Who: Max Booth III
What: Author of three novels, Editor-in-Chief of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, an editor of Dark Moon Digest, and an ongoing columnist at LitReactor and Slush Pile Heroes. He works as a hotel night auditor.
Where: San Antonio, Texas
Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.
Your latest book, HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY KIDNAP STRANGERS, is about a writer who kidnaps an obnoxious book reviewer. Was there one specific review that inspired you to create this story? Have you ever had an altercation with one of your reviewers?
The concept of the novel was partly inspired by news stories at the time about this author confronting someone who gave her book an awful review on Goodreads. Like, actually tracking the reviewer down in person. Maybe the author killed the reviewer, or maybe they settled their differences over pies. And there was another author who lost his or her shit on a Goodreads review and just completely embarrassed himself/herself in the comments section trying to defend the book. Of course, now I can’t remember who either of the authors were, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t imagine these stories.
The weirdest altercation I’ve had with a reviewer was back in January I wrote a column for LitReactor about how reviewers do not have to finish a book before reviewing it. If a book really is that bad, then it is perfectly reasonable to review it without finishing. Well, the same day that article was published, I noticed very cruel one-star reviews on all of my novels. It was obvious the reviewer was just doing this to prove some kind of insane point. Anyway, I figured out it was some lunatic, who is—surprise, surprise—also an author. I probably would have shrugged and moved on, if not for the fact that this dude actually lives here in San Antonio with me and we go to a lot of the same local conventions. So I messaged him and asked what the hell his problem was, and he freaked out and started private messaging my close friends and family about how he “got one over on the legendary Max Booth III”. Long story short, I looked at his own books on Amazon and discovered an abundance of one-star reviews from people who admitted to not finishing them due to excessive rape scenes, so I guess my article just hit him where he was sensitive. I’m still waiting for him to eventually murder me.