Tuesday, 24 May 2011

PUSH UPS: Doug Johnstone



So, what you pushing right now?
My third novel, Smokeheads, published by Faber in March 2011.

What’s the hook?
Whisky Galore-meets-Deliverance. Actually, it’s more like Sideways-with-whisky-instead-of-wine-meets-Deliverance, but that’s not quite so snappy.

And why’s that floating your boat?
Whisky and violence together, what’s not to like? It’s set on Islay, where a whisky-tasting weekend goes brutally wrong. Starts off like a buddy movie, ends with some DIY brain surgery.

When did you turn to crime?
Shoplifting rhubarb & custard chews from the local shop at primary school. Oh, you mean crime writing? I’ve always loved crime fiction, but for some reason I started off writing other shit, then the crime gradually sneaked in under the radar. I’m glad it did. Next novel is dripping with it, and all the better for it.

Hardboiled or Noir, classic or contemporary?
Classic noir if I had to choose, James M Cain, Jim Thompson, all that shit. Lots of great contemporary noir writers too, likes of Allan Guthrie, Ray Banks and Charlie Williams.

And, what’s blown you away lately?
Legend of a Suicide by David Vann. Not a crime book as such, but the darkest, bleakest, most fucked up thing I think I’ve ever read. A father and son move to a shack in the Alaskan wilderness. Bad things happen. Really fucking bad things.

See any books as movies waiting to happen?
Any of Willy Vlautin’s novels would make brilliant American indie movies, maybe The Motel Life would be best.

Mainstream or indie - paper or digital?
Paper and digital can live happily side by side, I reckon. I have an indie heart in terms of all art and culture though, just can’t seem to relate to mainstream shit that everyone loves. Probably a serious psychological flaw on my part.

Shout us a website worth visiting …
http://www.isthatcherdeadyet.co.uk/ - hated by The Daily Mail, which is reason enough.

Or maybe I should plug my own blog: http://dougjohnstone.wordpress.com/

Or my music website:
http://dougjohnstone.bandcamp.com/

Finally, tell us any old shit about yourself …
I had my nipple pierced for ten years, I have a PhD in nuclear physics, and Kurt Cobain once asked me if I had any Benylin in my local boozer. All true facts. My next novel, Hit & Run, is out March 2012 and is gonna mess with your heads.