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?
THE REDEMPTION FACTORY by Sam Millar. Not only is it a great story, the book taught me how to depict life in the raw.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
All fictional characters are screwed up in some way, which is what makes them human and interesting. I like my own screw-ups. A friend wanted to cure one of them once and I told him to mind his own business, that that screw up was part of me. But if you insist, the main character in the Dick Francis novel, TO THE HILT. I can’t find the book to give you the character’s name.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Mostly I read thrillers but sometimes I get what I can only describe as a dry feeling in my soul. Then I tend to read something really literary. Quite often it’s a book by Jennifer Johnston.
Most satisfying writing moment?
I think whey you push yourself away from the desk and know you’ve done a satisfying amount of creative work that day.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
That’s not a fair question. I’d have trouble deciding who is my favourite Irish crime novelist, let alone novel. The best thing to do is to take the anthology REQUIEMS FOR THE DEPARTED (Morrigan Books, 2010). Open it at the list of contributors and throw a dart. You could hardly go wrong.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
What about John Banville’s THE BOOK OF EVIDENCE? The book has a great atmospheric feel about it that could be easily transferred onto the screen.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The worst thing is probably six o’clock in the morning when I am crawling out of bed to get the day started. The best thing is when a story or novel is published. You are standing in front of a crowd reading an excerpt and suddenly you know the listeners are so enthralled you could literally hear a pin drop. Unless my late mother in law was there. Then all I could hear was her saying to her neighbour, ‘I can’t hear him? Can you hear him?’ And there’s me wanting to shout, ‘Would you wear your bloody hearing aid?’
The pitch for your next book is …?
My novels are usually thrillers but my short stories are based on social issues. One such story has evolved into a novel, which is due out next year. Title still to be firmed up. However, the book is about a Catholic priest who turns up at his new parish with his (female) partner. I’ve just got back the reader’s report so things are at an early stage at this point.
Who are you reading right now?
I’ve just finished Glenn Meade’s latest novel THE SECOND MESSIAH. It’s a good chase / shoot them up read, and the shenanigans of cardinals at the Vatican are very believable. I’ve just started a first novel, THE SURVIVOR by Sean Slater. Sean is a Vancouver police officer. It has started very well
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Write. I could do a memoir slagging off God for being so unreasonable, then he might reconsider.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Enjoyable, literate (as opposed to literature) educational (no big drums).
John McAllister’s LINE OF FLIGHT has just been re-issued on Kindle.
“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.