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 LAST GOOD KISS by James Crumley. I read it ages ago as a fledgling novelist and suddenly lights went on. I’ve talked to a surprising number of other writers over the years who’ve said the same thing.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Shane. As in the Jack Schaefer western novel.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Thomas McGuane, Charlie Huston, John Sandford, Michael Connelly, Ken Bruen, Denise Mina, Megan Abbott. I’d also list Cormac McCarthy, but his writing makes me feel too guilty.
Most satisfying writing moment?
Starting the last third of the novel after everything else is in place and the horrifying and exhilarating sprint to the finish is about to begin.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
… an impossible question to answer. Books that have bowled me over include THE GUARDS by Ken Bruen and DEAD I WELL MAY BE by Adrian McKinty. I can’t wait to read THE BIG O, by some Burke fellow.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
THE GUARDS, although I don’t know how the hell they’d make it. In order to get it right, all the movie-goers would have to agree to arrive drunk and continue to drink heavily (and quietly) throughout the film.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Best thing, seriously, is hearing from readers who claim that up until recently they were non-readers but now they’ve seen the light. Worst thing (or one of the worst) is when someone sidles up at a cocktail party and says, “If I had the time, I’d write a novel myself.” As if any writer HAS EVER HAD THE TIME.
The pitch for your next book is …?
“Imagine looking up at a wind turbine and seeing a body lashed to one of the enormous rotating blades…”
Who are you reading right now?
T. Jefferson Parker. He’s a friend and fly-fishing partner of mine, and his new one is fantastic.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Read. Although I’d be pretty put out about it.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
You are there.
CJ Box’s THREE WEEKS TO SAY GOODBYE is published on December 1
“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.