Yep, it's rubber-hose time, folks: a rapid-fire pick-'n'-mix Q&A for those shifty-looking usual suspects ...
What crime novel would you most like to have written?
I’m pretty torn here. The Big Sleep because it is immortal; Impostors (George V. Higgins) because the dialogue is pitch perfect; or just maybe The Sacred Art of Stealing (Christopher Brookmyre) because the plotline is so sharp, I can even forgive CB for being both younger and smarter than me.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Jack Higgins – and yes, I’d like to be remembered as a champagne-drinker, but when no-one’s looking I’ve been known to lash back flagons of cider.
Most satisfying writing moment?
As a journalist, reporting on Ireland’s opening match in the 1994 World Cup match for the Irish News. Still got the ‘Italy me arse’ t-shirt in the wardrobe. As an auteur, spending hours creating the apposite aphorism to encompass my heroine’s angst at her decision to forsake her true love. As all writers know, there’s an intense feeling of satisfaction in digging out the mot juste. (Settled on: “If only Cinderella hadn’t told the prince to go fuck himself.”)
The best Irish crime novel is …?
Loved Patrick McGinley’s Bogmail.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Running Mates – why do you think I put all the dialogue in?
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Worst: waiting. Best: when the waiting ends.
Why does John Banville use a pseudonym for writing crime?
Never saw the point in writing under a pseudonym and then telling everybody it’s you. (Unless of course John Banville isn’t his real name either …)
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Fast, sharp, profane.
Garbhan Downey's Running Mates is out now
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.