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 POET, by Michael Connelly. I enjoy Connelly’s Harry Bosch series, but for me THE POET has an extra pull. There was a page-turning quality about it that had me riveted, and the twists and surprises were hard to second guess.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Kinsey Millhone, from Sue Grafton’s alphabet mystery series (A IS FOR ALIBI, B IS FOR BURGLAR, etc.). She’s a feisty, prickly, no-nonsense kind of gal, with an admirable capacity to be true to herself at all times. Plus, she has some really snappy one-liners …
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I associate guilt with many things, but never with reading! If I’m reading a book, it’s because I’m enjoying it and I can’t imagine why I’d feel sheepish about that. Perhaps one of the stories I enjoy re-reading which might be a bit unexpected is J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Great magical world, great characters and full of human wisdom & insight.
Most satisfying writing moment?
Writing THE END. For me, it takes such a long time to get there and the sense of achievement is huge.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
I actually haven’t read that many Irish crime novels – I’m still working my way through a long list of them! I’d favour the women writers, (Alex Barclay, Julie Parsons, Tana French) but perhaps only because they’re the main ones I’ve read. The best is hard to pick – Alex Barclay’s DARKHOUSE was a high impact debut, and the back-story for her Texan serial killer left a lasting impression.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
For some reason, I think Irish true-crime books would all make brilliant movies. THE GENERAL, based on Paul Williams’ book, was great, and I’d love to see a film version of Niamh O’Connor’s THE BLACK WIDOW.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The best thing is you don’t have to rely on anyone else to get the job done. Which means the worst thing is, when it all goes wrong you only have yourself to blame.
The pitch for your next book is …?
THE COURIER: When Harry Martinez, ex-hacker turned security professional, gets entangled in a world of illicit diamond trading, she’s drawn into a world of executions, greed and betrayal. From the racecourses of Ireland to the diamond mines of South Africa, Harry must use her own unique skills to prove her innocence, and most of all, to survive.
Who are you reading right now?
I’m about to start John Grisham’s THE ASSOCIATE. It hasn’t had great reviews, but I’m a big fan of his early legal thrillers and I really miss them, so I’m hoping he’s moving back to what I believe he does best.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Read. It was my first love, and the effect that books had on me was the reason I wanted to write in the first place. I’d give myself over to the world of story and escape. Besides, writing is hard….
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Did my best.
Ava McCarthy’s THE INSIDER is published by HarperCollins
“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.