Yep, it’s rubber-hose time, folks: a rapid-fire Q&A for those shifty-looking usual suspects ...
What crime novel would you most like to have written?
Has to be Donald Westlake’s The Hot Rock. I love caper novels and that’s a classic that just makes me laugh every time I read it (which is about once a year).
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
That’s a tough one because for me no reading is a guilty pleasure – if I don’t have a book handy in the loo I’ll read the back of the toilet roll pack (did you know, by the way, that there are an average of 241 sheets in a roll of Andrex and the average total roll-length is 29.76m?). Most of my guilty pleasures come in the form of TV. I was off work for a few weeks recently with a chipped bone in my ankle and I spent all morning watching all the How To Get Rid Of The Crap In Your Attic programmes. I can now spot a Victorian cake-stand at 20 paces.
Most satisfying writing moment?
Winning The Lefty for most humourous crime novel of 2006. I still can’t believe it. My biggest regret though is not thinking for one moment that I would win and hence not preparing a speech. Apparently (and I say apparently because I have no clue what I said) it was the most ridiculous (but, thankfully, short) acceptance speech imaginable.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
One of Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor series. Either The Guards because it’s the first in the series and I was so excited when I discovered it, or The Dramatist even though it made me cry at Prestwick airport and they sent security to see if I was OK.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
See previous answer. I’d love to see the Jack Taylor series on either the big or the small screen.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Best ... so many things – I love it when I have an idea for a character and sit and write a scene and it just all flows out. The encouragement and support of fellow crime writers is heart-warming. It’s all been great fun. The worst – thinking that everything I write is a big pile of steaming shite (can I say that? If not, change it to something less odoriferous).
The pitch for your next novel is …?
Two elderly ex-hookers turned con artists on the run from an Australian hitman are hiding out in Glasgow, fleecing Scotland’s rich and famous out of their hard-earned cash. They hatch a plan to steal a pair of jewel encrusted shih-tzu dogs from a Glasgow museum. Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones.
Who are you reading right now?
Most recently finished was Kevin Wignall’s Who Is Conrad Hirst?, which is about a hitman who has decided to get out of the business. To do so, he thinks the best way is to kill his way out – disposing of the few people who know about him. A wonderful book – a look at the meaning and value of life to someone who is existing, rather than living. Kevin Wignall’s writing gets better and better. Spare, but full of depth and feeling. If this doesn’t propel him into the big time I’ll be exceedingly surprised. It’s one of those satisfyingly perfect books that all way through you are on edge wondering how it’s all going to pan out, and then when you’ve finished it’s so much more than you anticipated.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Well, when my mum read the first chapter of my book, my dad told me she wandered around the house shaking her head and muttering “Weird, weird, weird. My daughter is weird.” So I think I will just go with that – weird, weird, weird.
Donna Moore’s Go To Helena Handbasket is available in all good bookshops
“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.