Declan Meade: There’s an element of the thriller in both of the books, in how the story is told.Hurrah! Stupid thriller lovers send the tills ker-ching buying literary fiction by accident, and everyone’s a winner, especially the delectable Ms Kilroy! Glad that’s settled. Oops, no it’s not …
Claire Kilroy: “Certainly when all the reviews came out for TENDERWIRE, they were all saying it was a literary thriller, which I’m not sure about. You’re always a bit cautious to end up in a genre, and I’m not sure exactly what that genre is. The last review I got was in the TLS, and it said the publishers are pushing this as a whodunnit and it’s not. It’s one of those things: you want people to read your book, so if the publishers say calling it a whodunnit means that more people might buy it, even by accident, that’s fine – it’s better than people not buying it at all.”
DM: We’ve spoken about plot and pace but your novels also have some beautiful descriptions and phrases that arrest the reader’s attention. How important is that aspect of the writing to you?Erm, yes, possibly - if you’re a poet. The delectable Ms Kilroy appears to have forgotten that language is not in fact ‘all’, but is simply one of the tools available to a novelist telling a story. But lo! The delectable Ms Kilroy hasn’t forgotten that, because her novels are constructed in – shock! – linear narratives in which characters engage in – quelle horror! – criminal acts in order to further the – ooh, the humanity! – story! So is the delectable Ms Kilroy really the self-consciously literary snob she professes herself to be? Or doth the lady protest too much in order to perpetrate a hilarious post-modern double-bluff? YOU decide!
CK: “It means far more than pace. See, to me, the thriller is an inferior form. I’ve never read a thriller – so I shouldn’t say it’s an inferior form (laughs) – but I’m not interested. The one quasi-thriller I did read was MISS SMILLA’S FEELING FOR SNOW, and it started off great, but then it became just a thriller, so what’s the point? Language is the all, and trying to express specific experiences, emotional experiences, through imagery and metaphor, that is what it’s about.”