Praise for Declan Burke: “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – The Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “A hardboiled delight.” – The Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review). “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre, was ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL.” – Sunday Times. “The writing is a joy.” – Ken Bruen. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Crime Always Pays: It’s All Me-Me-Me-Me-Me …
As all Three Regular Readers will be aware, I’ve tried on a number of occasions to back away from Crime Always Pays. Or to reduce the amount of time I spend updating the blog, at least. Not that it takes up that much time, really – but these days, time is probably the most precious resource, and every little helps.
Anyway, there are a few reasons as to why I’m going to make another effort to scale back on the daily updates. One is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep tabs on all the Irish crime writers, not least because they seem to be coming up like mushrooms. There was a time when I could make a fair fist of reading most of the Irish crime novels published in any given year; of late, there’s been two or three debut writers appearing every month, and that’s just the debutants.
Given that most of my reading time nowadays is taken up with books that I’ve been commissioned to read, for review or interview, etc., I really don’t have a lot of reading time to left over to pursue my own interests. Like virtually everyone reading this post, I’d imagine, I have a to-be-read pile that’s in grievous danger of toppling over and doing someone a serious damage were they to be strolling by at an inopportune moment.
It’s also the case that the blog – or the time spent updating it – is becoming a little counter-intuitive. The whole point of it, apart from bringing Irish crime writers to the attention of anyone who logs on here, is to generate a little awareness among the on-line reading community of my own books. Of course, the more I blog, the less I’m writing. And while we’re all in the business of selling books once they’re written, and while ‘selling books’ can be a very enjoyable pursuit in itself, given the extent to which you get to engage with a whole host of strangers, the point of the exercise, once you winnow out all the non-essentials, is to write. By which I mean, writing for its own sake, for the simple pleasure of moving words around and making them fit as best they can.
Right now it feels like a very long time since I’ve been fully engaged as a writer.
Meanwhile, I’m a little bit worried that all of the above is just an excuse, that the reason I’m not writing has nothing to do with time, or the lack of it, but because I’m dreading the process of starting a new book. At this stage, with four or five books under my belt, I’m fairly confident that once I get over some kind of hump that it’ll all start to happen; but right now that hump looks a lot like the north face of the Eiger, and – as always – I have this perverse instinct telling me that I should be able to clear it in one jump, from a standing start. I’ve even resorted to the old tactic of telling myself that if I can only get this one written, and written well, that that will be it – I’ll be happy then, I can stop writing for good.
Anyway, that’s the general gist as to why things will be slowing down around these here parts. I will be updating the blog as we go along, but I’m afraid there’ll be quite a bit of me-me-me involved; for those of you who prefer more general updates on Irish crime writing, there’s always the Irish Crime Fiction Facebook page to peruse.
Oh, and one last thing before I go – I’ll be hosting a Crime Writing course at the Irish Writers’ Centre over the next couple of months, which kicks off next Wednesday, February 6th, at 6.30pm. If you’re interested, all the details are here.