVP: Have you ever had an idea for a story so scary or disturbing that you couldn't bring yourself to write it down? Tell us about it.
LVP: Are there any ways that your interest in horror bleeds over (so to speak) into other areas of your life? Do you throw legendary Halloween parties, do you dress like Alice Cooper when you go grocery shopping, do you have a pet albino snake named Nosferatu?
BOOTH: Halloween is a big deal in our house. We create a little graveyard in the front yard, cover the house in decapitated heads and spider webs, etc. I like to sit on the front porch and write a horror story from beginning to end while handing out candy to kids, spooky music blaring throughout the neighborhood. I don’t really dress up, though. However, we do have a skeleton dachshund hanging around the house named Bones, and a tiny wolf-man child named Chad II.
LVP: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to try dabbling in horror writing for the first time?
BOOTH: Read contemporary titles from small presses. Learn what real horror is doing these days.
LVP: What would you like your legacy to be? Or alternatively, what should your survivors engrave on your tombstone?
BOOTH: I hope I die in a hilarious manner that people will laugh about for years and years.
~ Raised in Northern Indiana on an unhealthy diet of horror movies and Christopher Pike paperbacks, Max Booth III now lives in San Antonio, TX where he is constantly trying not to get shot. It is harder than you think. He is the author of several novels, including Carnivorous Lunar Activities, which was published in early 2019 as an original Fangoria Presents! paperback. His non-fiction has been published on websites such as LitReactor.com and CrimeReads.com. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Perpetual Motion Machine, the Managing Editor of Dark Moon Digest, the book reviewer for the San Antonio Current, and the co-host of Castle Rock Radio: A Stephen King Podcast. Visit his website TalesFromTheBooth.com to learn more and follow him on Twitter @GiveMeYourTeeth.
Pre-order The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias (paperback or hardcover) from your local indie bookstore through IndieBound, from Barnes & Noble or Amazon now... or come see us at Crypticon in Seattle, WA and StokerCon in Grand Rapids, MI to read this story along with all the other madness contained in The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias (including limited edition autographed phobia card sets, available at conventions only)!