'Somebody Else’s Dream:' An Interview with Author Maxim W. Furek
Updated: Aug 2, 2022
Somebody Else’s Dream: Dakota, the Buoys, & "Timothy" by Maxim W. Furek commemorates the 50th anniversary of one of Billboard's most polarizing songs, "Timothy." The novel serves as a cautionary narrative about the pitfalls of fame, substance abuse, and censorship. As with his earlier works, Furek draws on his broad perspective in psychology, addictions, and rock & roll to provide unique insight into the true cost of success.
To learn more about the story behind the story, read A Good Book To End The Day's interview with the author below.
When did your love of writing begin?
I began writing and drawing at an early age, around five or six. I wrote comic books for my younger brother and usually featured him in the stories. I read a lot, boy’s adventure and science fiction. Bomba, the Jungle Boy, was one of my favorites. We read a lot of Classics Illustrated, which featured authors like Jules Verne, James Fenimore Cooper, and Robert Louis Stevenson. It was a great way for us to be introduced to the classics. Much later, I began to identify myself as a writer in practical and romantic terms. I saw myself as a writer like Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Kerouac. I related to the idea of the starving, struggling artist paying his dues and suffering the joy of his craft. And I knew that it was a long and arduous journey and that the corporate system exploited writers and perhaps all artists. But it was the road I was meant to take. It defines much of who I am.
Tell us about Somebody Else’s Dream: Dakota, the Buoys, & "Timothy" and what inspired you to write this book.
Somebody Else’s Dream: Dakota, The Buoys, & “Timothy” celebrates the 50th anniversary of “Timothy,” one of Billboard's most controversial songs. “Timothy” was composed by Broadway playwright (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) and pop singer Rupert Holmes (“Escape (The Piña Colada Song.”)
“Timothy” was banned by major radio stations. It echoed allegations of cannibalism surrounding the 1963 Sheppton mining disaster. Sheppton has elements of the miraculous and paranormal and has been called a “continuous, collective hallucination,” an out-of-body experience, a miracle by Pope John XXIII, and proof of life after death. Fate Magazine described Sheppton as “unmatched in the annals of psychic research.” It was called “one of the most significant” news stories of the year by The Associated Press.
Somebody Else’s Dream depicts a cautionary tale of substance abuse and the actual price of the rock and roll fantasy. "Timothy" is a contemporary topic. It represents a sad list of songs and books banned by those who dictate what songs we should listen to or what books we should read. Censorship is alive and well in the USA.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned about yourself while creating your book?
That I could be ready, willing, and able to finish my project. I completed Somebody Else’s Dream during the pandemic of 2020. Finishing the book became my mission. It became my therapy during the pandemic. I was organized, focused, and goal-directed. I was able to channel something unique, and it allowed some of my best creative moments. Somebody Else’s Dream is, I believe, my best book.
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.
I wish someone would ask about the connection between The Buoys, who recorded “Timothy,” and Frank Zappa. Zappa was recognized as a highly accomplished musician and an advocate against censorship. “Timothy” represented the suppression he rallied against.
Zappa intelligently debated Tipper Gore, the second-first lady. Listening to a copy of Prince’s Purple Rain with her 11-year-old daughter, Gore was offended by the track “Darling Nikki,” which included a sexual reference. Gore organized the Parents Music Resource Center. The PMRC identified fifteen songs as obscene due to sexual content, violence, or drug use. The PMRC called them the “Filthy Fifteen” and mandated that parental-warning stickers be placed on them. Timothy” would have been among the “Filthy Sixteen” if recorded 14 years later.
Somebody Else’s Dream celebrates Zappa’s courageous stance against censorship. At the same time, “Timothy” symbolizes the censorship that rages today, not only in music but also in books frequently challenged or outright banned by politicians and school boards around the country.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I tend to write with direct, straight-to-the-point prose like Hemingway, shift to a stream of consciousness, and then drop in some poetic, artsy prose. All of those techniques work, but only in small doses. A writer has to respect his audience and make his stuff somewhat easy to read. I love the writing process and am always learning. It’s essential to read other authors.
What does literary success look like to you?
I like the sensation of holding a newly published book in my hands. To look at the cover and feel the spine. It’s a beautiful feeling of self-accomplishment and completion. It represents that period in time that was devoted to completing the project. Success is a personal and intimate thing. We get to define what it is.
I’m fascinated that you were able to interview celebrity demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. What was that like, and how did it impact your interest in the paranormal?
The Warrens reflected my interest in the paranormal, and I have always been fascinated by that topic. My book, Sheppton: The Myth, Miracle & Music, investigated supernatural events during a 1963 mining disaster. After it was published, the doors to the magical realm opened a bit. I have been featured on Exploring the Bizarre with the legendary Timothy Green Beckley (Mr. UFO) and Tim R. Swartz (Commander X). I have been interviewed on Darkness on the Edge of Town, Darkness Radio, Dark Sun Rising, and Midnight in the Desert (with Heather Wade). And I am a contributor to Fate Magazine, Normal Paranormal, and Paranormal Underground.
Do you have any other projects in the works at this time?
Yes, I’m completing a book about the paranormal, Forbidden Tales From Inside the Pit, and I believe I’ve discovered a market for this. Also, I’m writing my first fiction piece, a psychological thriller called Florida Rapture, which has been a lot of fun, especially creating the characters and the interaction.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
The best way is through my website, which helps describe who I am and my interests.
Thanks so much for being part of the A Good Book To End The Day family! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes, thank’s so much for this opportunity. Authors are always looking for venues to reach potential readers. This is so exciting to be included in your efforts. We need to promote libraries, free speech, and the written word. This is essential in our society. Everyone needs to make their voices heard, especially with so much divisive and hate-filled speech out there. We all have an obligation in a free society to be educated on the issues and to speak out about them. For example, Biden Won! Trump lost! Now, let’s all say it together!