Short, Sharp Interview: T. Maxim Simmler

gritfictionPDB: What’s going on now?

TMS: I’m giving a story for Near To The Knuckle’s ROGUE anthology a polish, and then I have three weeks to finish “Noon at Midnight”, a short crime novella supposed to be out in February.

PDB: How did you research this book?

TMS: “Noon at Midnight” is loosely based on Thomas Middleton’s “Revenger’s Tragedy”. So I reread the play twice, watched the adaptation with Christopher Eccleston and some articles on the piece. Then I binned all notes and started writing.

PDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?

TMS: Noon will be the first longer piece. If I had to select one of my short stories, it’s a tie between “Suicide Chump” in Thuglit #12 and “Darker with the Day” in James Ward Kirk’s “Bones III”.

PDB: What’s your favourite film/ book/ song/ television programme?

TMS: Film is easy. My Top Ten may be in constant change, but at the top of it has always been The Wild Bunch. Book? That’s a mean question. I’ll go with the novel I’ve read every year since I discovered it at fourteen – Elias Canetti’s “Auto da Fe”. I’ll choose “Der Leiermann”, the last song from Schubert’s Winterreise, as song. A nice, utterly depressing song about the futility of art at the end of a song cycle about a guy who sets out to wander through the country in winter till he dies. TV’s easy, too. I’m a hardcore Doctor Who addict since childhood. Stuck with it through the worst times (Colin fucking Baker), while I quit other shows after two bad episodes.

PDB: Is location important to your writing?

TMS: Nope. It’s all a rather heightened affair – the dialogue, the emotions, the violence. I’m trying to take the grand, operatic themes, like loyalty and betrayal, love and revenge, and let them play out between third rate criminals, or happen to your next door losers. Realism is not what I’m after, and I might just as well cast fairies and werewolves. So everything takes place in unnamed northern towns in an alternate reality. Also: I pretty much suck at location writing, and if I cannot avoid it, I labour for hours over a couple of sentences.

PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?

TMS: Right now everything’s in anthologies, magazines and e-zines. I hope I can avoid checking the rankings by telling me I’d rather have 100 readers who are really into the noirish crime stuff, than 10000 readers and 70% of them complaining about the number of “fucks”. Being pretty good at lying to myself, this might work out.

roguePDB: What’s next?

TMS: A horror novella, The Shakes, hopefully out in spring, and then a spaghetti western. The project I’m most excited about, however, is called WARD 12, an on-going anthology I’ll be co-editing. It’s Masters Of Horror for crime, noir and crime-noir-horror-tinted novelettes, with a fresh story by some of the best folks writing in the field, out every month as an e-book, and collected in a big, shiny tome after a year. If it’s a bit of a success, I’ll hand the keys to the building over after that, and it’ll move to the female ward. Or maybe an aeroplane toilet drops on my head.

Bio: T. Maxim Simmler writes crime, horror and assorted weird stuff. Say hello on the most swear word riddled page in the history of social media: https://www.facebook.com/TMaximSimmler