“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.

Friday, March 9, 2012

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?”: Dana King

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?
Probably either THE MALTESE FALCON [by Dashiell Hammett] or THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE [by George V. Higgins]. Everything written after each of them had to deal with the comparisons, and each of them changed some aspect of crime fiction writing forever.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
My right brain says Chili Palmer in GET SHORTY [by Elmore Leonard]. No one is cooler, or had more fun making lemonade from lemons than Chili. My left brain says Steve Carella of the 87th Precinct novels, for being the guy everyone depended on to be stable and reliable.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I hope this doesn’t sound condescending, but Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels. They’re more like contemporary thrillers than the sometimes ambiguous, gritty things I usually read, but Child’s clarity and simplicity of approach are refreshing every so often. They’re modern day American Westerns with an invincible hero, and great fun to read because so much of each book keeps you wondering how Reacher is going kick this guy’s ass. Not if; how. Child doesn’t get enough credit for what a good writer he is. He always stays out of the way as the author, lets the story play out through Reacher’s thoughts and actions.

Most satisfying writing moment?
Getting the release and check from Todd Robinson of the late, sorely missed, Thuglit, when he selected a short story of mine for one of his ‘Blood, Guts, and Whiskey’ collections.

The best Irish crime novel is …?
Of those I’ve read, I’d vote for Declan Hughes’s ALL THE DEAD VOICES. All of the Ed Loy books are good, but the way this book uses background from The Troubles is wrenching, and also informative for someone who grew up far away from them. John Connolly’s THE BLACK ANGEL also struck a chord with me, but I don’t know that I consider Connolly to be crime fiction so much as paranormal / PI / I sure hope none of this is true.

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Depends on where the movie is made. For an American film, Adrian McKinty’s THE DEAD YARD would work well, especially if someone like the Coen brothers made it. In the movie were made on your side of the sheugh (thanks to Adrian McKinty for teaching me that term), I’d vote for Declan Hughes’s THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD. Americans don’t seem to want to make movies anymore with the kind of subtlety it needs. Same thing with THE BIG O. We’d make it a farce because it’s funny, but it’s not a farce. The humour has to be treated just so. I thought Ken Bruen’s LONDON BOULEVARD would be a great movie as I was reading it, but that movie has been made, so it’s off the list. I’ve yet to see it, so I can’t say whether a great movie was made. If it wasn’t, it should have been. Everything is there.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Worst is about halfway through the first draft, when I’m convinced whatever I’m working on is a piece of shit and I might want to start over. The ability to read other writers’ blogs and interviews on the Internet has taught me I am not alone here. That helps a lot. The best was when several writers I regard as my betters went out of their way to compliment and promote WILD BILL. It was rewarding beyond any expectations and made all the work and waiting worthwhile. I hope to be able to repeat that with WORST ENEMIES and going forward. Thanks for giving me a leg up with getting the word out.

The pitch for your next book is …?
Small town cops aren’t in as far over their heads as some people think, but knowing who did something and proving it are two different things.

Who are you reading right now?
I finished John Connolly’s THE WHISPERERS late last night. Adrian McKinty’s FALLING GLASS is next. (No, I didn’t set those up to look good on CAP. I really was reading THE WHISPERERS when you asked about the interview, and FALLING GLASS arrived in the mail a day or so before.)

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Read. My writing would soon bore me if I had no one else to recharge my batteries. I never tire of reading.

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Tight. Realistic. Sardonic.

Dana King’s WORST ENEMIES is a Penns River Novel.

4 comments:

seana said...

Nice to put a face and a back story to a commenter I see regularly on several of the blogs I frequent.

lil Gluckstern said...

Funny, Seana, I was going to say the same thing ;) Nice interview. Will check out your book.

Dana King said...

Thanks, all. This was great fun. I'm flattered to be included in the roll of oll those who have preceded me into the station.

pattinase (abbott) said...

For years, I pictured Dana as looking like the Andy character on THE OFFICE. (U,S. version). Now Andy is very nice looking, but a different type of man entirely.
That's what this media does-- you begin to think of someone as looking a certain way. And now, I know the truth. And his writing takes on a different tone for me.