q) first of all I want to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. The first one is a classic within our interview-series. Who is the guy behind the Sean-Duffy-series?
I don’t know. I meet him in a dimly lit basement parking lot. He’s always in disguise. I hand him over the cash. He sends me the manuscript in a brown envelope. I think he works for other ‘writers’ too as the last Sean Duffy novel he did for me involves Sean becoming a boy wizard at a wizarding school in England.
q) The fifth Duffy novel ‘Rain Dogs’ has recently been released here in Germany. How do you feel about the fact your books are published in different countries and languages?
It infuriates me. I’ve been trying for years to narrow down my audience to a few like thinking individuals who will get all my jokes and music references. And now I have to think about random people in Germany, Sweden or France trying to get a Stiff Little Fingers reference? No thanks!
q) The sixth novel ‘Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly’ has already been released. Are there any plans for a German translation?
There may be plans, schemes, blueprints. That’s all I am allowed to say.
q) You mainly use real historic happenings for your plots (the Jimmy Savile affair for example is well known, even here in Germany). Then you create a fictional story around it. Due to this fact seem highly authentic to me. How much investigation do you have to do for one of your novels?
Yeah I’ve really dug myself into a hole there. Now people expect a little bit of historical accuracy in every book so I have to do months of research whereas right from the get go I should have just made shit up. No one complains to Isaac Asimov that his neutron engine wasn’t invented in 2008 like he said, because he just made it all up. And, also, because he’s dead.
q) Your novels won several prices like the Ned Kelly award or the Barry award. ‘In The Morning I’ll Be Gone’ was picked as one of the best 10 crime novels 2014 by the American Library Association. ‘The Cold Cold Ground’ was picked as one of the best crime novel by The Times. How important are those prizes for you?
Very important. Sometimes I fill a bath with all my awards and swim around in it laughing.
q) Since we saw some of your book titles in the previous questions: Are you a huge Tom Waits fan or what was the reason you picked his lyrics for the titles?
Tom Waits is very litigious and I had hoped that he would sue me. But alas that didn’t work out.
q) Do you get a lot of reviews? How do you deal with them, especially the negative ones?
I get a lot of reviews. I have never had a negative review. How could that possibly happen when the books are all masterpieces? Well, I suppose a mad person could not like them but I wouldn’t mind if a mad person said unpleasant things because I was taught very early on to pity: a) the mad b) dogs with three legs c) bald men with orange comb-overs who think they are President c) people who like Coldplay.
q) From what I know all your books are crime novels. Could you imagine to write a completely different story without any crime elements?
I don’t think I could imagine that. I have a very poor imagination. Which is why choosing ‘novelist’ as a profession was such a catastrophic mistake.
q) Duffy is a catholic cop in the mainly Protestantic RUC. How did you get the idea for this very special constellation?
Again, it was that guy in the parking lot, not me. I’ll ask him next time I see him.
q) You were born and raised in the North of Ireland. From my interview with Sam Millar I got the impression that it’s still not as friendly as it seems over here. What do you think on the current situation?
Have you seem Sam’s author picture? No one wonder he thinks people aren’t too friendly to him. He’s terrifying. Whereas they love me.
q) Let’s get away from your novels and put the focus on yourself for a while. How does a normal day in your life look like?
I usually wake up screaming, thinking that I have turned into a giant cockroach but the family calms me down even. Sometimes down from the ceiling. Once they’ve gone I pour myself a stiff double Scotch, have some Frosted Flakes and then the really serious drinking can begin.
q) How do you work? Do you have a special writing place?
I write in the shower. Its not a very productive place to work and I’ve ruined many a laptop but at least I come out clean.
q) Do you like to read? Are there any authors or novels that influenced your work?
I do not like to read. Reading is for saps.
q) If somebody came to you saying ‘Adrian, I want to become a writer, too. Can you help me?’ what would you answer? Any tips for that poor guy?
I would give him the address and phone number of a really good psychiatrist who hopefully would talk him out of it.
q) Are there any projects you dream to realize?
Emulating the Emperor Nero and the giant Finn McCool I would like to build a bridge of boats from Carrickfergus across the Irish Sea to Scotland.
q) How long does it take you to finish a new novel?
Oh I’m fast. Very fast. And good. Fast and good. Good and fast. Sorry what was the question?
q) What can we except in the future? Are you currently working on a new book?
In the future we can expect sea level rises, Chinese global hegemony, famines and perhaps a merciful early death for our civilization from a comet strike.
q) Well, that’s it. Thanks again for taking the time to answer our questions. Finally, is there anything left you want to say to your German readers?
Ich weiß nicht was soll es bedeuten/Daß ich so traurig bin.