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?
Raymond Chandler’s THE LONG GOODBYE. Beautiful, haunting, and exactly what the mystery is is a mystery itself.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Well, I like being myself. But Sherlock Homes might have been fun. I would like to be smarter than I am. And Nero Wolfe’s sidekick Archie Goodwin always seemed to have a good time.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I don’t feel guilt about reading. I mean, there’s people killing people out there, Declan, and you think I should feel bad about reading a trashy novel?! But I do enjoy some light reading others would probably like to make me feel guilty for; in contemporary stuff I enjoy the Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child thrillers, and I never get tired of V.C. Andrews, who I’ve written about pretty extensively.
Most satisfying writing moment?
Writing the end of DOPE felt pretty good. And pretty bad. Both of which are probably equally satisfying, which explains a whole lot about the world now that I realize that. Wow. Thanks for bringing that up. I think I just understood something really important.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
Well, the only Irish crime novelist I’ve read is the brilliant and generous Ken Bruen, so I would say his VIXEN. Nothing against the Irish, by the way, I just read very little contemporary fiction, crime or otherwise.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Best: Writing! I like to write. And I love working for myself. It’s a lot of responsibility to manage your own life but it beats the hell out of someone else managing it for you. Worst: Same answer! Rewriting the same novel for six months can and does get dreary. And while I love not having a boss, sometimes I wish someone else could be in charge for an hour or two.
The pitch for your next book is …?
I’m writing the second book in the Claire DeWitt series, which takes place in the San Francisco bay area. And thank God I’ve got a contract for it, so I don’t have to pitch it! That’s a nice break from one of the less-fun parts of the job; hawking your books to publishers. It’s Die Hard meets Carlos Castenada (kidding!).
Who are you reading right now?
I’m reading William T. Vollman’s THE ROYAL FAMILY. That’ll be my answer for the next year or two.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Lordy that’s a tough one! Starting now, writing; starting from birth, reading - I would have been lost without books.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Oh, I stopped doing these three-word things. If you’re reading this and want to know what my books are about, read the books. If they don’t look like your cup of tea, send me and email and I’ll help you find a better book to read. Isn’t that more useful?
Sara Gran’s CITY OF THE DEAD is published by Faber and Faber.
“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.