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, October 30, 2012

Woe To Live On

Back in September I had the very great pleasure of reading alongside Daniel Woodrell (right) during the Mountains to Sea Festival in Dun Laoghaire. Even more enjoyable was the couple of hours before the event, when we sat down for a chat over some lunch, conducted an interview for the Irish Times, and then sat around some more, talking books and writing and whatnot.
  He’s a good guy, Daniel Woodrell. Understated, funny, with no affectations. The kind of quietly spoken that comes with carrying a big stick - or in his case, a big, big talent. I liked him a lot. And then, last week, after the interview finally appeared in the Irish Times, I received an email from him to say thanks, he liked the piece. A classy touch, and a pleasant surprise, but not really surprising, if you follow my drift.
  Anyway, here’s an excerpt from said Irish Times interview:
Despite announcing his ambition to be an author as early as the third grade, Woodrell turned his back on writing in his teens. “I dropped out of school when I was 16, when I gave up on the idea of being a writer, but I came back to it when I was 21,” he says. “I thought, No, I’m gonna sink or swim. I’m going all-in, see if I can do this or not. Which was good. I needed something severely challenging that I was willing to give myself to. I’d run a little wild around then. But that’s what those years are for, right?” Yet another throaty laugh. “So long as you don’t get too long of a sentence, you’re alright.”
  After a period in the Marines, Woodrell moved from the Ozarks to San Francisco and settled in to learn his craft. “As a high-school drop-out, I knew I wanted to write, but I wasn’t overly confident that I was going to be writing anything serious. I was happy enough with the idea that I could be a penny-a-word guy and survive.”
  At that point he wanted to write about anything – or any place – that wasn’t home. “Well, I was trying to survive as a writer and I knew that the nation in general doesn’t care about what happens in the Ozarks. I mean, I don’t want to be callous about it, but we all seemed to get over the Oklahoma bombing pretty quickly, and we’re never going to get over 9/11. Y’know? And so all of us out there are aware that you have to really be into writing about it, because there’s no advantage to it.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here


Richard L. Pangburn said...

Thanks. Great interview.

"Take me home, country noir," is a great headline too.

seana graham said...

Yes, terrific interview. Woodrell's older stuff is coming out in some lovely paperback editions right now, and I'm excited to catch up on him finally.