Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, beautiful people from around the whole world, I am Maxwell Cantrell, comedy writer extraordinaire, serial novelist and plagiarizer of catchphrases. Wubalubadubdub! Don’t google that. Any-who I’ve written two comedy novels about Lacerto, the god of small to medium-sized lizards, and his booze-fueled drunken revenge quest, and I guarantee that I will not be anywhere near this funny for the rest of the interview.
Tell me a favorite catchphrase you have plagiarized?
Probably the one that I used to start this interview: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, beautiful people from around the whole world, which I stole from the Starcraft commentator Day9. I like the way it feels so energetic to say, and ads an air of showmanship to whatever you plan to follow it up with. To see an example of what it can do, try rereading my introductory paragraph without it. Quite a difference right?
Yes, you are right… Bad artists copy, great artists steal… haha
What makes you extraordinary?
Well, like Douglas Adams, I am extremely tall, 193 cm by my last measurement, and I completed and published my first novel: A Tale of Gods, Mortals, and Jell-o Shooters when I was sixteen. I also have Heterochromia, although you can’t see it in my author photo.
What is Heterochromia?
It means when people ask me what color my eyes are I can answer D all of the above. Basically, when my left eye decided to be blue-green, my right eye didn’t get the memo and grew to have two colors in it instead, blue-green and brown.
That’s pretty charming
Do women hit on you a lot, because you are a published author?
I wish! That hasn’t happened yet despite the fact that I try to mention my books at least once per sentence, so they certainly know about them.
How do you approach a lady you like?
Typically I walk up to her, then to demonstrate my flexibility I firmly shove my foot in my mouth, after which I babble until I get rejected.
You know the standard plan.
Do you consider yourself to be a great conversationalist? Do you do better one on one or in a company?
I am somewhere between a brilliant conversationalist, in the right company, or a talking brick who is unable to make a joke for the life of him, in the wrong company. What determines the right company is highly dependent on whether or not I’m having a fun day, or whether or not the company I’m with understands my obscure 14th-century political jokes, or whether or not I use whether or not four times in a sentence.
Basically, I’m about as reliable as a ford truck submerged in mud on the moon.
But occasionally, I do indeed manage a conversation.
Do you write more for yourself or for those who are going to read?
I write completely for myself; however, I edit and publish for those who are going to read me.
That’s a fortunate strategy!
I enjoy it!
What is the hardest thing for a writer?
Constructing a working spacecraft out of rocks and glue with only one hand and a severe concussion.
In the writing process? It varies from person to person.
My hardest thing is writing the bit between the beginning and the end.
We are talking only about yourself.
Middles are hell for me. I’d rather make that spacecraft than write Act 2. But I do it anyway to get to the end, then I polish until the readers don’t know how much I slogged through that part.
Tell me about why are you so fond of Mythology?
I’ve always been fascinated by stories, and the oldest stories we know of are mythological in origin. To understand modern fiction, I like to look at its source. Also, mythology is full of explosions, sex, and world-destroying apocalypses in which the gods duke it out over a boiling sea and a blood red sky, so you know, there’s that.
Mythology existed before ratings.
Do you do your homework to research it, or do you play with your imagination?
I do both, extensively looking up which god I’m going to be using, then spinning them into something new and fresh if I can manage it. I also have been known to make entirely new gods, like for instance my main character Lacerto.
Lacerto the Lizard God?
How does one serve Lacerto?
The one and only. Well, one must follow the Seven Commandments you see. Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not cover(sic) thine neighbors ox, Thou shalt never change thine behavioral patterns due to the second commandment nor shalt thou pay attention to the second commandment, Thou shalt never steal alcoholic beverages from your god. Ever. Thou shalt not commit religious genocide while the god of said religion is passed out drunk in his office nor shalt thou allow another to commit such atrocities, Thou shalt provide at least one alcoholic beverage for your god every month, and lastly, written in ever smaller script as he ran out of space on the holy tablet, Thou shalt think ahead.
Oh, and spoilers, for chapter 3.
Well, it’s very funny!
So your God is habitually drunk?
How do other Gods treat him?
He most certainly is. The other gods hate him because his relentless narcissism is slightly more annoying than their own. And because he refuses to join a pantheon.
That’s cool, you hooked me already. And how do other gods behave? I mean do they do what’s expected from them?
Only if you expect them to be assholes and screw each other over to increase their own powers.
The divine community I portray is infamous for relentless infighting, backstabbing, and narcissism.
Is romance cheesy?
That depends on the situation, the people in the relationship, and the writer.
In my books, I certainly hope not! In say E.L. James’s books I’d say yes, but people love them anyway.
