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?
Margery Allingham’s THE TIGER IN THE SMOKE. It’s very old-fashioned but quite brilliant – a hunt for a vicious killer through foggy post-war London, peopled with maimed survivors of the conflict. You have to read it in one sitting. The tension is almost unbearable.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Dorothy L. Sayers’ Harriet Vane (without having to stand trial for murder, preferably).
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Young adult fiction. I used to work as a commissioning editor in children’s publishing and I’m proud of buying a few YA books that did very nicely. I missed out on a few that I regret to this day! I love how intense teenagers are about their lives and relationships; YA fiction is just brilliant when it’s done well. I still won’t read it in public, though.
Most satisfying writing moment?
Finishing my second book, THE BURNING. I was on the phone to my editor while sitting on the floor of my living room, typing with one hand and trying to distract my then seven-month-old son with the other. The last-minute changes were nail-biting but necessary, and clicking on ‘save’ was a beautiful moment.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
I love John Banville’s Benjamin Black novels – CHRISTINE FALLS, if I must pick.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Stuart Neville’s THE TWELVE. All those ghosts are crying out to be put on film.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The best thing is spending your working life in a world of your own creation, with characters that you love. The worst thing is that your working life is your life. I don’t know how to switch off that part of my brain so I never truly relax, even between books. But I’d be lying if I said I hated that.
The pitch for your next book is …?
DC Maeve Kerrigan returns to hunt for a killer preying on convicted paedophiles.
Who are you reading right now?
I’m re-reading THE MURDER FARM by a German writer, Andrea Maria Schenkel. It’s very short, very assured, utterly compelling and original. It was her first book, which is just extraordinary.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Read. I would get bored with only my own thoughts and ideas to entertain me. And I could always think about what I’d write if I was allowed. I had my first novel in my head for about two years before I ever typed a sentence, so I’m used to it!
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Dark and light.
Jane Casey’s THE BURNING is published by Ebury Press.
“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.