I’m so excited to have Max Murphy drop in the virtual offices! He just returned from an uber-dangerous trip to San Xavier, where he pretty much single-handedly saved the world! OK, so he had a little bit of help from his friends. That’s what friends are supposed to be for, right? Let’s see what Max has to say about his big adventure!
Max, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m fourteen, I live in Boston and I like playing video games, drumming, and listening to music. My favorite band is the Plague Rats. Certain reviewers have called me a brat at the start of the book, which I think is a little harsh. Besides, it’s always the parents fault, right? But it’s true that I had a lot to learn.
Do you consider yourself an average 14 year old?
You’re talking about the old Max Murphy right? Before I had my big adventure? When I was living my boring life in Boston? Well, I guess I’ve always been a little more self-sufficient than other kids my age. My parents are archaeologists and they leave me on my own a lot. I sometimes wish I had brothers and sisters. But then again, the old me liked not having to share his stuff with anyone.
All the cool stuff my parents buy me because they’re so guilty about leaving me – like my electronic drumset and my state of the art gaming equipment.
What do you think about San Xavier after your big adventure? I know that you weren’t very happy to spend your summer vacation there.
Yeah, we were supposed to be visiting my mom’s family in Italy and I’d been looking forward to it. At first I hated San Xavier. It looked like a third world country. I wanted to stay in a nice hotel with a swimming pool and room service, but I ended up sleeping in a tree. I honestly thought something was going to eat me. But the more I got to know San Xavier, the more I liked it. The ecology of the rainforest is cool and, once I’d got their weird sense of humor, I liked the people too. The one thing I don’t like about San Xavier is this whole creepy ancient Maya power trip. I don’t know what’s going on with the Jaguar Stones, but those Death Lords freak me out and I’d be very happy never to go inside another pyramid as long as I live.
Which do you prefer now – visiting the rain forest or visiting your family in Italy?
Hmmm. Let me think. The rainforest has Lola, but no pizza. Italy has great pizza but no Lola. How about I take Lola to Italy?
You and Lola had quite an adventure – what was scariest thing you had to do?
Shooting the underground rapids was scary, especially when I fell into the water and everything went pitch black. Climbing up through the Red Pyramid was scary – remember all the fog and that huge pile of frogspawn? Feeling that bony hand around my ankle in the Star Chamber was scary and so was floating in oblivion. Partying with the God of Violent and Unnatural Death was scary, especially when he served me live rat. And then there was the night that Lola was nearly sacrificed… but I think the scariest thing of all was when I first realized that mom and dad were being held prisoner in the Mayan underworld and it was up to me to rescue them. My stomach still flips when I think about it. A kid from Boston against the twelve Lords of Death. I didn’t think I stood a chance.
You learned so much about the ancient Mayans while you were racing to save the world from Tzelek – what aspect of their culture do you think is the most interesting?
The ancient Maya writing system was way cool. There are about eight hundred glyphs, some of them are complete words and some of them are syllable sounds – so they could write anything that could be said. I was also very interested in their idea of the cosmos, with its crocodiles and macaws and sun jaguars. And when Lola told me that they built all those pyramids without any metal tools, that was hard to believe. They didn’t even have wheeled carts, although they put wheels on children’s toys.
What was it like spending time with Mayan royalty? Do you think Lord 6-Dog and Lady Kan Kakaw are just like you or me?
Lord 6-Dog has some issues. He has that innate sense of superiority that is often a bit annoying. Especially when he looks like a howler monkey. Other times, he seems to treat me like a son. But it’s hard to talk to him because he’s never quite in the moment. He believes that time is a circle and that history repeats itself. He’s more interested in catching up with the history of the Maya than learning about the twenty-first century. Lady Coco, on the other hand, is having a blast in her new life. She felt restricted as a Maya queen so she’s really enjoying her newfound freedom. I guess, at heart, they’re just like you or me. I mean, they bicker with each other and look out for each other, like families do. They’re not as brutal or savage as my idea of the ancient Maya. Now that things have calmed down a little, I’m looking forward to getting to know them better.
I will keep this off the record – what do you really think of Lola? Any romantic interest there?
Why? Do you think she likes me? Has she said something to you? I wish I knew what she thinks of me. If you promise not to tell, I will admit that she is totally the coolest girl I have ever met. I’m hoping for some romantic interest. But I have to tell you that, in Book 2, I do meet someone else. Do you think it will make Lola jealous…?
What do you like to do when you aren’t saving the world?
Since I got home, you mean? Well, video games don’t seem quite as exciting now that I’ve had a taste of real life adventure. I’ve been learning as much as I can about the Maya because I still have to face the Death Lords at some point. I’ve been emailing Lola a lot and trying to persuade her to come to Boston. And I’ve been catching up with the Red Sox.
Thanks, Max! Take care, because I think you are going to have to face off against those nasty Death Lords sooner than you think!
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