Dancing Goat Press
  Max Yoho interview
 

Max Yoho is the award-winning writer of the novels and a collection of poems, essays and short stories. He has been compared to a contemporary Mark Twain.


Yoho was interviewed by Kristyn Morris:
The Man Who Conquered Reality
A Look into the Unusual Mind of Max Yoho —4-19-2014
Insight into the writing process as used by author Max Yoho.


Max's Fire: A biographical incident (A personal story Max doesn't like to talk about)
Insight into the fortitude of author Max Yoho, written by Carol Yoho —4-19-2014


Yoho was interviewed for Tracy Million Simmons Writers Blog:
Max Yoho Interview —6-2-2013
This interview includes many good links to other online information about Yoho and his writing.


Another interview with Yoho, originally in New Works Review, follows:  

 ▪ How did you become interested in writing?

 

I've always been a reader. I love to read. I'm retired and often, when I'm not writing or cooking, I'm reading. I read mostly fiction…in a wide variety. Among my favorite works are Canterbury Tales by Chaucer; Candide by Voltaire; the poetry of Poe, Kipling, and Robert W. Service; slice-of-life short stories by A. E. Coppard; and commentary by cowboy poet and philosopher Baxter Black.

My writing evolved from reading. The first bit of my writing I can remember was in a high school English class. I thought it was a pretty good essay. My teacher read it and seemed to have a new appreciation for having a school psychologist near at hand—in case she needed help in settling me down.

 
  Who and what has influenced your writing?
 

My dad should have been the writer. He never went beyond the eighth grade—those endless rows of corn were waiting. But, oh my, he could tell a story—subtly poking and prodding from all directions. He was an inspiration.

Also, Robert Benchley's many books motivated me. He wrote for the New Yorker magazine. See, Benchley could have leapt over the tallest building at a single bound…but why bother when one can take a cab?

Just before my twelfth birthday I was burned in a serious fire. While I don't recommend this as a way to gain insight, during my year of recuperation I believe I gained an understanding of what is important in life and what is not.

 
  What started you on your journey as a writer?
 

I was an older student, about twenty-five, when I first enrolled in English at Washburn University of Topeka. My Freshman Composition instructor was a rare jewel. She gave validation to my crazy mind, and I became a feature writer for the student newspaper, The Washburn Review. By then I was married, with sons and family obligations. I was trained as a machinist and worked for thirty-eight years in that trade. I wrote several short stories, songs and poems during those years, but tucked them away to focus on raising my family.

At the age of fifty-four—with my three sons grown—I was widowed. It was a difficult time for me. I found myself learning many new skills, including cooking and housekeeping.

Ah, but I was not alone. I had a very large gray cat who licked my nose and let me know I had a friend. I found myself sorting out my thoughts and feelings in a journal at that time—and writing poems and stories about, and for, my cat.

Through a series of fortunate incidents I found myself involved with a local writers' group, A Table for Eight. We used the Peter Elbow Method in critiquing each other's work. That group was a pivotal force in my growth and development as a writer. By the early 1990s my poems, essays and short stories were being accepted regularly for publication in Inscape, the literary journal of Washburn University. I owe a debt of gratitude to my colleagues in A Table for Eight.

 
  ▪ What has been the path of your writing career?
 

My favorite form of writing is the short-short story. I try to make each short story a photograph in words, allowing the reader to fill in the blanks—to smell the dirt under the porch, maybe know that the dirt under the porch became a ball diamond and, then, a parking lot for WalMart.

I decided to retire in the spring of 1992 and devote serious attention to my writing. What started as a coming-of-age short story expanded into my first novel, The Revival, a humorous tale of one week in the life of an eleven-year-old boy growing up in a small Kansas town. I bought my first computer and worked steadily on the novel for a couple of years—reading it, one page a week, to A Table for Eight until they urged me to go on without them. It took several more years for The Revival to be published, but reader response has been gratifying. The Revival had its fifth printing in Spring, 2005.

My second novel, Tales from Comanche County also started as a very short story, originally published in the Topeka Capital-Journal at the time of the millennium celebration. I had dreamed up two crusty, loving characters, Great-uncle Jack and Great-aunt Tildy. I realized that I had much more to say about them than any newspaper article could contain.

I often speak at events around the state of Kansas. Sometimes I read one of my poems or short stories and I am asked by listeners whether these pieces exist in print. In 2004 my collected poems, essays, and short stories became book #3: Felicia, These Fish Are Delicious. There is no "Felicia" and no "fish" mentioned within its pages, but the name is fun to say aloud. Try it. I always had in mind to write a book with that title…so now I have.

I was nervous about exposing my serious side in Felicia, but readers seem to accept this serious writing as well as my humorous work. Some have even told me they like it best.

I was pleased to gather good reviews of Felicia, including its listing as one of the "2004 Ten Best Reads" by Nancy Mehl of the Wichita Eagle.

I recently completed my fourth book and third novel, The Moon Butter Route. I seem to have not yet worked out my need to deal with adolescence. My twelve-year-old protagonist, living down in southeast Kansas, has inadvertently become a bootlegger. His mother is in the kitchen preparing her most famous (and only) meal: fried weenies. His father plots to move the courthouse a few feet to the south to make room for a steam whistle—which he believes will alleviate all the suffering of mankind.

Where is the school psychologist when I need her?

 
This interview originally appeared in New Work Review

The Revival
Tales from Comanche County
Felicia, These Fish Are Delicious
The Moon Butter Route
With the Wisdom of Owls

Me and Aunt Izzy

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