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, January 19, 2011

21st Century Boy

I have no idea of when it’ll go live, but at some point today Mulholland Books will begin serializing a new novel by Sir Kenneth of Bruen (right). It all sounds splendidly Dickensian, albeit in a 21st century kinda way, and would be even more Dickensian were it a Jack Taylor novel exploring the squalor of recession-hit Galway (sorry, Galway), with soot-blackened urchins being shoved up chimneys to discover corpses and whatnot. Anyway, you can clickety-click here for more
  In other news, yesterday I received a long awaited decision on the future of my own current tome, which is at the moment languishing under the improbable title of THE BABY KILLERS. The news, disappointingly, was a negative, although the disappointment has less to do with the fact that the book won’t be published any time in the near future (I’m well used to that at this stage) as it has to do with the potential publisher, a small but perfectly formed press with some radical ideas on the future of publishing. It’s a pity, but there it is; upward and onward.
  It now looks very much like I’m going to self-publish THE BABY KILLERS, aka BAD FOR GOOD, aka A GONZO NOIR at some point later this year. I’ve had a good scour around the interweb for self-publishing deals, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t in all conscience, given these straitened times and the need to put food on the table, etc., pump even a relatively modest sum of money into a project just for the sheer vanity of being able to hold an actual book. And so I’ll be e-publishing THE BABY KILLERS, and pretending that I’m doing it to be on the cutting edge of technology, especially in the context of Amazon claiming that they’re now selling more Kindles than McBurger sells cheeseburgers, etc, yadda-yadda.
  For those of you who’ve been keeping an eye on this project, the principle behind it will remain the same: any monies accruing will be donated to charity. That won’t amount to much more than a hill of beans, and probably a lot less, because the price of the book will probably be in the $1 range. Still, it’s the thought that counts.
  As to what I’ll do once THE BABY KILLERS is out there, I really have no idea. I’ve a couple of stories I’d really like to write, and one in particular that simply won’t go away, so I have plenty of material to work with. Whether or not there’s an actual point to writing it, or them, is another matter entirely. Yes, it’ll be that uniquely perverse kind of masochistic fun that is writing, which is roughly 90% of the reason I write; but I can only delude myself for so long, and eventually the other 10% - actually presenting the story to other people for the purpose of reading it, if for no other reason than to justify the time you’ve wasted writing the bloody thing - will kick in. And where do I go then, with my oh-so-precious m/s clasped in my clammy hands? Being practical, there’s only so many times I can tell the Three Regular Readers of ye olde blogge that good times are just around the corner; at some point they’re going to lose interest, or worse, start pitying me. Better perhaps to just accept that I’ve had a good enough run at this point, a better run than I’d even allowed myself to imagine starting out, and simply fall on my sword.
  We’ll see. Right now my priority is to get DOWN THESE GREEN STREETS to the publisher on deadline, and see it ushered onto a bookshelf near you in all its pomp and glory; and once that’s done, I’ll crack on with e-publishing THE BABY KILLERS, and apologies in advance to all of you who, like me, prefer actual books to the electronic version. After that, well, who knows? Only time, that notoriously doity rat, will tell.


David Corbett said...


Your publishing setbacks are unworthy of you and your work. I hope you continue to believe that. Having been passed over for the Edgar today, when that was the only hope I had of getting the book--which I believe is my best--noticed by anybody, has me in a similar state of despair. I'd tell you what I'm already trying to tell myself, but I can see by what you've posted I've got nothing to offer there. The good news, there are people who look forward to your next book. Take that to heart. It may seem small consolation, but in the end, all consolations seem a little less than magical.

I wish this were a bolder, happier note. Sorry. But I check out your blog daily precisely because I love how you think and write.

Declan Burke said...

David - You're very kind to say so, sir, but there's better writers than me in the same boat, or worse off. Commiserations to yourself on the Edgar nom, or lack of, I should say. Iron in the soul, sir.

Back in my youth, as an impressionable teenager, I managed to miss penalties in two consecutive All-Ireland finals, one in hurling, the other in football; we lost both games by the bare minimum. Character-building stuff, as they say. After getting through that, the occasional book rejection is a piece of piss.



David Corbett said...


That's the tragedy, or conundrum, or wtf. There are indeed better writers than both of us combined in the same boat. And yeah, pity's for losers. I did spend a little time reflecting on what I might be doing wrong, and used it to fuel my resolve and get back at it. But I did want to say my day is always a bit brighter because it has your words as part of it.

As for sports screwups building character and such--oh god, let's not go there.

Best and more:

Naomi Johnson said...

If we sell the hell out of the new book, perhaps perhaps perhaps a publisher will show a bit of interest in the next?

I don't pity you. I wish like hell I could write half as good as you do.

Declan Burke said...

Hi Naomi - Thanks very much for that, and I particularly like the 'we' bit ...!

Cheers, Dec

Arlene said...

Oh I am sorry to hear that Dec. I was very much looking forward to getting my filthy paws on a copy.

Sheiler said...

Hi, I really enjoy reading your blog and am sorry your publisher rejected you. Your review of Michael Caine still makes me laugh.

Did you come across this link while researching self-publishing tactics? Doctorow gives away his book electronically and still makes money. Maybe there's something there for you.