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, May 18, 2010

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?”: Michael Harvey

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?
Hmm ... I can think of three and can’t pick between them. THE LONG GOODBYE, THE GREAT GATSBY, THE SUN ALSO RISES.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Sam Spade ... is there any other answer?

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Clive Cussler, Eric Ambler, Homer.

Most satisfying writing moment?
Chapter 41 of THE CHICAGO WAY. Not sure if it’s my favourite passage, but I remember writing it and feeling it in my bones.

The best Irish crime novel is …?
RESURRECTION MEN by Ian Rankin. Scottish, but close enough. (BTW, don’t say that too loud in Glasgow.)

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The best thing is that it’s just you and your characters. The worst thing is that it’s just you and your characters. Make sense? It’s not supposed to. The bottom line is that writing a novel is one of the purest human endeavours anyone can undertake. It uses up no natural resources and creates something out of nothing. Not magic ... hard work ... but pretty damn cool.

The pitch for your next book is …?
A sequel to THE THIRD RAIL. It starts up a week after THE THIRD RAIL ends and all hell breaks loose.

Who are you reading right now?
Got a few going. Cormac McCarthy, Albert Camus, Aeschylus, Alan Furst and Daniel Silva.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Yikes ... I’m Irish Catholic. We don’t like to tempt fate and we don’t like these questions. If I were still a child, I’d say read. Right now, I guess I’d say write.

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Physical, cinematic, honest.

Michael Harvey’s THE THIRD RAIL is published by Knopf.


Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Great questions, and based on Mr. Harvey's answers, he's an author I would / should read, along with Ian Rankin, who seems to be a common thread among many crime writers.

Declan Burke said...

Ian Rankin's Rebus novels are gold standard, Sean.

Cheers, Dec

seana said...

I like what Harvey said there about novel writing being one of the purest kinds of endeavors. I wouldn't say it uses no natural resources, but it's pretty darn close.

Also, I should say every once in awhile that I really enjoy reading these interviews. I've often gotten a better sense of a crime writer and what they're doing when before I may only have known them as names.

Declan Burke said...

I like the 'something out of nothing' idea, Seana. Like the start is a tiny Big Bang, and each novel a self-contained universe. Which is, in turn, just one in a virtually numberless number of universes.

There's a question: how many books have been published to date? I mean, ever.

Cheers, Dec

seana said...

I don't know, but that's one heck of a lot of universes.