Thursday, 3 November 2011

PUSH-UPS: Ray Banks

So, what you pushing right now?
Dead Money. It’s a page-one rewrite of my debut, and it’s out now from Blasted Heath, who are a fine bunch of people. I have to say that, or they’ll hurt me again. Just like I need to keep using the lotion.

What’s the hook?

Bad boy double-glazing salesman Alan Slater gets in over his head when his best mate gets involved in a not-exactly-legit poker game. A dog gets killed, booze gets drunk, wives get cheated on. Just another day at the office.

And why’s that floating your boat?
Because I got a chance to put right what once went wrong, like Quantum Leap. Because it’s rare that I’ll go back and look at any of my books again, let alone completely rework them. Dead Money is a far better, sleeker, more entertaining book than The Big Blind, and that got some tremendous reviews. Plus, it’s dead cheap an’ that.

When did you turn to crime?
Same time most people do, when I hit rock bottom.

Hardboiled or Noir, classic or contemporary?
Classic noir, please. Those books don’t age half as badly as the contemporary stuff.

And, what’s blown you away lately?
Neil Smith’s All The Young Warriors, obviously. John Rector’s Already Gone. Christa Faust’s Choke Hold. Charlie Williams’ One Dead Hen. Les Edgerton’s The Bitch. Loads of stuff. It’s been a bloody good year.

See any books as movies waiting to happen?
Allan Guthrie’s Savage Night and Kiss Her Goodbye, I hope. I adapted the first one and I’m about to adapt the second. I’m hearing good things about the possible movie of his Two-Way Split, so I’m hoping that’ll help us into production. Looking forward to the movie versions of your stuff too, Black.

Mainstream or indie - paper or digital?
It’s never either/or, and I think you’re about to see a lot of small “indie” e-publishers becoming the next mainstream. At the moment, I’m all about the digital, but I’d never dismiss paper.

Shout us a website worth visiting …
Well, there’s Blasted Heath’s website. Then there’s my own. Other than blatant self-promotion, I find loads of good stuff at Dangerous Minds and Letters of Note.

Finally, tell us any old shit about yourself …
I’m currently naked. Which is a little unnerving for the other people at work, but I was warm. And drunk.


Ray Banks shares his birthday with gameshow host and former CIA operative Chuck Barris, and he likes to think he owns a little piece of Roberto Rosselini’s soul, seeing as Rosselini carked it the day he was born. He’s been a wedding singer, a double-glazing salesman, a croupier, a dole monkey, as well as various degrees of disgruntled temp. These days he likes to think of himself as a writer. He’s been called a bit of cult – at least he thinks that’s what they said. He now lives in Edinburgh, where he’s been known to fall into fits of curmudgeonly behaviour that normally involve salty language and lewd gestures.