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?
DOUBLE INDEMNITY, by James M. Cain. Lean, mean, spare despair. To those who have only seen the splendid Billy Wilder film, you still have a treat in store and a surprise or two.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Eric Ambler. Pre-WW2 Europe at its most exotic, fantastic characters, his brilliance on the relationships between high finance, crime and politics set the standard. Favours politics over sex, which may be a downer for some readers, but, overall, if you haven’t yet, do. Now that I think about it, what’s to feel guilty about?
Most satisfying writing moment?
Beginning a rewrite.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
So much good stuff recently I hesitate to choose. While I have favourites right now, I still have a lot more to explore as your blog rather scarily demonstrates, and only time will tell who will survive in the memory. I will mention an earlier book that has stayed with me nearly twenty years on. John Brady’s KADDISH IN DUBLIN is well worth re-visiting both for its insightful contemporaneous portrait of late ’80s Dublin, and that most unusual of cop heroes, the happily married kind.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
I want … strong visuals to start, a big juicy character for mains, and a man-size helping of plot with a really BIG Order of tension and plenty of surprise on the side. A big question this, really BIG. Oh I don’t know ... what to choose, what to choose ...
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Choosing when to get up/work/stop working/just think.
The pitch for your next book is …?
Are you joking? Do you want to put the hex on it altogether?
Who are you reading right now?
Recently finished Liam O Flaherty’s strange 1920’s ‘thriller’ GILHOOLEY. Doesn’t really work as a thriller but is of interest for its dark, cynical and occasionally quirky view, of early Free State Dublin. Just beginning TENDERWIRE by Claire Kilroy and really liking it so far.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Write. Without hesitation. Of course, I assume God will allow me to read anything I write (he said cunningly).
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
No words wasted.
Gerard Stembridge’s COUNTING DOWN is available now.
“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.