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?
The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie. A great romp, lots of fun, some great jokes and really nice twists. It’s more of a spy thriller than a typical crime novel but it’s so good I just had to mention it. It’s also one of the very few cases in which a comedian has written a book that’s actually readable.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Old Marvel comics: I’ve got the first forty years of Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers, Fantastic Four and X-Men on DVD Rom (actual bought copies from shops - none of this bootleg stuff for me!). A lot of the early tales are silly, overblown and overwritten, but they’re presented with such fun and gusto that they’re tremendously entertaining.
Most satisfying writing moment?
Typing “The End” on the last day of every first draft. Even though the book still has a long way to go, getting the first draft completed always feels a major achievement. Reality kicks in a few days later when I go back over it with my Ruthless Red Pen.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
I really enjoyed Jim Lusby’s A Waste of Shame. It’s the sort of book that makes me wish I had a time-machine and fewer scruples.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Black Angel by John Connolly is very filmable. I can see it as a vehicle for someone like Ridley Scott. In fact, I’m surprised it hasn’t already been made.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Best thing: Being able to work from home. Worst thing: Constantly receiving phone calls from well-meaning friends and relatives who mistakenly believe I want to know how successful my peers are. “Did you see Darren Colfer was in the paper again? He’s sold a short story for eighteen billion dollars and it’s going to be made into a big-budget movie! And he’s bought another island! And he’s younger than you are! Isn’t that great?” Yes. It’s bloody marvellous. Now please leave me in peace to eat my hearty lunch of dry yellow-pack noodles straight out of the packet.
The pitch for your next novel is …?
Top secret. I never reveal anything about upcoming work until I’ve actually written it (because if I tell someone then I've gotten it out of my system and that diminishes the impetus to write). Besides, I’ve got four different ideas I’m currently developing. I know that’s usually a writer’s euphemism for “I’ve done nothing but play Solitaire on my computer for the past six months”, but I promise that this time it’s true.
Who are you reading right now?
Well, I could pretend that I’m reading something worthy by some obscure dead nineteenth-century writer, but I’m not. I'm re-reading Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels, and I’m about to embark on a lengthy voyage through Janet Evanovich’s entire Stephanie Plum series (if my sister ever gives them back).
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
After MUCH deliberation, I’ve concluded that the only three words that accurate describe my writing are: “By Michael Carroll”. Sorry. I was tempted to come over all humble and put “could be better” or something like that, but I’m not quite that mad.
Michael Carroll’s The New Heroes: Absolute Power 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.