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.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?”: Eamonn Sweeney

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 FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE by George V. Higgins. Superbly written, tremendous dialogue, perfectly paced, a horde of memorable characters, not a wasted or graceless sentence in it. The gold standard.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
The eponymous protagonist of COCKFIGHTER: musical genius, unlikely babe magnet, sporting gentleman, a soul utterly unfazed by setbacks and troubles. Created by the great and greatly under-rated Charles Willeford.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
He wrote them in a hurry, I read them in a hurry, but I get great pleasure out of the Maigret novels by Georges Simenon. But I always feel relatively virtuous reading anything. If I want to feel guilty I play Missile Command or Galaxian on the computer.

Most satisfying writing moment?
Hearing that my first novel, WAITING FOR THE HEALER, was going to be published.

The best Irish crime novel is …?
OPEN CUT by JM O’Neill. The greatest Irish writer most people have never heard of. This and DUFFY IS DEAD are not just the best London Irish novels ever written but two of the best novels ever written about London. That he’s not much better known is, well, criminal.

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
THE MIDNIGHT CHOIR by Gene Kerrigan. And, on the grounds that the parentage rule has done great good for this country, A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR by Dennis Lehane, whose father comes from over the road in Clonakilty.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The best is the freedom. The worst is the uncertainty. Two sides of the same coin really, I suppose.

The pitch for your next book is …?
DOWN DOWN, DEEPER AND DOWN: Ireland in the seventies, war, sex and corruption, oh baby it was a wild world. Or, if this counts as the current book, the novel I’m working on is called BORDERTOWN BLUES. Pitch: Ireland in the seventies, war, sex and corruption, oh baby it was a wild world.

Who are you reading right now?
The Martin Beck novels by Maj Sjowal and Per Wahloo. Fantastic stuff, THE MAN ON THE BALCONY would be in the runners-up slot behind Eddie Coyle. Sjowall and Wahloo are the Beatles, Henning Mankell is Oasis. I like Oasis, but the original of the species is, to use football parlance, different class.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
A bit unreasonable of the guy, considering I’m one of the declining number of people who still believe in him. Read, I could dictate the books to someone else.

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Still getting there.

Eamonn Sweeney’s DOWN DOWN, DEEPER AND DOWN is published by Gill & Macmillan


Richard L. said...

Thanks, and thanks to Declan Burke for providing this feature.

I've an American who has long been a fan of Charles Willeford's dark humor and of Lehane's A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR, and now I've sent for copies of your WAITING FOR THE HEALER as well as copies of OPEN CUT and MIDNIGHT CHOIR, which I also found mentioned a few times by other authors earlier in this blog.

Always delighted to discover new novels of this kind.

Declan Burke said...

Much obliged, Richard ... the whole point of this blog, in a nutshell.

Let us know how the books treat you.

Cheers, Dec

kathy d. said...

And, as far as old novels, I would love to hibernate with tea and cookies and the 7 of Sjowall/Wahloo books I have yet to read, and perhaps some Andrea Camilleri books before re-entry into the outside world.

Eamonn Sweeney said...

Thanks to Richard for buying Waiting For The Healer, hope it's not a disappointment. And to Declan for asking me to do this.I'm in very good company.