Today’s Roving Eye interview is with American crime writer Lawrence Block, who is best known for his two long-running New York–set series, about recovering alcoholic P.I. Matthew Scudder and gentleman burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr. Block was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1994.
When did you first realise that you wanted to write for a living?
I was fifteen, in the eleventh grade—which I'm sure is called something else in the UK. Encouragement from a teacher played a role, but I suspect I'd have got there regardless. Once it occurred to me to write for a living, I never truly entertained the idea of doing anything else. And it wasn't too much longer before I was doing it professionally.
What made you chose crime fiction?
It wasn't a deliberate choice. But in my early years, I found that the stories that most engaged me, and that I found it most satisfying to have written, were under that broad canopy of crime fiction.
What crime novel would you most like to have written?
There are any number of crime novels which I admire extravagantly, but that's not really the question, is it? So I'll say I'd most like to have written The DaVinci Code; authorship of which would have made my accountant very happy.
Who is your favourite author outside of crime fiction and why?
John O'Hara. The lives of his characters are real to me in a way most fictional characters are not.
Who are you reading right now?
I've just finished re-reading John Sandford's works.
If you weren’t a writer, what else could you see yourself doing?
Well, I don't think I'd be much good at running a bookstore, or being a detective. So what does that leave? I guess I'd be a hit man.
What was the last great book that you read?
Hmmm. I'd say Thomas Flanagan's Irish trilogy, starting with The Year of the French.
What are your thoughts concerning the current state of the literary world?
I don't know that I think in those terms. I do believe it's a very exciting time to be a writer.
What five words best describe your average day?
Rats. Here we go again.
Sum up your latest novel in less than 20 words.
Keller, now living comfortably in New Orleans as husband and father, returns to his homicidal profession.
And, lastly, just for fun..
Have you read or would you ever consider reading 50 Shades of Grey?