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?
Anything by Elmore Leonard. The man is a genius.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Janet Evanovich, Marian Keyes, anonymous estate agents on ‘Rightmove’ selling seaside houses I’m never going to live in.
Most satisfying writing moment?
13 October 2005. Sitting at home contemplating the futility of life, as you do when you’ve managed to fail interviews for several jobs, including your own, and you’re going to have to stop wasting time writing and find something useful to do for the rest of your sorry existence. The agent phoned and said, ‘We think we ought to tell you what’s been going on down here ...’
The best Irish crime novel is …?
STAR OF THE SEA isn’t really a crime novel is it? Oh, sorry – it’s you who asks the questions. STAR OF THE SEA, then.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Colin – no, Bateman’s – BELFAST CONFIDENTIAL. Or anything else involving Dan Starkey that hasn’t been filmed yet.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Worst – when it all goes wrong you can’t blame another department. Best – you can say you’re working without getting out of bed. Plus ‘I want to buy that book’ becomes ‘I really need to ...’
The pitch for your next novel is …?
Exasperated Legionary medic goes home to Gaul to sort out his family’s debt problems, and manages to make everything significantly worse.
Who are you reading right now?
Sarah Bower, Roland Vernon, White and Folkens’ THE HUMAN BONE MANUAL, and the Book of Amos.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Read. There’s more CJ Sansom and Simon Scarrow waiting out there, and I’m tired of being the social outcast who hasn’t read LABYRINTH or Lemony Snicket.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Right now, halfway thro’ a novel and realising the great ideas in my head don’t look so great on paper ... the words are ... not very nice. No, those aren’t the words themselves, I mean ... oh, never mind. How can I write a novel when I can’t answer a simple question fluently? Oh. Yes. I remember now, officer. You ask the questions.
R.S. Downie’s RUSO AND THE DEMENTED DOCTOR hits the shelves on March 6.
“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.