Monday 26 April 2010

Sam Millar

This interview first appeared on CSNI 17th March 2008

Yes, it's St Patrick's day, but crime doesn't take holidays, and neither does CSNI. Unless you count yesterday. Ahem. So here's a very special treat to mark the day that doesn't involve shamrocks or green Guinness or whatever else the eejits in green foam hats enjoy. It's an interview with Sam Millar.

Sam Millar has a huge list of achievements -- Author of three best-selling novels; Dark Souls, The Redemption Factory, The Darkness of Bones. His newest novel, Bloodstorm, has been selected by Eason and The Sunday Times to mark the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

“Bloodstorm is a powerful, relentless page-turner of a book, leaving you gasping for more…”

BBC Radio Ulster

He’s also the author of the best-selling memoir, On The Brinks, recently acquired by Warner Brothers.

Mr Millar has won the prestigious Aisling Award for Art and Culture, the Martin Healy Short Story Award, the Brian Moore Award for Short Stories and the Cork Literary Review Writer’s Competition. There’s more, but I’ll let him talk about it.

Q1. What are you writing at the minute?

A: The Dark Place and Searching For The Dead. These are the follow-ups to Bloodstorm. I have a couple of stand-alone projects in the oven, but they are not fully baked yet.

Q2. Can you give us an idea of Sam Millar’s typical up-to-the-armpits-in-ideas-and-time writing day?

A: Right now it’s 5am. That’s when I usually hit the screen (unlike cops hitting the street). I am blessed with insomnia - a writer’s dream (notice I didn’t write cursed with an ailment!). I’m eating marmalade and toast because my wife says it’s good for me, even though my doctor has firmly advised me never to touch the stuff as I am allergic to oranges, and it could cause a massive heart attack. Hey, always trust your wife, right…? I can’t be too precise as to where my ideas come from, because they usually sneak up on me. But sometimes the most mundane incidents can be the spur to kick-start the next paragraph. They say the greatest ideas are always accidental. Unfortunately, I haven’t had too many accidents, lately…

Q3. What do you do when you’re not writing?

Er, you really don’t want to know. Trust me on that…

Q4. Any advice for a greenhorn like myself trying to break into the crime fiction scene?

Stop being so modest, Mister Brennan. We’ve all seen your work – and damn good it is too. For those just starting in this dirty, bare-knuckle business my advice is simple (a bit like myself): write. Keep writing. There is no wrong time to write. Have balls as big as the Hulk’s. Believe in yourself and with a good bit of hard grafting, you will make it. Never forget luck. You need plenty of that, as well. Oh, did I mention the Hulk…?

Q5. Which crime writer(s) have impressed you this year?

A: Er…have to skip that one…sorry any crime writer reading this…(bang goes the promised eye-catching blurbs for my next book).

Q6. What are you reading right now?

A: No Country For Old Men. (I think this is the tenth time) and The Road (the twentieth time.) I’ve been a big follower of Cormac McCarthy for years. ‘Discovered’ his work about ten years ago while I was resting in the penitentiary in America. It’s great seeing him getting the recognition he deserves so richly (boy, is he rich). In a strange twist of fate, my French publisher, Fayard, translates the great reclusive man’s work, and as I have a notorious brass neck, I have numerous signed copies from Cormac – I mean Mister McCarthy. I would kill anyone who dared touch them. No seriously. I would.

Q7. Plans for the future?

A: That’s a secret, in case my publisher is reading this…(which he probably is). Very sneaky of you, Steve…

Q8. With regards to your writing career to date, would you do anything differently?

A: Wouldn’t we all?

Q9. Anything you want to say that I haven’t asked you about?

A: You haven’t asked me the million-dollar question, the one everyone else normally asks: what did you do with all the money from the biggest robbery in American history? Well, seeing you didn’t ask, I’m sure as hell not telling. Buy On The Brinks…

Thank you, Sam Millar!

1 comment:

Patrick McGurn said...

Are there any plans to reprint "On the Brink's"? Also Sam should open a facebook account.

P McGurn