The cheesiest romance is the sordid affair between house Cheddar, and house Parmesan through which two young lovers die to put their houses at peace.
Does being a writer hinder you from being a good reader?
No, I’d say it doesn’t. Just because I know how the writer is creating the emotional arc of the story, and where its scenes are supposed to go to keep the pacing proper, doesn’t mean I enjoy that ride any less.
Have you ever been in love?
Yup! I fell in love with a wonderful girl around 19 months ago but I had to leave the relationship due to extraneous circumstances. I don’t think I’ve stopped loving her, and it still hurts to think about what I lost, but yes I have been in love.
Have you devoted something to her, like a story or a little poem?
Can’t say that I have. That’s just not why I write.
What then fuels your writing?
Enthusiasm, and the desire to get the story out of me! I have all these stories swirling around my head like fish in a whirlpool, and the only way I can get rid of the fish is to put them down on paper! I also write because it’s really really fun, and it gives me an excuse to go outside and travel to a cold cafe where I can sit outside of the crushing heat of my apartment.
Tell me about this cafe?
In my city, Tallinn, there is an absolute shitload of Cafe Caffeines, around, practically everywhere. Each of them creates amazing chai, and the closest one to my house for whatever reason is also the coldest. They’ve got a great vibe, and great chai, as well as the most important feature of any writing cafe: great plug access!
What is great chai… According to Jerome Jerome “After a cup of tea (two spoonsful for each cup, and don’t let it stand more than three minutes), it says to the brain, “Now, rise, and show your strength. Be eloquent, and deep, and tender; see, with a clear eye, into Nature, and into life; spread your white wings of quivering thought, and soar, a god-like spirit, over the whirling world beneath you, up through long lanes of flaming stars to the gates of eternity!”
What is chai to you?
Sounds like Jerome Jerome was drinking LSD because auditory hallucinations are not a common property of tea. Chai to me is a sweet aerated fluid, that spikes my blood-sugar while giving my brain caffeine. I like it because if I order it iced, they give me cold sweet aerated fluid, that also lowers my body temperature.
Do you smoke as well?
No, I don’t. Cigarettes are really bad for you, and I want to write as many novels as possible. Other smokable things are usually illegal, and also bad for you, although I often inhale the smoke of scented candles, that isn’t the purpose of the exercise.
What advice would you give to writers less fortunate than you in talent?
You don’t need talent to produce great novels and make money with them. All you need is a skill. Practice, read a lot and learn about the craft. You will get better, and eventually, if you go hard enough will even become great!
What is there in your life besides writing?
Well, I read a lot, and I go to Tallinn University. I also have a semi-active social life and eat an unholy shit ton of sugar.
I really have a problem, guys…
The three words you long to hear: Chocolate isn’t fattening!
What degree do you pursue?
Do you want to become a politician?
I’m not sure about that, however, I do want to help the world, and I think engaging with politics is the easiest way to do that.
Besides the obvious necessities, what do you spend your money on?
I like luxury Cheddar cheese, and spend a considerable amount of my budget on cafes.
What do you think has to be done in the world so that everyone gets an equal chance?
I mean a chance for living, not for existing.
Overwhelming political reform in every country on earth and the end of economic scarcity – I don’t think that’s achievable. My goal isn’t to give everyone an equal chance, but to give most people a better chance. To do that, a couple of suggestions include transitioning to green energy before the coasts get flooded and disease runs rampant through the third world, redistributing excess food to areas with starvation, and the implementation of a basic minimum income. 🙂
Those are also extremely hard so I will probably have to start smaller still, with reform in individual cities or states.
It’s good that you have a vision.
What is your idea of the best trip, how do you spend time when traveling?
I tend to hit up museums, and historical sites, before getting tired and going to cafes to write. During the traveling process, I like to spend my time cursing fate for granting me my enormously long legs! I fly a lot.
And airplanes seem to be designed for sardines for whatever reason.
Do you believe in mythological beings like fairies – do you think they have existed, have the Greek Gods existed, what do you think?
Short answer: No. Long answer: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooo!
Maxwell Cantrell’s books are called A Tale of Gods, Mortals, and Jell-o Shooters, and Power Poseidon and Pina-coladas. You can buy them on Amazon, Kobo, Apple Books, or any other e-books portal! Buy his stuff!!!!
Aren’t you afraid of fame?
Not at all! Fame sounds awesome to me, at least the kind of fame you can get from writing. Where no one recognizes you, but you receive constant adoration and money. Besides, author fame is about as rare as finding a Republican with integrity!
So when will the interview be up?
Let’s thank Maxwell, for the Lizard God, and the wonderful cocktail small talk!
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