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?
HONG KONG LAWS, because that’s the one I’m working on now, and I wish it was done so I could see how it ends.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
There’s a scene in Body Double where a guy snatches Gloria Revelle’s purse on the beach and she ends up chasing him. Behind them, in the distance a hundred yards away, there’s a guy walking on the beach. I always wished I could have been him, and cast in his role, because I know I could have done it better.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
For guilty pleasures I don’t generally read. I mostly just look at the pictures.
Most satisfying writing moment?
The most satisfying moment was finishing my very first manuscript. I got so excited that I threw it to the ceiling in celebration—and immediately wished I had numbered the pages.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
Being a sheltered U.S. guy, I don’t know any Irish crime novels. So, with your permission, I’m going to change the word “Irish” to “French.” … Hmm … Wait a minute, that didn’t do any good, I don’t know any French novels either.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
I don’t know. Which one has the most bedroom scenes?
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The best thing about being a writer is getting all those wonderful, grateful letters from Eskimos who absolutely love my books. Apparently they burn longer than most and give off a great deal of heat. The worst thing about being a writer is starting with all those alphabetically arranged words in the dictionary, figuring out which ones I want to use, and then trying to put them together in the right order. It’s like solving a four dimensional Rubik’s cube.
The pitch for your next book is …?
The pitch for my next book (IMMORTAL LAWS, 9/15/08) is a marketing stroke of genius that no one in the publishing industry has ever thought of. It goes like this: “If you buy my book, I’ll paint your house.” We expect to sell a thousand copies or more the very first hour! Who are you reading right now?
Right now I’m reading the words, “What are you reading right now?” Otherwise I’d have no idea how to respond. Now I’m starting to read the next question. Excuse me, while I scroll down.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Being a lawyer, I did a little research to see if God really had the right to make an either / or demand. It turns out there’s an old dusty statute that says God always has to give at least three choices. I confronted him about this and after a bit of an argument, he eventually relented and gave me a third choice: “You can only write OR read OR have sex.” My response was pretty quick: “I’ll take that third one.”
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
“My own writing.”
Jim Michael Hansen’s BANGKOK LAWS was published in paperback in March
“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.