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?
THE MALTESE FALCON. Its multi-layered entanglements, its expressed unseediness, its use of the classic femme fatale and Dashiell Hammett’s use of minor characters in ensemble form to produce effective darkness and greed which make this the very best of noir fiction in my judgment.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Since I am a westerner and own a working cattle ranch, I suspect that the character I most would have wanted to be would have been Shane, the ultimate dark cowboy hero.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I read flash fiction for guilty pleasure. The short short stories entailed in this literary form offer me the ultimate quick and dirty temporary escape from daily life.
Most satisfying writing moment?
Always, when I finish the last sentence of a novel, or come up with the idea for a new one.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
I can’t say that I have a favourite Irish crime novel but my favourite Irish literary works are Joseph Conrad’s TYPHOON and THE SHADOW-LINE.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Any one of Ruth Dudley Edwards’s crime fiction novels; CORRIDORS OF DEATH would be a good place to start.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The best thing about being a writer is the pure satisfaction I get from writing. The worst thing about being a writer is trying to fit the writing in between my day job as a doctor.
The pitch for your next book is …?
My next book is not going to be a mystery at all but instead a love story / memoir. It will be a story about my late wife and me. I won’t have to pitch it since I lived the story and I can tell it word for word by heart.
What are you reading right now?
I am currently reading SHORT STORY MASTERPIECES by Robert Penn Warren and Albert Erskine, largely because short fiction is my favourite form of the art and I don’t read enough British fiction, so this works me away from my standard American recipe of books.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
I would choose neither; I would choose to think rather than write or read. But if forced to make a choice, I would clearly make the choice to read. It is how I learn.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …
Never the same.
Robert Greer’s BLACKBIRD, FAREWELL is published by North Atlantic Books.
“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. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “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. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.