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 don’t think anybody has been able to top Sherlock Holmes, as much as they may have tried. Holmes set the standard. He is a complex individual who has left enough of himself a mystery to allow generations after his demise to try to fill in the blanks.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
I read mostly historical fiction so that the characters, typically, are not fictional but historical figures brought to life in works of fiction. For fictional characters, I would go with Holmes, or Jason Bourne from Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series. How about James Bond? He gets the women, wine, and all those fancy gimmicks.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
For guilty pleasures I don’t read so much as I look. Oh, wait, this is a public forum. Guilty pleasures? Eclectic stuff. Ludlum, Stephen King, Isaac Asimov. I enjoyed Colleen McCullough’s series on ancient Rome.
Most satisfying writing moment?
Of course it’s always satisfying to complete a novel that you’ve worked on for many months, researched, written, rewritten. Particularly once you have received feedback that says your work is good. Beyond that, the most satisfying moment I ever had, and this covers several decades of writing, was when the publisher from Kunati Books emailed me on Thursday morning August 8, 2007 and said he wanted to discuss a contract with me. Hard to beat that.
The best Irish crime novel is…?
Sorry, I don’t think I’ve read one.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
There are a number of Boston Irish crime novels. South Boston is a well-known Irish enclave in the city and has produced such notorious hoodlums as Whitey Bulger, who is still on the lam after being tipped off by his FBI handler. Whitey’s brother was president of the state senate. Dennis Lehane has written several Southie-based thrillers that have been turned into movies including the highly received MYSTIC RIVER.
Worst/best thing about being a writer?
I enjoy creating plot and characters, disappearing into their world much as an actor would. For me, writing goes beyond mere entertainment. I also like to provoke. My themes have dealt with faith versus reason, war, politics. It is very satisfying to get strong responses from readers, particularly those you’re trying to generate. Worst thing? Rejection.
The pitch for your next book is …
THEY WERE CALLED TO DUTY : 64,000,000 men and women served their countries in the war to end all wars, World War 1. Today only 13 survive. Capt. Carthage Mulkern, a decorated veteran of the Iraqi war, is assigned the duty of interviewing the last survivors, ancient men whose stories of war and remembrance intertwine with her own as she hunts for her lover lost in the chaos of Iraq.
Who are you reading now?
I am reading a non-fiction book called CHIEF OF CONGO STATION by Larry Devlin who was with the CIA when the Congo gained its independence from Belgium in 1960. The research is for a novel I am currently writing called ALBERTVILLE.
God appears and says you can only write OR read? Which is it to be?
Reading is sheer pleasure. With writing you can communicate with the world and make change. Since the world clearly needs change, I like the idea that my writing might be able to promote discussion and debate and, therefore, positive change in the world. Then I can always read what I wrote.
The three best words to describe your writing are…?
Provocative, absorbing, enjoyable.
Peter Clenott’s novel HUNTING THE KING is published by Kunati
“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.