Tuesday, 18 October 2011

PUSH-UPS: Declan Burke

So, what you pushing right now?
I’m pushing ‘Absolute Zero Cool’, Sisyphus-like, up the hill towards its official launch on August 10th, and thanks for asking.

What’s the hook?

Deranged by logic, and concerned that too much compassion is fatally undermining the human race, a hospital porter decides to blow up the hospital where he works.

And why’s that floating your boat?

Well, it’s blowing shit up, isn’t it?

When did you turn to crime?

That would be when I stole my first library book. I believe it featured Bill Badger defending his canal barge against a dastardly gang of water-rats. As for writing the stuff, that would be when I thought it would be hilarious to set a Chandleresque private eye story set in contemporary rural Ireland. Oh, how I laughed. For two years. Then I stumbled across Ken Bruen’s ‘The Guards’. That, my good sir, was the day the laughter died.

Hardboiled or Noir, classic or contemporary?

Any and all. My only crit
erion when reading a book is that it’s well written. Time, place, style, character - I’m up for anything.

And, what’s blown you away lately?

If by ‘lately’ we can say the last six months: ‘Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter’ by Tom Franklin; ‘The Glass Rainbow’ by James Lee Burke; ‘The Troubled Man’ by Henning Mankell; ‘City of the Dead’ by Sara Gran; ‘Top Loader’ by Ed O’Loughlin; ‘Falling Glass’ by Adrian McKinty; ‘The Fatal Touch’ by Conor Fitzgerald; ‘The Watchers’ by Jon Steele; ‘The Trinity Six’ by Charles Cumming; ‘The Caller’ by Karin Fossum. And, two not recently released, but recently read: ‘The Given Day’ by Dennis Lehane, and ‘1980’ by David Peace.

See any books as movies waiting to happen?

Not really, because I don’t really read that way. They’re two very different kinds of storytelling, internal and external, and my personal preference is for books that appeal to the internal imagination. That said, I’d be shocked if ‘The Watchers’ isn't adapted for film; and I think ‘Crooked Letter’ w
ould make a very good film indeed. The same goes for ‘The Given Day’.

Mainstream or indie - paper or digital?

I’m totally on board with both paper and digital, and I don’t believe it’s an either-or scenario. I think, ultimately, digital will become the reading format of choice, simply because convenience tends to drive success in most business models. But books are a little bit different to most businesses, and I think you’ll find that over time, people will read most of their books on e-readers, but that they’ll buy their ‘keepers’ in dead tree format. And, given that said books will be ‘keepers’, I actually believe digital will contribute to the hardback making a comeback. The mass-market paperback is the format most under threat from digital, I think. As for mainstream or indie, again, I don’t care where a book comes from so long as it’s a good story well told.

Shout us a website worth visiting …
I like Peter Rozovsky’s Detectives Beyond Borders. You can catch him at http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Finally, tell us any old shit about yourself … I have a tattoo of Wile E. Coyote, in that moment when he’s stepped out off the cliff and is staring at the camera, his little sign held aloft. I got it because I wanted a cartoon take on Beckett’s mantra of ‘Fail. Fail again. Fail better.’ Which isn’t just a good philosophy for a writer, it’s not a bad one for life in general. On the sign, by the way, it says ‘Mi vida’, which was a message for my then girlfriend. We split up not long after. But now we’re married and have a beautiful baby girl. So there you go - ‘fail, fail again, fail better’.


Declan Burke’s ‘Absolute Zero Cool’ is published by Liberties Press. http://t.co/euIRNfE