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?
I love James Ellroy, so probably one of his. Maybe LA CONFIDENTIAL or THE BLACK DAHLIA. Though it would have been special to write THE MALTESE FALCON too ...
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I don’t believe in guilt when it comes to reading. Read what you like and have no shame about it!!! Having said that, if you’re talking about books that other people might look down their noses at, I guess Mickey Spillane would probably rank high on my list. He might be down ‘n’ dirty, and his so-called heroines all turn out to be nasty, stab-ya-in-the-back vixens, but he’s lots of fun!!
Most satisfying writing moment?
Finishing my first novel at the tender age of 17 was probably my most satisfying personal moment. It was no bloody good (nor were the next 6 or 7!), but I’d proven to myself that I could take a story all the way to the end. All that was left after that was working hard enough to be able to tell a good story!
The best Irish crime novel is?
One of John Connolly’s. I have all of his books, but I only came to him recently, and I’ve only read a few so far, so I’m not in a position to pick a favourite at the moment – but I’m getting through them quite quickly, so I will be soon!
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Again, I’d have to go with Connolly. I think there’s great movie potential in his books – they’re crying out to get the A-grade treatment.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The worst thing is the isolation. You have to spend large chunks of your time by yourself, no company, no one to gossip with or discuss last night’s TV with. I miss being able to go to an office every day! The best thing is bringing stories to life which would otherwise never be told. The harder you work at writing, the more you develop, and you find yourself capable of writing stories that you never even dreamt you could tackle when you were younger.
The pitch for your next novel is?
HELL’S HORIZON (out in March 2009) is more of a straightforward crime tale than PROCESSION OF THE DEAD. A woman is murdered in a hotel. Her boyfriend is ordered by his boss (a crime kingpin) to investigate. He’s soon in over his head, and finds suspects everywhere he looks. He also comes to realise that the case ties in with his past and the death of his father. Someone’s playing with him, moving him around like a pawn piece, and it becomes much more than a case of just finding out who murdered his girlfriend. His entire life is under threat, as are the lives of those close to him ...
Who are you reading right now?
I’m currently reading THE KITE RUNNER. But I’m also working my way through the works of John Connolly and I recently began reading Meg Gardiner.
The three best words to describe your own writing are?
Twisted, twisting fun!!!
D.B. Shan’s PROCESSION OF THE DEAD will be published on March 3rd
“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.