Crime Fiction readers rejoice! John Connolly will be joining us for a lunchtime author talk, 12-12:45pm Friday 13th (!) September. All welcome.
Before John reaches our shores he let us in on some of his literary favourites. Wodehouse cheers him up, whilst Wuthering Heights holds its strange charm, as does The Thing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Connolly is author of the Charlie Parker mysteries, The Book of Lost Things, the Samuel Johnson novels for young adults and, with his partner, Jennifer Ridyard, co-author of the Chronicles of the Invaders. John Connolly’s debut – Every Dead Thing – introduced the character of Private Investigator Charlie Parker, and swiftly launched him right into the front rank of thriller writers. All his subsequent novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers. He was the winner of the 2016 CWA Short Story Dagger for On the Anatomization of an Unknown Man (1637) by Frans Mier from Night Music: Nocturnes Vol 2.
In 2007 he was awarded the Irish Post Award for Literature. He was the first non-American writer to win the US Shamus award and the first Irish writer to win an Edgar award. Books To Die For, which he edited with Declan Burke, was the winner of the 2013 Anthony, Agatha and Macavity awards for Best Non-Fiction work.
WHY DO YOU WRITE?
Gosh, lots of reasons. The first is that it was just a natural consequence of reading, and became my way of understanding the world. Some people see the world and immediately begin to paint versions of it, or hear music and want to create variations on it. I read, and wanted to write. On a practical level, I manage to support myself, my family and my dogs by doing something I enjoy, most of the time…
WHERE AND HOW DO YOU WRITE?
I have an office at the top of the house, but I’m not precious and can write just about anywhere. I like working to targets and deadlines, so I’ll set myself a word count for each day, or a number of chapters to revise, and I’ll work until I get that done.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING AND HOW DID YOU DISCOVER THE BOOK(S)?
I’m reading a book called Fried & Justified by Mick Houghton about the music business, which ties into the era of my radio show, ABC to XTC. I’ll also be bringing with me to Australia and New Zealand a volume of Dominic Sandbrook’s ongoing history of England since the 1960s, a proof of the new Stephen King book, and some P.G. Wodehouse to cheer me up if I’m down. As for discovering books, it’s through browsing and reading reviews. Mostly browsing…
WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WRITERS AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THEM?
In mystery, probably James Lee Burke, for the beauty of his prose, and Ross Macdonald, for his sheer empathy. I also love M.R. James, because no one has written better short supernatural fiction – ever, and P.G. Wodehouse, because there is no writer funnier. If I had to pick favourite books, I’d add Wuthering Heights, The Three Musketeers, and The Good Soldier, among others. Mind you, that changes according to my mood.
WHAT BOOKS ARE ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE?
I don’t really keep books on the bedside table, but Jennie and I have a huge shelf in the bedroom that keeps filling up with books that have yet to be read. Sometimes I feel as though they’re mocking me for not getting around to them, but it’s quite lovely to know that I’m never going to run out of stuff to read.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK-TO-FILM ADAPTATION?
It might well be John Carpenter’s The Thing, which is an adaptation of John W. Campbell’s Who Goes There? Campbell’s prose is pretty turgid, and he was a nasty piece of work (his views on race were contemptible), but his ideas were fantastic, and Carpenter translated most of them to film. By contrast, I think Atom Egoyan’s version of The Sweet Hereafter is much better than the Russell Banks novel.
WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU RE-READ THE MOST AND WHY?
Wuthering Heights. The oddness of it never dissipates.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE LITERARY CHARACTER?
A tie between Jeeves and Wooster, because they’re inseparable.
WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN MEANING TO READ BUT STILL HAVEN’T GOTTEN AROUND TO?
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding. I should have read it in college, but it’s rather long. I started it this year, and set it aside after 300 pages. I’ll read it yet.
WHICH THREE WRITERS WOULD YOU HAVE OVER FOR DINNER?
You know, I tend to avoid having dinner with writers, by and large. I’m probably not that sociable when it comes to them, but I admit that I may have an inferiority complex. Wodehouse would have been jolly, I think. I always like spending time with my friend Declan Hughes. And I really would like to have met Emily Bronte.
WHAT WOULD YOU COOK THEM?
I do a pretty good chicken gumbo, and a mean apple brioche bread pudding.
HOW ARE YOUR BOOKS SHELVED AND ORGANISED AT HOME?
Hardly at all. Mostly they land where they fall.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LITERARY QUOTE?
Can I have two?
“Very good,” I said coldly. “In that case, tinkerty-tonk.” And I meant it to sting.
from Right Ho, Jeeves! by P.G. Wodehouse
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands.
from ‘somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond‘ by e. e. cummings