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?
Assuming it counts as crime, as it’s a bit of an oddball, then China Mieville’s THE CITY AND THE CITY, no question. The writing’s top notch, Inspector Borlu is a great character, and the weaving of the story, which looks on the surface like a run of the mill murder mystery, through such a unique setting is fantastic. Awesome book.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Spider Jerusalem. (I’ll let people who don’t know the name google it, and recommend that they buy the graphic novels.)
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I don’t think I have any. At least, no “guilty pleasures” in the sense of reading - there’s all the other stuff, with the animals, and that Hawaiian nun, and the rubber masks, but there’s no reading involved in that.
Most satisfying writing moment?
In recent times, ignoring all the “moment of being first published” stuff, probably reading my notes for a finale that read, with only the names redacted: “X rappels in by helicopter. Y arrives by hovercraft. Z crashes a burning car through the wall.” The middle of the three was especially hard to include in an ostensibly serious urban thriller, rather than a James Bond tie-in. I’m clearly very easily entertained.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
I’d be amazed if anyone claimed it was anything other than THE BIG O ...
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
If AMERICAN SKIN counts as an Irish crime novel, I’d say that. Though it’s going to take the movie industry a long time to work through Ken’s whole back catalogue.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The pay and the hours, respectively? More seriously, having to go over your own stuff so many times that you’d rather claw your own eyes out than read anything you’ve ever written, and having the freedom to come up with all that future boredom in the first place, ideas running free.
The pitch for your next book is …?
Ha! Now that’s a tricky one in the circumstances. A couple of weeks ago it would have been: “A wanted American assassin, a motorcycle gang member and a thief in hiding from his own guilt as much as his former employers go searching for a kidnapped child in a vast, abandoned Manila neighbourhood where the air’s toxic and the ground floods every high tide. They’re up against one of the world’s richest men, an insane unit of Filipino soldiers and every small-time villain in the city.”
Who are you reading right now?
I’ve just finished Justin Cronin’s THE PASSAGE, just starting on China Mieville’s UN LUN DUN.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Easy. I write, then stick to watching movies. I’ll just have to avoid the ones with subtitles.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
“Confused, plotless schlock”. Or “stylish, tight and exciting”. Much like the trousers I’m wearing.
Sean Cregan’s THE RAZOR GATE is published by Headline.
“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.