Q&A with author Malcolm Mackay @malcolm_mackay #killerfest15

Your name: Malcolm Mackay

Tell us about yourself: 33, ginger, Scottish, writer. That’s all of me in three words and a number.

Tell us about your latest book: The Night the Rich Men Burned is my fourth book, the story of two young men being lured into the criminal world by the promise of easy money. As one rises and the other falls in the world of money lending, old friendships break.

When did you start writing? I’d written for years for fun, killing time. Only took it really seriously when I had an idea worth being serious about, which ended up being my first book.

Where do you write? Always at my computer in my office. Can’t write anywhere else. I don’t take a laptop with me when I’m away from home because the change of scenery is too distracting.

Which other authors do you admire? It was probably classic American crime that got me into crime writing, so Chandler, Hammett, Thompson, Cain and the rest. Also huge soft spots for Maugham and Greene. Actually, this list could run very long.

Book you wished you’d written? Unfair question, there are hundreds. If I had pick one I suppose if I’d written Red Harvest I would retire happy. Or The Comedians. Or The Moon and Sixpence. Or…

Greatest fictional criminal: I’d say Parker from the Richard Stark novels. A brutal, cold blooded criminal protagonist who remained effortlessly fascinating. He proved that you didn’t have to find a lead character loveable to keep turning the pages.

Greatest crime or criminal from the real world: Most of what I read for research seems to be at the grotty end of the market, so on that basis, none.

Greatest fictional detective: So many to choose from but I’ll say James Ellroy’s Dudley Smith, who could probably qualify for the greatest fictional criminal as well. A horribly brilliant character that you shouldn’t want to see succeed.

What scares you? Nothing I’ll admit to in public.

Are you ever disturbed by your own imagination? I can’t surprise myself and there’s nothing in there I wouldn’t commit to paper anyway. Frequently disturbed by other people’s imaginations, which is a good thing.

3 crime books you would recommend to EVERYONE

  1. Pop 1280 by Jim Thompson
  2. Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
  3. A Gun for Sale by Graham Greene

Classics in any genre.

Do you listen to music when you write? I do, but only familiar music, anything new is distracting. Same reason I stopped listening to podcasts when I wrote.

Are you on social media? I’m on twitter, nothing else. Brevity is best.

How can fans connect with you? I’d say twitter is the best way, a great route to instantly connect with otherwise far away folk.

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