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.

Monday, December 17, 2012

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?” Quentin Bates

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?
There are so many. Normally it’s the one I’m reading at the moment. It’s more thriller than crime, but let’s say THE DAY OF THE JACKAL.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
The narrator in THE IPCRESS FILE, Harry Palmer in the films. He cooks to perfection, duffs up villains with aplomb and is never lost for an answer, plus being irresistible to passing supermodels. All of which I fail dismally at. Otherwise I’d settle for Josef Svejk.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Viz. Mrs Brady first, then Eight Ace.

Most satisfying writing moment?
That point when it all starts to gel and you know it works.

If you could recommend one Irish crime novel, what would it be?
I haven’t read enough of them to make an informed judgement, but that ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is something I’ve ordered people to read. Who wrote that one?

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Again, haven’t read enough of them to say for sure. But I’d love to see one of Benjamin Black’s books filmed, if the character of Quirke and the atmosphere of ’50s Dublin would translate to film. I reckon it’d be either brilliant or terrible, no middle ground there.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The best bit is when someone goes out of their way to tell you just now much they enjoyed the story you’ve written, especially when it’s someone who took a chance on a writer they hadn’t heard of before and found they couldn’t put the book down. The worst bit is when it isn’t coming together, fighting the temptation to brood as the kettle boils yet again.

The pitch for your next book is…?
If you don’t want your wife to find out you’re being blackmailed, or wind up embarrassingly dead, maybe you should have been more careful where you put it? It’s set in Reykjavik at that dark, nervous time of year when the post-Christmas Visa bill is about to hit the doormat. (CHILLED TO THE BONE, out in April, UK & US)

Who are you reading right now?
Xavier-Marie Bonnot, Barbara Nadel, PG Wodehouse.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
That’s a hell of a choice. If it happens, I’ll just toss a coin. Either would be terrible. Mind you, if I could only read, at least there’d be a chance to make a dent in the sprawling to-be-read piles.

The three best words to describe your own writing are…?
May contain nuts.

Quentin Bates’ current novel is COLD COMFORT.

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