“Declan Burke is his own genre. The Lammisters dazzles, beguiles and transcends. Virtuoso from start to finish.” – Eoin McNamee “This bourbon-smooth riot of jazz-age excess, high satire and Wodehouse flamboyance is a pitch-perfect bullseye of comic brilliance.” – Irish Independent Books of the Year 2019 “This rapid-fire novel deserves a place on any bookshelf that grants asylum to PG Wodehouse, Flann O’Brien or Kyril Bonfiglioli.” – Eoin Colfer, Guardian Best Books of the Year 2019 “The funniest book of the year.” – Sunday Independent “Declan Burke is one funny bastard. The Lammisters ... conducts a forensic analysis on the anatomy of a story.” – Liz Nugent “Burke’s exuberant prose takes centre stage … He plays with language like a jazz soloist stretching the boundaries of musical theory.” – Totally Dublin “A mega-meta smorgasbord of inventive language ... linguistic verve not just on every page but every line.Irish Times “Above all, The Lammisters gives the impression of a writer enjoying himself. And so, dear reader, should you.” – Sunday Times “A triumph of absurdity, which burlesques the literary canon from Shakespeare, Pope and Austen to Flann O’Brien … The Lammisters is very clever indeed.” – The Guardian

Thursday, September 1, 2011

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?”: Val McDermid

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?
If I was a mercenary bitch, I’d say THE DA VINCI CODE. But I’m not, so I’ll go with Reginald Hill’s ON BEULAH HEIGHT. Tender, savage, clever, funny and moving. Beautifully written and immaculately plotted. What’s not to envy?

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Jim Hawkins. So I could play inside the perfect novel.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I go back to childhood and read the Chalet School books by Elinor M Brent Dyer, and Agatha Christie.

Most satisfying writing moment?
When I figured out a structure that would allow me to tell the story of A PLACE OF EXECUTION. That was a beautiful moment in itself, but it also made me trust myself and not worry that sometimes it takes years to find the right way to tell the story.

The best Irish crime novel is …?
Oh yeah, right. Like I’m going to stick my neck out like that just before I visit Ireland ... That wouldn’t have been too tough a call ten years ago. But now? Seriously, there’s been so much quality crime fiction coming out of Ireland in the past few years it would be invidious to single out any one book. I love youse all. Well, most of youse.

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
If you’d just let my throat go ... Thank you. I think Adrian McKinty’s Dead trilogy would make a great sequence of films. But so would many others. What’s more important is that Irish writers keep on writing great books.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Working alone. I love my own company but I’m also a very social animal. Sometimes I spend so long with characters I can push around that I forget how to interact properly with real people ...

The pitch for your next book is …?
A woman is going through US airport security with her kid. She sets off the metal detector and while she’s waiting in the perspex box to be patted down and wanded, someone walks up to her kid by the X-ray belt and walks off with him. As she attempts pursuit, she’s thrown to the ground and tasered. When she comes round, the kid is long gone. That’s next year’s book.

Who are you reading right now?
It’s the time of year when I read mostly debut novels so I can put together my wish-list for next year’s Harrogate Festival new blood panel. So I’ve just started the proof of a first novel called TIDELINE by Penny Hancock which is not out till January. I’ve just finished a proof of Stuart Neville’s third novel, STOLEN SOULS, which somehow sneaked into the pile. And I can exclusively reveal that it’s nail-biting, gut-wrenching and nearly made me miss my stop on the train. Next up will be something called ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL by some Irish guy who claims he’s holding my wife, my kid and my dog hostage.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
I’m not as arrogant as people might think I am; I’d read.

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
I’d rather leave that to other people. Preferably those to whom I have already slipped a £20 note.

Val McDermid’s THE RETRIBUTION is published by Little, Brown. Val will be appearing at the Mountains to Sea Festival, in conversation with Declan Hughes, on Saturday, September 10th. For all the details, clickety-click here


Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Val-that was very entertaining. Your next novel sounds awesome. There are many Irish crime novels that would make excellent movies, at least the kind that I like to watch anyway.

John McFetridge said...

I wish I could buy stock in that next book.

lil Gluckstern said...

My anxiety level just jumped in anticipation of your next book, Val. I enjoy your books; I must enjoy being scared. I'll just get a shot of Absolute Zero Cool for balance.

Anonymous said...

Nice interview!

There are some great Irish crime novels that would be fantastic on the big screen. For starters, how about anything by Ken Bruen?

William Doonan

@Ruby_Barnes said...

Holy guacamole! That's the way to interview. Gotta go get me some more of Val's writing.

kathy d. said...

Wow: Awesome Val McDermid. She's fearless and outspoken. All good.

My only problem is that I'm way behind in reading her books, so I better hurry before I'm so far behind that I can't catch up.