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.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?”: CJ West

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?
THE DA VINCI CODE. It’s not necessarily a crime novel, but it would give me the freedom to write about any subject I chose for the rest of my career. I don’t strive to be recognized as a literary genius. I enjoy entertaining people and I think THE DA VINCI CODE did that better than any modern book.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
James Bond. He’s everything we want a hero to be and even though he pushes the limits of reason, we gladly follow along on his adventures. He also has an air of civility even in the most heated battle. I’d like to think I’d be so gentlemanly in his circumstances.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
My writing qualifies as a guilty pleasure, but I feel no guilt in reading every thriller or mystery author I discover. I find that I can learn something from whichever writer I pick up. I do really enjoy Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. I’ve read so many of their books, that I don’t think I could learn more from their style of writing. I read them because I know I’m going to enjoy the book front to back. Lately I’ve been sprinkling in more non-fiction.

Most satisfying writing moment?
I went to a Christmas party with a group of people I didn’t know well. I was leaving a room and a guy grabbed me by the sleeve and asked if I was CJ West. When he learned that I was, he started raving about SIN & VENGEANCE and didn’t stop for over an hour. At my next event, he bought 16 copies for friends and family.

The best Irish crime novel is …?
I’m only about 16% Irish, so my books don’t count. I’ll have to turn that around and say that my favourite Irish writer is Casey Sherman from Cape Cod.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
I love everything about being a writer. If there is one thing I’d rather not have to worry about, that would be marketing and selling books. Being a writer allows me to enjoy the solitude of working alone uninterrupted for much of the time and still allows me to get out and see people at events and book signings. I enjoy the stages of every book from concept, to drafting, to meeting readers. My favourite part of the process is the early creative work on any book. Creating characters and plotting books keeps me up late into the night and I can do it for weeks on end. The excitement consumes me and I don’t need anything else except food and a little sleep. Of course my kids have different ideas ...

The pitch for your next book is …?
I’m writing the next book in the Randy Black series. For those who haven’t started, you can get the first book, SIN & VENGEANCE, for free as an e-book on my website. In this new book Randy meets Gretchen Greene, a young woman who has discovered something that will change the world. Unfortunately, very powerful people don’t want this discovery to come to light. As Randy does his best to save Gretchen, he discovers that the two of them couldn’t disagree more about the nature of creation.

Who are you reading right now?
BEN FRANKLIN: AN AMERICAN LIFE, Walter Isaacson; THE INNOCENT, Harlan Coben; THE ACRONYM, Rebecca Lerwill; MOMENT OF TRUTH, Lisa Scottoline.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
I would write and try and figure out how to satisfy my desire to learn about the world in some other way. I’m compelled to write and would probably explode if I couldn’t.

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Intense, unpredictable, realistic.

CJ West’s A DEMON AWAITS is available now.

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