See the terrific new review of ‘Mindbenders’ from the Paranormal Romance Guild here.
The following is an exclusive interview with Max Renn, the reputed former Soviet spy and now alleged terrorist. The interview was conducted several months after Renn and three others were implicated in an assassination plot at the G8 in Rome:
Ted: Thanks for agreeing to this interview.
Renn: No, it doesn’t matter and not on your life.
Ted: Excuse me?
Renn: Those are the answers to the first three questions you were going to ask.
Ted: Well, okay, great—we get you’re a mindreader—but nobody will understand the answers unless I ask the questions first.
Renn: Just insert them in the transcript. I won’t tell.
Ted: I can’t do that. I have just a little integrity left and I’m trying to hold onto it. Can’t we just do this normally?
Renn: It’ll be over much faster my way. In the Lab, in Novosibirsk…
Ted: Why did you agree to do the interview if you’re going to make a shambles of it?
Renn: My colleagues persuaded me this would be good for us. And Greg wanted the publicity for his book.
Ted: You mean ‘Mindbenders’? Available in ebook and paperback, links for purchase at the end of this interview.
Renn: I see what you mean about your integrity.
Ted: And, by the way, it’s my book. I wrote it. It says ‘Ted Krever’ on the cover.
Renn: You are a front. You edit Greg’s manuscript and fill in a few details that Greg doesn’t have at his disposal.
Ted: I wrote every word of that book. Several times.
Renn: I delivered Greg’s manuscript into your mind. You typed it and did a little minor editing. You wrote the one chapter that Greg didn’t directly witness, the Jerry Lowery chapter. Which, if I may say, read like a cheap thriller.
Ted: Good thing you’re not a literary critic.
Renn: Unfortunately for you, others are. You are also useful because you possess a Social Security number and bank account so you can collect the income from the distribution websites, which Greg can’t do at the moment.
Ted: Because he’s a wanted terrorist.
Renn: We are innocent of that charge.
Renn: The Kardashians are on the cover as much as we are. We are in the media because they have ratings to hit and newspapers to sell. The government says we are terrorists so they parrot that line.
Ted: So this is all a government conspiracy against you?
Renn: It is a conspiracy of people who influence government—and business and media—at the highest level.
Ted: And you’re going to claim the income from the book?
Renn: At the moment, you’re not making enough to be worth claiming. Your tax man will take more to do your taxes next year. But if you should ever develop any meaningful income, there are things you’ll want to do for us.
Ted: Because you’ll suddenly become my best friends?
Renn: Because I’ll make you want to.
Ted: If you can do that, why not just make me send you money out of my account now? Why wait?
Renn: Because that is my integrity. And if I was going to raid someone’s bank account, you wouldn’t be top of the list.
Ted: You’re a pretty ruthless guy. Greg doesn’t portray you that way.
Renn: At the moment, I have every intelligence and police network in the world focusing on capturing me. The niceties tend to fall away.
Ted: But if we were to meet at a cocktail party, I would find you charming?
Renn: At a cocktail party, you would find me near the piano, concentrating on the music.
Ted: You’re a music lover?
Renn: If my other choice is listening to the thoughts of everyone at a cocktail party, yes, I’m a music lover.
Renn: If your purpose is to manipulate people and steal their secrets, yes.
Ted: That’s a bigtime business these days.
Renn: That’s certainly correct. Far too big.
Ted: So what’s the downside?
Renn: We think of others as civilized beings precisely because we don’t know what they are thinking. When you hear people’s real thoughts—when you understand the confusion, anger and fear that drive them—it’s hard to be very hopeful. I’ll admit, Kate tells me I’m a pessimist.
Ted: Ya think? Is that why you were living in the Everglades when all this began?
Renn: it’s peaceful there. Alligators and pythons are disagreeable but they don’t have stressful thoughts. And no guile. I’ll take them over people most of the time.
Ted: But Greg and Kate are your friends. Dave Monaghan was your friend.
Renn: Dave knew who I was and asked nothing of me. That made him unique in my life. Greg is a brave man, a soldier. I admire him. He remembers almost nothing, most of what he remembers comes to him as nightmares. He has seen the dark side of the world. He doesn’t deny it but prefers to see the bright. That’s bravery to me. Kate…is Kate. She is like me, she knows people’s thoughts, though she’s fortunate in that she can turn them off if she wants to. She…understands me as well as anyone can.
Ted: That sounds like a good thing.
Renn: It should be.
Ted: You seem uncomfortable with the subject.
Renn: I’m not.
Ted: It didn’t seem to bother you that the world’s cops and spies are after you but she makes you nervous.
Renn: She’s a woman.
Ted: You don’t like women?
Renn: I’m a man. I long for them. But longing is dangerous. Women get under your skin. You’re telling me you don’t know what this is like?
Ted: No, I’m not saying that.
Renn: Ah yes, I see you have your own problems…
Ted: Well, thank you for the interview. I wrote the book, by the way. I made you up out of nothing.
Renn: Right. Which is why you’re interviewing me. And why you’re annoyed I’m getting the better of you.
Ted: I’m not…
Renn: I’m quite willing to continue. We can talk at length about your relationship issues…
Ted: I don’t have any issues. I’m just emotional.
Renn: I see a hole there that isn’t going away anytime soon.
Ted: Something you should know something about.
Renn: True. We have this in common.
Ted: I know. I wrote that scene. I wrote the damn book.
Renn: Alright, have it your way. Enjoy your illusions. While you can.