Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?”: Ellen McCarthy

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?

John Connolly’s EVERY DEAD THING is so horribly great. Some people find it too graphic but I think it is crafted beautifully while looking at the extremes of human depravity. I’m glad it’s fiction!
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Miss Marple. I want to live in a picture perfect cottage in St Mary Meade and meddle in everyone’s life.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
P.D. James. Her quiet insular settings are captivating whether it’s an isolated monastery or a remote Cornish island retreat. Her characterisation and prose are comforting, timeless and old worldly.
Most satisfying writing moment?
My most satisfying writing moment to date was when I won the short story competition ‘Do The Write Thing,’ with Poolbeg Press in conjunction with RTE’s ‘Seoige’. It wasn’t the Edgar but it was the moment my writing came out of the back room and on to the bookshelves.
The best Irish crime novel is…?
LOST SOULS by Michael Collins. It is part police procedural with a deep psychological feel. It is beautifully written, taking an unforgiving look at the decline of a small town and its inhabitants when poverty strikes.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
BLACK SHEEP by Arlene Hunt. I think the director could really focus on the Quinn brothers and the legacy of family and bad decisions.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The worst thing about being a writer is the fear and insecurity. Every time I send something out I’m shaking with nerves. The best thing about being a writer is getting positive reviews from readers.
The pitch for your next book is …?
A husband dies suddenly, but who was he? His work colleagues claim they never met him and nobody seems to know his real name. Now some stranger is prompting his wife towards a past he obviously didn’t want her to know. Was this person responsible for his death and where will it all lead her?
Who are you reading right now?
I’m reading Robert Crais’ L.A. REQUIEM. I fell for the title. The book is proving to be just as good.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
That’s an impossible question. It’s like saying I’ll give you legs but you can either stand or walk.
The best three words to describe your own writing are …?
Vivid, tense, absorbing.

Ellen McCarthy’s novel GUILT RIDDEN is published by Poolbeg Crimson

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