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 never know how to answer the question. There are any number of books I admire hugely, but I can’t say I yearn to have written them; what makes them work is that they were written by their own authors. So now my answer is THE DA VINCI CODE, on the basis not of its text but of its royalties.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Archie Goodwin, exc. for all the dancing.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Almost anything Charles Ardai publishes at Hard Case Crime.
Most satisfying writing moment?
I don’t believe I’ve ever had more sheer enjoyment writing than I did with Getting Off. It was enormously satisfying for me, esp. the conversations between Kit and Rita.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
Tough one for me, as I’ve not read all that much in recent years. I’ve enjoyed Ken Bruen’s work, and both the Banvilles, John and Vincent. And they’re not crime novels (though I think they’d go down well with many crime fiction fans) but Thomas Flanagan’s three historical novels are high on my list of favourite books.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
One that already did, not a novel but a play, was ‘The Field’, by my late friend John B. Keane. A dear man, a wonderful writer.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Best: when I’m writing, I never have the unsettling feeling that there’s something else I really ought to be doing instead. Worst: when I’m NOT writing, I always have that feeling.
The pitch for your next book is …?
THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC is just out this week. All the Matt Scudder short fiction, including two new and previously unpublished stories, all in a $2.99 eBook or $14.95 trade paperback. My next book’s not been written yet, and I don’t like to talk about them until they’re done.
Who are you reading right now?
SHOCK WAVE, John Sandford’s newest. He never disappoints.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Dunno whether it’s age or all those years in the business (not that they don’t go hand in hand) but I’ve largely lost my taste for reading in recent years. It’s rarely what I feel like doing, and I don’t finish many of the books I start. Then again, two years ago I thought I was done writing novels. (Shows what I know.) But if I have to pick one, I’ll stay with writing. After all, nobody pays me to read...
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
“Fool never quits.”
Lawrence Block’s latest offering is THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC. Hard Case Crime publishes GETTING OFF.
“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.