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?
DIVORCING JACK by (Colin) Bateman. It was the first Northern Irish crime fiction novel I read and everything about it seemed real, familiar and exciting. I’ve reread it a few times and it’s aged well. It’s everything a Northern Irish crime novel should be and, as a writer who wants to produce convincing and commercial crime fiction with an NI slant, it’s the perfect yardstick. I’ll never be as funny as Bateman but I can aim to be as good.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Inspector Ben Devlin from Brian McGilloway’s series, but with my real-life wife, kids and dog. He’s just a good guy.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
My daughter’s DIARY OF A WIMPY KID books. They’re amazing. Generally I don’t feel guilt for reading anything but in this case it stems from the fact that I refuse to read Mr Men books to her in favour of Jeff Kinney’s work. Selfish.
Most satisfying writing moment?
Those rare days when you read over the work you’ve produced and think, this is actually pretty good.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
This week? THE BURNNIG SOUL by John Connolly. There’s a tonne of great Irish crime out there and each time I read a new one it jostles to the top to become king of the castle. I’ve a feeling that Adrian McKinty’s COLD, COLD GROUND will snatch the crown next.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Stuart Neville’s COLLUSION. The Traveller is the perfect villain. A foul-mouthed terminator.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The worst is the anxiety, heartache and self-torture that I’ve put myself through along the way. The best is taking all that negative crap and making positive use of it (i.e. putting it into the current work-in-progress). Cheap therapy.
The pitch for your next book is …?
‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ with Belfast accents. They use movies and TV shows to pitch books quite a lot these days. Have you noticed that?
Who are you reading right now?
Just finished HALF BLOOD BLUES by Esi Edugyan. Great book. I read the Booker shortlist for an event at Derry Central Library the night the winner was announced. It’s something I haven’t done before but it’s been a very interesting exercise. I’m mostly surprised by how much I enjoyed some of them. Next up are STOLEN SOULS by Stuart Neville and an ARC of COLD, COLD GROUND by Adrian McKinty. Score.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Read. Definitely read. I love writing but it’s hard work and a compulsion that carries a lot of guilt. ‘Why aren’t you writing? Why aren’t you writing. Hey, Gerard, Why aren’t you writing?’ If God takes that voice away with my ability/permission to write, then fine. I’ve a lot of reading to catch up on.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
“Dark but fun.”
Gerard Brennan’s THE POINT is now available on Kindle. You can catch Gerard Brennan at Belfast’s No Alibis this evening, 6pm, where he will be launching THE POINT alongside Arlene Hunt, who will be launching her latest novel, THE CHOSEN.
“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.