“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.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?”: Charlie Williams

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 admire tons of books - even worship some - but don’t wish I had written them. However, there’s one by John Franklin Bardin called THE DEADLY PERCHERON that seemed to be successfully doing a lot of the things that I try to do, so I guess I wish I had written it.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Probably a boring, minor character. Most great protagonists are seriously flawed in some way, which is what makes them great but doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness for them. Added to that, my favourite crime novels are the noir ones, where the hero is always doomed. But it would be cool to see a werewolf or a ghost or something, wouldn’t it? OK, Arthur Holmwood from COUNT DRACULA - he gets to help destroy Dracula. Plus he inherits a massive estate during the story.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I don’t feel guilty for anything I read. Books, anyway. I hate the idea of certain genres of books having more worth than others. You know what? I’d rather be seen reading something trashy than the latest Booker-nominated snooze-fest. But sometimes I’m caught looking at things like Hello magazine, so I guess that is the answer.

Most satisfying writing moment?
Any time I have actually laughed at something I’ve just written ... good or bad.

The best Irish crime novel is …?
RILKE ON BLACK by Ken Bruen. Not actually set in Ireland but he’s your boy. I love his other books but this is my fave. Brilliant and underrated.

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Probably the above. Amazing that it hasn’t been done yet.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Getting to tell new people you meet that you are a writer. That is both the best and worst thing, depending on who you’re telling it to.

The pitch for your next book is …?
“In the 1970s, David Bowie used to store his urine in the fridge to stop people from stealing it and using it for black magic. What if someone got hold of it anyway? What if that person was Jimmy Page?” Hey, you asked. And no, it’s not really a crime novel in the accepted sense.

Who are you reading right now?
Nothing. this is one of those rare inter-book times. The literary world is my oyster! You know what? I can’t even remember the last novel I read. Can’t have been that memorable.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Hmm ... you need sustenance but you need an outlet too... OK, I’ll say read. And I’ll take up painting or something.

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?

Strange. Funny. Compelling.

Charlie Williams can be found right about here

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

With Dark Joy, The Madness

The tiny but perfectly formed feedback to the post below suggests that folks aren’t all that optimistic about the short-term future for books, and particularly sales, but I don’t know. I think bad times can produce more great books than good times ever will. As the Chinese proverb-curse goes, ‘May you live in interesting times …’
  Anyhoo, I’m going to end the year on a up-beat note, for – lo! – I got good news last week regarding a project I’ve thinking about for quite a while now. The idea is for a book of essays, interviews and conversations about various aspects of Irish crime fiction, each chapter being written by an Irish crime writer. The names already confirmed include – although this may be subject to change – Colin Bateman, Gerard Brennan, Ken Bruen, Paul Charles, John Connolly, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Reed Farrel Coleman, Alan Glynn, Declan Hughes, Arlene Hunt, Gene Kerrigan, Brian McGilloway, Adrian McKinty and Neville Thompson. Messers, sorry, Messrs McKinty and Brennan are also on board as editors. Some of the writers’ chapters have yet to be confirmed, but the proposed material that has been is, in my entirely biased opinion, seriously interesting stuff.
  Anyway, the good news is that the project has been given the green light by the Arts Council with regard to commissioning funding, which means that we can afford to pay the writers a token gesture, at least. That means we’re over the second hurdle, and there’s only about 198 left to clear.
  The only downside at the moment is that there’s so few women on board. I have approached a few, but they’ve all been too busy to commit, unfortunately; and I’m still waiting to hear back from a few more. Hopefully the finished product won’t be entirely drenched in testosterone.
  Anyway, if the sound of this beeps even your smallest jeep, don’t be shy about letting us know or spreading the word. Oh, and feel free to suggest a title. I was thinking about using “WITH DARK JOY, THE MADNESS”, which is from a line in Liam O’Flaherty’s THE ASSASSIN. But I don’t know, it doesn’t sit right. Any ideas?

Monday, December 15, 2008

And The Award For ‘Most Endearing Blind Optimism’ Goes To … Salon.com!

“The conventional wisdom in publishing holds that tough economic times are good for books, because books provide more hours of entertainment per dollar, more life-enhancing education and more grist for post-materialistic soul-searching than any other form of purchasable culture …
  “There’s no doubt that escapism pays, especially when there’s plenty to escape from, but great books continue to be published and read, and many of these also provide welcome respite for jittery readers. Remember what it was like to slow down, take the phone off the hook and immerse yourself in a story, true or invented, that made the world around you disappear for hours on end? Or to give yourself the time to understand some important aspect of this world in a deeper and more comprehensive way than any newspaper or magazine can offer?”
  For the rest, clickety-click here