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?
James Ellroy’s THE COLD SIX THOUSAND. The man is just a genius. The scale and complexity of his books is a superhuman feat.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
James Bond – no hesitation. He is in many ways a classic fantasy figure for a writer: solitary, self-sufficient, dogged, independent, happy to enjoy luxuries on the expense account, and occasionally homicidal.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
For years I read the American pulp spy thrillers by ‘Nick Carter’ – pure schlock full of sex, violence and weaponry. I picked up a few old copies recently and again enjoyed their no-nonsense break-neck narratives tremendously.
Most satisfying writing moment?
My forthcoming book (July 2010) is absolutely crammed with them (particularly the opening 500 words), but the best piece of writing is always the one I do tomorrow …
The best Irish crime novel is …?
Much as I am tempted to make something up, I’ll be honest and say I have virtually no knowledge of Irish crime novels. I have a copy of Brian McGilloway’s BORDERLANDS by the bed and, having met the man last weekend, I am looking forward to reading it.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Sorry – no idea.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Best – feeling that each day I write is a day of my life I haven’t wasted. Worst – having to make a choice between visiting the world in my head and the world with my wife in it.
The pitch for your next book is …?
Top secret, but utterly unprecedented.
Who are you reading right now?
Philip Hoare’s LEVIATHAN. I’ve just re-read MOBY-DICK and can’t get enough of whales at the moment. I’m considering writing a sea epic of my own in a few years.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Easy – I’d write. By writing, I get the best of both worlds. And anyway, the pressures of writing novels while working full time means I pretty much made that decision a couple of years ago.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Entertaining, surprising, compelling
James McCreet’s THE INCENDIARY’S TRAIL is published by Macmillan
“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.