Thursday, 15 March 2012

PUSH-UPS: Doug Johnstone

So, what you pushing right now?
My fourth novel, Hit & Run, published by Faber & Faber in March 2012

What’s the hook?

‘You hit. You run. But what if you had to go back?’ It’s J.G. Ballard’s Crash meets Shallow Grave.

And why’s that floating your boat?
I’ve been obsessed with car crashes for years. Can’t get them out of my head. This book is the culmination of that obsession. Basically, three young professionals are loaded, driving home, and they hit someone. They decide to flee the scene. But the driver, Billy, has to report on the incident next day in his job as a trainee crime reporter. Turns out the dead guy was Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord. A major headfuck ensues.

When did you turn to crime?
I don’t really understand distinctions between different genres. Most good fiction has conflict at its heart, and conflict more often than not leads to crime. All my novels have been about normal people forced into extraordinary actions by their circumstances, so I guess I’ve been into crime from the start.

Hardboiled or Noir, classic or contemporary?

Noir. I’ve really liked recent stuff such as James Sallis’s Drive, Matthew F Jones’s A Single Shot and anything by Daniel Woodrell or Donald Ray Pollock.

And, what’s blown you away lately?
Frank Bill’s Crimes in Southern Indiana. A visceral collection of interconnected short stories full of noir grit, but with a real downhome lyricism too.

See any books as movies waiting to happen?

Last time I did this I gave Willy Vlautin’s work a shout out – turns out they’re making a movie of one of his! This time, I reckon Ewan Morrison’s Swung, about the swinging scene in Glasgow. Fucked up and psychologically brilliant.

Mainstream or indie - paper or digital?
Digital for news, paper for books still, mostly. I have nothing against ereaders at all, just that I read a lot of books for review, and publishers haven’t quite got up to speed with that yet for proof copies. As for mainstream v indie – in all walks of life indie, indie, indie.

Shout us a website worth visiting …
The Faber blog. Full of clever people writing clever things. Sometimes they let me have a go too.

Finally, tell us any old shit about yourself …

I think I’m the only person in Scotland who thinks Alasdair Gray’s Lanark is pish.