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?
It would be great to have my name on any of the classic hard-boiled stuff, but if you make me choose one I’ll take THE MALTESE FALCON. There’s a twist at the beginning of the book that sets up the entire book. I read it on the train to work and when I got to that point in the book I was like a runaway boulder. I was reading every spare moment that day and for the next few days afterward. I ate it up. I read more Hammett after that, and it was good. I enjoyed his Continental Op, but nothing compared to THE MALTEST FALCON.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Any surprise here that it’s THE MALTESE FALCON’S Sam Spade? Weber Rexall, my main character in CHASING FILTHY LUCRE, isn’t a Sam Spade copy, but they are similar. They both have a determination to stick to their convictions that I admire. Despite the tough things they’ve seen, they still try to do what they think is right.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
My wife teaches sixth grade. I help her out by reading some of the newer YA books to find stories that would appeal to the boys in her class. I’ve actually really enjoyed some of the stories. The Percy Jackson series is great. My favorite books, though, have been the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer (hey, he’s Irish). They are the story a of a boy genius who uses his smarts to become a criminal mastermind. The antagonist is a fairy named Holly, so there are some fantasy elements to it. It’s a great series that’s all action from page one. That’s one thing I’ve noticed and enjoyed about young adult books, they don’t waste any time. From the very first page the story is moving and going somewhere. They don’t take a lot of time to assess their feelings or stare at trees.
Most satisfying writing moment?
That would have to be finishing the first draft of CHASING FILTHY LUCRE. I thought I had something that was good. I knew it needed some work in the editing, but I thought I had something with good guts. It took a little polishing to get it where I thought it was ready to be unleashed on the world, but in the end I think I was right. I’m happy with, and proud of, my novella. Judging by the reviews, others seem to be enjoying it also.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
I guess the answers here all depend on who you are and why you write. The worst thing is the rejection. Whether it’s an editor saying that your story isn’t good enough or readers just not connecting with your work, being rejected hurts. I don’t care how thick you think your skin is, or how many times it’s happened. Even the personal rejections that tell you your writing is great, that project just wasn’t for them. They all hurt. It may get a little easier to take, but the sting is always there. Ask me what’s the best thing about being a writer every day of the week and you’ll likely get seven different answers. That’s how often I think of something new that I love about writing. Today, however, the best thing is making a connection with a reader. Having someone leave a message for you at one of the social networking sites or through email saying they liked something you’ve done, is pretty awesome.
The pitch for your next book is …?
I’m working now on Book 2 of the New Eden series. We pick up the story a few months after the end of Book One. Berger and Rexall, our heroes, are in the middle of investigating a kidnapping, looking for missing girl and also trying to stay a few steps ahead of Roma Corp security forces.
Who are you reading right now?
I’m nearing the end of FOLLOW THE MONEY by Fingers Murphy, and I love it. There’s something about the voice in the book that I connected with almost immediately. There’s a casual authority to the main character that I really like. I’ve never been much for the characters that bang cymbals and blow horns trying to get all eyes on them. FOLLOW THE MONEY doesn’t have that. Next up is some Allan Guthrie. I’ve got two of his novellas on my Kindle ready to go.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
If God is making me choose, then I’ll take writing. I’m not one of those writers who says he ‘has’ to write. I just enjoy it too much to want to stop. It’s too much fun taking these trips with characters that I’ve created. Seeing where they want to go then following along. I love reading. I love finding a good book and getting lost in it. But if you are telling me I can only do one, give me writing. It’s much more fun.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Fast-paced, tightly plotted, and hopeful.
Jarrett Rush’s CHASING FILTHY LUCRE is available now in a range of e-formats.
“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.