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?
IN COLD BLOOD, Truman Capote.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Now this is tricky one because so many female characters have a habit of coming to a rather nasty end or have their hearts broken by unsavoury men. And one of the great things about being a writer is your life takes on the quality of fiction when you spend so much time plotting and scheming on your own in a room. So I’ll have to say I haven’t found her yet.
Who do you read for guilty pleasure?
All my reading is guilt free! But I will never finish a book that doesn’t grip me – life is far too short to waste time reading something that bores you.
Most satisfying writing moment?
There are many – often it’s when I feel that I have succeeded in writing about something that is outside my experience. In THE SEMANTICS OF MURDER, for example, it was a gay cruising scene in California in the 1960s seen through the eyes of a teenager. Last week it was a 21-year-old Canadian soldier landing on the beach at Dieppe in 1941 under a hail of machinegun fire. I love the challenge of writing what I don’t know. Sometimes it’s the pleasure of finding exactly the right word - yesterday it was “pleaching”, which is a type of pruning ...
The best Irish crime novel is …?
In my view THE BOOK OF EVIDENCE by John Banville is a certainly a contender but is it usually considered to belong to the genre? I’ve read and enjoyed the first Benjamin Black and am intrigued to know whether or readers will migrate from Black to Banville. Otherwise I haven’t read enough contemporary Irish crime writers to say.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
IN THE WOODS by Tana French springs to mind. Very atmospheric on suburban Dublin.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Two sides of the same coin: the long solitary hours in front of a screen.
The pitch for your next book is …?
I hate pitches! I was once given exactly one minute to do a book pitch to an editor in New York and I choked. Completely. But it did focus my mind on the importance of book titles. My current work-in-progress is about a woman with a dark past meets old man in graveyard ... I won’t write the pitch until I’ve finished the last page.
Who are you reading right now?
IN THE MISO SOUP by Ryu Murukami. THE UNQUIET, John Connolly. A collection of stories by Edgar Allen Poe. And TS Eliot’s Selected Poems is always by the bed. I compile long reading lists and next up is David Park’s THE TRUTH COMMISSIONER, Kevin Myer’s WATCHING THE DOOR and Don De Lillo’s FALLING MAN.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
You see, this is the kind of capricious behaviour that encourages people to doubt God’s existence! My nine-year-old son suggested that I should go for reading because I could write in my head.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
You have got to be kidding ... That’s writer-baiting!
Aifric Campbell’s debut novel, THE SEMANTICS OF MURDER, is published on April 24
“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.