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?
I guess it would have to be HIGH STAKES, the first Dick Francis I read, which got me hooked! THE book I would most like to have written is Anne Rice’s INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE - not a crime novel, but one I continually aspire to.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Erm ... a tough one. All the characters I really love in fiction are tortured souls. As a coward who enjoys a happy life - not for me! So, it has to be Terry Pratchett’s Nanny Ogg! Who wouldn't want to be Nanny Ogg?
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
No guilty pleasures, every story making it to print is a good one. Inappropriate for my age, perhaps? TEDDY ROBINSON, my first love, by Joan G. Robinson. Romance would be a guilt, but definitely not a pleasure!
Most satisfying writing moment?
The whole process of writing CHANTILLY DAWNS. It was what I set out to write and the characters just took over. The most satisfactory moment of any piece of writing is that final full stop. To sit back and think, “There …”.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
You've got me there. I don’t really read crime and Dick Francis only ever scraped in for the horses. That would have to be a pass, sorry. Even the crime I write about in the horseracing world is fantasy. It takes a great brain like Dick Francis (and me!) to make horseracing corrupt!
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
I haven’t read any, but they would all have potential. A good author makes their reader visualise the story, so the film is only a step away. The production company is usually a bit further ...
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
I can’t think of a worst thing. That’s because I don’t actually mind missing meals or eating burnt food. My family might have a ‘worst’ view point! The best thing is that I can wake up in the morning and type until I go to bed at night, and when I’m not typing my characters are always with me. It’s being able to play Devil with characters’ lives (playing God would be too simple) and sharing those stories with other people.
The pitch for your next book is …?
A young apprentice jockey finds his life intertwined with obsession, danger and envy ...
Who are you reading right now?
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
It’s lucky I’m an atheist, then! No one could stop me from writing, the story would always be in my head, defying them. And no one could ever part me from my books.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Empathetic, gripping, unexpected
Lissa Oliver’s CHANTILLY DAWNS is published by Book Republic.
“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.