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 16, 2013

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?” Luca Veste

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?
Difficult question straight out the block! I would have said something classic before this year, such as a Mark Billingham, Steve Mosby or Elmore Leonard possibly. However, this year I read THE SHINING GIRLS [by Lauren Beukes] and have been thinking about off and on ever since. A time-travelling serial killer ... why the hell didn’t I think of that?!

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
I read mostly within the genre of crime, with some horror, and the very odd sci-fi or fantasy novel. So, most characters in crime fiction we meet at their lowest ebb, horror characters are generally going through some very scary shit stuff. I’d have to learn all sorts of new stuff for Sci-Fi and Fantasy characters and I’m very lazy. I’ll go for Windsor Horne Lockwood III from Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar series. Endless pots of cash, awesome fighting skills, and charisma to boot. What’s not to like?

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I don’t really call anything I read a ‘guilty pleasure’ as I’m quite okay with anything I choose to read - no matter what it does for hard fought for street cred. YA is probably on the low-end of the street-cred spectrum (bizarrely), so I guess I’ll say Michael Grant’s GONE series. Superb characters, pacing, and pathos. There’s tons of great stuff happening in the YA genre that is often overlooked.

Most satisfying writing moment?
Any time I get what is in my head down in words is extremely satisfying. To choose a specific moment however, it was writing the final words of the first draft of DEAD GONE. Back then, it was called something different, was 25,000 words shorter than what it is now, has a completely different second half, and a really weird timeline. But, I finished a novel for the first time. The idea of sitting and writing 80-100,000 words was so completely foreign to me, that even getting into the tens of thousands was a bit special. Actually finishing the book ... that was a big moment. A more satisfying moment may be coming up however, when I finally put the second book to bed. Now that has been a difficult process ...

If you could recommend one Irish crime novel, what would it be?
I imagine you get some really classic answers for this question, with the rich history the genre has in Ireland. It’s also a great time in Irish crime fiction, with the likes of Jane Casey, William Ryan, and Tana French. However, I think there’s an absolute star in Irish crime fiction right now in Stuart Neville. THE TWELVE is one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read, and would be heartily recommended to all.

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
If I was being truthful, I’d go for Stuart Neville’s THE TWELVE again here (seriously, it’s that good ... read it if you haven’t already), but that would be cheating, probably. I’ll also discount what I would go for second, as that would be ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL by some bloke called Declan Burke or something, as he appears to be asking the questions. That would make for a very trippy movie. Instead, I’ll go for BROKEN HARBOUR by Tana French. Everything about that novel screams for a movie to be made. It would be a very bleak film, but excellent I think.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Best thing – Sitting down and putting words onto paper/screen, making characters come to life which have until then existed only as fragmented thoughts. Worst thing – Sitting down and being unable to put those fragmented thoughts onto paper/screen, as they make no sense when made reality.

The pitch for your next book is …?
DEAD GONE is about a serial killer weaving his merry way through the streets of Liverpool, killing victims using infamous psychological experiments. With each victim comes a connection to the City of Liverpool University and a note explaining the experiment carried out. DI Murphy and DS Rossi are on the case, soon realising they’re facing a killer unlike one they’ve ever faced before .. .one who kills to discover more about life.

Who are you reading right now?
I’m reading two books at the moment (one paper, one ebook – I’m having the best of both worlds). One is A TAP ON THE WINDOW by Linwood Barclay – the usual ‘extraordinary things happening to ordinary people’-style thriller, which always works for me. The other, THE TESTIMONY by James Smythe – I’ve only just started reading this, after putting it down in favour of other stuff a month or so ago. Something’s happened, some kind of "event", and people are telling the story after it has occurred. No idea what’s going on at the moment, but I’m enjoying it!

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Does he also ask me which one of my two daughters is my favourite? Or Steven Gerrard vs Kenny Dalglish for favourite ever Liverpool player? I don’t like this God guy ... he is unnecessarily mean with his demands. I’ll go for read. And then like the good recovering Catholic I am, completely ignore God and write in secret, only no one could ever see it...

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Dark, uncompromising, and twisted.

Luca Veste’s debut is DEAD GONE.

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