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?
Not an easy question, Declan. What with all the terrific authors out there. But if I have to make a choice, it would be between—starting with contemporary American authors—John D. McDonald’s DARKER THAN AMBER, Ed McBain’s MARY, MARY, Nelson Demille’s LION’S GAME, Robert B. Parker’s SMALL VICES, and Elmore Leonard’s GET SHORTY. As for Irish writers, I’d go with Tana French’s IN THE WOODS, Adrian McKinty’s DEAD I WELL MAY BE, Ken Bruen’s THE GUARDS.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Humm. I have to admit there is no fictional character I’d like to have been, because I’ve lived the life that most crime and thriller authors write about. I was raised by good Irish parents—Cavan people. I was a New York City cop, an actor (a really lousy actor), a model and a TV spokesperson. Now, I serve as a bodyguard for A-list actors and write in my free time. I live in the heart of NYC, surrounded by friends and family (and great pubs) and have been blessed, so far, with good health. I wouldn’t trade places with anyone —real or fictional.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Guilty pleasures are ALL I read these days. There was a time when I’d force myself to finish any book I started. Now if I can’t relate to the characters or story in about 25 pages, I put the book down. Who do I pick up first? Robert B. Parker.
Most satisfying writing moment?
When Truman Capote read a short story of mine, told me I had a future as a writer, and then introduced me to his agent. I was too young to appreciate it at the time—my only interest then being women and beer—but looking back … wow. Reading good reviews of my book on Amazon.com also makes me feel good.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
Heck if I know. There’re simply too many good books too choose from.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Because I like to laugh, I’ll go with MYSTERY MAN by Colin Bateman, and your own THE BIG O. There are plenty of laughs in both books that I think would convert well to film.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
In my experience, the worst thing about being a writer is dealing with publishers. I’m fully convinced that, like Stephen King says, “No one in publishing has any idea what they’re doing.” When my publisher Tor/Forge published CITY OF FIRE, they published another book by the same title, with a similar theme, and similar cover art, at the same time. When I objected, the publisher insisted that having the two thrillers, in the same mystery/thriller sections in book stores at the same time, wouldn’t be a problem. They, of course, were dead wrong. There’s also the fact that an author has to deal with the publisher’s totally overworked and grossly underpaid editors, marketing, and public relations people. The BEST thing about writing is getting to write every day. And when a book is really ‘clicking’ I can feel it; it’s euphoric. I know you know what I mean.
The pitch for your next book is …?
CONFESSIONS OF A SUICIDAL POLICEWOMAN is the second in the Michael Beckett series. It focuses on police officers Michael Beckett and Destiny Jones, two characters I introduced in CONFESSIONS OF A CATHOLIC COP. Beckett is the suave but tough protagonist, who battles a powerful NYC real estate mogul in book one. In CONFESSIONS OF A SUICIDAL POLICEWOMAN, Beckett and Jones, now partners in the NYPD, are starting to come to terms with their true feelings for one another when their world suddenly shifts gears. An ex-cop recruits Beckett into his gang of “rockers,” a secret society of vigilante cops who protect businesses from shakedowns—for a price. A violent drug ring has taken control of an Upper East Side hotel. The ring needs to be cleaned out and an old girlfriend of Beckett’s, an amoral tart who happens to co-own the place, needs saving. This leads Beckett and Jones into one of the deadliest, most tangled operations of their lives, as he pursues the drug kingpin who killed his baby sister, and Jones suffers a horrible injury, leaving her to confront life as an invalid or a death with dignity by her own hand.
Who are you reading right now?
I read several books at once. Currently I’m reading Lisa Garner, Cormac McCarthy, and James Lee Burke. I just finished Walter Mosley’s THE LAST DAYS OF PTOLEMY GRAY and re-read Ian Fleming’s THUNDERBALL.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Since one can’t write without first being an avid reader, I’d have to slap God upside the head and say, “WTF?”
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Minimalist. Gritty. Fun.
Thomas Fitzsimmons’ CONFESSIONS OF A CATHOLIC COP is available in paperback and e-book.
“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.