“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.

Monday, February 6, 2012

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?”: Sarah Webb

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?
HARRIET THE SPY by Louise Fitzhugh. OK, it’s not your average crime novel, the spy is an eleven-year-old girl who lives in New York and spies on her neighbours, but it’s one of my favourite books of all time. There’s revenge, punishment, heartbreak and retribution. I’d highly recommend it to any reader, young or not so young.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
That’s a great question, Declan. In a lot of the books I adore, terrible things happen to the heroine - Alice, Rachel (in RACHEL’S HOLIDAY by Marian Keyes), Benny (CIRCLE OF FRIENDS by Maeve Binchy), Katniss (HUNGER GAMES), so I’ll say Posy in BALLET SHOES as I wanted to be a ballerina as a child. (Sorry, not very crime-y or kickass I know!)

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I spend a lot of time reading books for children and teenagers for work and enjoyment, so reading adult fiction is my guilty pleasure. I love good popular fiction by Marian Keyes or Katie Fforde. On the crime side, I used to be a huge Patricia Cornwell fan in the early days, and I’ve just started THE PLAYDATE by Louise Miller, a chilling psychological thriller about a child who goes missing which is excellent so far.

Most satisfying writing moment?
A good day at the desk, getting my 2,000 words done, that’s what I love. For me, that’s the real joy of a writing life.

The best Irish crime novel is …?
SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT by Derek Landy. Yes, it’s fantasy-thriller-crime, yes, it has a skeleton detective, but it’s hilarious, clever and very entertaining. (If I had to pick a book for adults, it would be John Connolly’s EVERY DEAD THING, which unleashed the brilliant character that is Charlie Parker)

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
See above.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Worst - the doubt and the insecurity. You are only as good as your last book. Best - the licence to create, and the amazing people you meet - other writers, readers, booksellers, publishers.

The pitch for your next book is …?
Wanted: Two girls to time-share one amazing dress, guaranteed to change your life. All enquiries - ask inside. (And no, they don’t get murdered ‘inside’, it’s popular fiction!) Julia Schuster, floundering amidst family troubles and problem drinking; Arietty Pilgrim, lonely and insecure; Pandora Schuster, the sister from hell: can they ever be friends? THE SHOESTRING CLUB, one extraordinary dress, one life-altering friendship.

Who are you reading right now?
BLACK HEART BLUE, a remarkable book by Louisa Reid, part horror story, part mystery, part coming of age novel. It will be published in May and it’s utterly brilliant. And THE PLAYDATE (see above). I tend to have a couple of books on the go at the same time.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
They are so closely linked, but I’d have to say read. Life wouldn’t be worth living without reading every day, it keeps me sane.

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Full of potential.

Sarah Webb’s THE SHOESTRING CLUB is published by Pan Macmillan.

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