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.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?” Alan Croghan

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?
God, there is so many. I think A SEASON IN HELL by Jack Higgins, cracking book and like THE GODFATHER I read it five times.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
It used to be Luca Brasi (from the book of THE GODFATHER, as I had my own vision of him in my head and plus he was a lot more involved in the book than in the film. He was kinda my hero in the book – but when I saw him in the film I instantly changed my mind, as I was really disappointed) but ‘Jago’ has always being my favourite; the ex-SAS martial arts expert, sniper turned contractual professional killer/protector in Jack Higgins’ book A SEASON IN HELL – a real super-cool dude, he was the business. He took no shit and was very professional.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
For obvious reasons, when I was in prison I used to read a lot of Sidney Sheldon, Harold Robbins and Jackie Collins. Today I don’t bother with it – there’s only so many hours in the day (smile).

Most satisfying writing moment?
Oh it has to be a toss-up between two; one was when the late John B Keane awarded me second place in the Drama Section of Listowel Writers week back in 1985, after I had written a short play. I was only 17 (some 29 years ago now – how time flies, eh?) and was in St Patrick’s Institution for young offenders at the time. And I had only recently learned how to read and write whilst in prison. I won a Gold Cross pen and a cheque for £20. I just couldn’t believe it. I was shocked. The second was getting the phone call from Penguin with an offer to publish WILD CHILD – it was like getting a belt of a hammer in the face!

If you could recommend one Irish crime novel, what would it be?
Has to be THE TWELVE by Stuart Neville. What a great book

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Tana French’s novels on the Dublin Murder Squad. They should have never been disbanded.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The worst is ‘Resistance’, preferring or choosing to do a hundred and one other insignificant things rather than do the most important thing that I really should be doing, like pressing the ‘power on’ button on my computer and bringing up my Word page – for me that can be the hardest thing in the world to do. The Best? That’s being in there, in my scene, in the story, being that invisible third party sitting in the car or at the bar table or in the bedroom – just waiting and wondering what each character is going to say or do to the other. They tell me what they’re going to do or say; I just write the words and describe their actions whilst my second brain scribbles like mad little notes and ideas that pop into my head as I work. I’m in that world, that time, that place and I love it because I know, at the end of the day, no matter where I go or what I do I am completely safe and I can bring my reader anywhere.

The pitch for your next book is …?
The working title is ‘Lord of the Underworld’. It’s a period ‘Faction’ book set in Ireland during 1834/35. During that time there was a forgotten but terrible growth in one of the darkest aspects of Irish history – the brutal, bloody and merciless period of Clan shillelagh fighting. Many factions formed to protect themselves not just from the British but from each other.

Who are you reading right now?

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Write – without a shadow of a doubt. Not being able to write … I’d go insane.

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Honest, realistic and methodical.

Alan Croghan’s WILD CHILD is published by Penguin Ireland.

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