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?
Honestly, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. The story both frightened and comforted, and the pov blew me away. It was one of those books where you close the covers and THINK. I LOVE that. And I liked the idea that Heaven is what you make it. Fascinating concept.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Diana Gabaldon, J.K. Rowling, Lionel Shriver, and stories from my past, like Jean Auel, Madeleine L’Engle, and Daphne du Maurier. Now isn’t that funny, I’ve just realized the entire list is comprised of women. I wonder what that means. Oh, nearly forgot – Lolita. Nabokov’s like a symphony to me.
Most satisfying writing moment?
It’s funny, as a debut author, you keep having these moments you think can’t be topped. First it’s meeting a hero, getting an agent, getting a deal, your name mentioned online, finishing the second book, the first panel, the first time you see your book, the first time it’s online for pre-sale ... I could go on and on. But the best so far, by far, was seeing it listed on my local library website. I wasn’t expecting to get picked up because I’m paperback, and a librarian from another county told me she never orders paperbacks. To find the unexpected, I think that becomes the most exciting moment of all.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
I am woefully under read in Irish crime fiction. Of course, I’m woefully under read in all crime fiction, I think. So this is a thus far … I have to go with John Connolly’s Every Dead Thing. As a debut novel, it’s timeless, and the writing was inspirational to me. Now, as I’m broadening my horizons, I’ve become a fan of Ken Bruen ...
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Again, I’ll refer back to Connolly. I think capturing Charlie Parker onscreen could be difficult, but if done well, quite intriguing.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
I haven’t found a worst thing. I love this. I love being able to say I’m a writer, and know deep in my heart I’m pursuing my dream. I feel inordinately lucky to have the opportunity to communicate with strangers. The best thing? Finishing the first draft of a manuscript. Suddenly, you’re not writing a book, you’re revising. And the pressure is off.
The pitch for your next novel is …?
Has the Snow White serial killer, dormant for twenty years, resurfaced, or is there a copycat working Nashville? It’s called 14.
Who are you reading right now?
M.J. Rose, The Reincarnationist, Jason Pinter The Mark, a biography of Mary Shelley by Miranda Seymour, Eightball Boogie and a few paperbacks. I tend to jump around when I’m working on my own stuff, there never seems to be enough hours in the day to read everything I want. My to-be-read pile is ridiculous, and constantly growing.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Tight, taut and intense.
JT Ellison’s All The Pretty Girls is published on November 1.
“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.