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?
Probably Dave Zeltserman’s PARIAH, as it’s gotten consistently rave reviews from everyone who’s read it and is emblematic of the quality of his overall output. It’s a book that would make me look really good, like I know what I’m doing.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Peter Pan. I get to live forever and never grow old, fight with pirates, hang out with Indians and mermaids and fairies and be the leader of my own little band of ne’er-do wells? That’s a good life.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
It’s not so much of a who as a what. I don’t have any go-to authors for my “junk” reading, but I’ll pick up a Star Wars novel and consume it with gusto when I need a palate cleanser.
Most satisfying writing moment?
Selling THE DEAD WOMEN OF JUAREZ to Serpent’s Tail. I sweated blood writing that thing and was glad to see it out of my hands. Having it sell as quickly as it did, to such an enthusiastic reception by the publisher ... that made it worthwhile.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
I don’t think I’m qualified to answer that question. My only exposure to Irish crime novels has been via Ken Bruen, who said some very nice things about THE DEAD WOMEN, so I would probably dip into his back catalogue to make my selection. A cop-out answer, I know.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
LONDON BOULEVARD would make a good movie. What? They’re already making it? Never mind, then.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The worst thing about being a writer is the actual writing process. I hate writing, but I love having written. That’s the best part: being able to present to the world a completed work that lives up to your expectations. It may not live up to other people’s expectations, but it’s a good feeling while it lasts.
The pitch for your next book is …?
A story of the US/Mexican border and those who would sacrifice anything to make it to the Land of Opportunity. Told in three parts, from the perspectives of three very different people.
Who are you reading right now?
I’m actually reading a Star Wars novel by Sean Williams right now. And before that I read another novel in the same series from Sean Williams. I’m in a junk-food reading phase at the moment.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Oh, I would definitely read. As I say, I detest writing, so giving it up wouldn’t be a sacrifice for me at all. I’d still have stories I’d want to tell, but I would keep them to myself.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Spare. Functional. American.
Sam Hawken’s THE DEAD WOMEN OF JUAREZ is published by Serpent’s Tail.
“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.