June 09, 2011

Unread Interview: Darragh McManus

Please welcome Darragh McManus for this week's Unread Interview! Darragh is promoting his latest book, written as  Alexander O’Hara, Cold! Steel! Justice! We have a Giveaway as well, so after you are done reading, click the button just below!

Unread Interview is a series where I feature authors whose books I couldn't accept for review because of time or logistics issues.
Renegade ex-cop Christian Beretta was kicked off the Dice City Police Force for being "just too damn violent". Now he's BACK - and teaming up with his old partner/sidekick, the gnarly-but-kindly Chief of Police and his feisty ex-girlfriend (who's resurrected from the dead) for the toughest mission of his life. An evil Irish-born Mayor aims to take over the illegal drug trade and execute criminals on live TV - and only Beretta can stop him...
Cold! Steel! Justice!!! is a tour de force of action, comedy, comic-action, action-comedy, and a whole load of nonsense. Like all the great straight-to-video cop movies you remember from the 1980s, it's packed with suspense, violence, incident, smart quips, daring deeds, racial stereotypes, gratuitous nudity, men wearing bandanas in flagrant contravention of all rules of taste, and at least one scene where a Mexican drug lord is incinerated in his own car. As convention dictates.
The renegade but good-hearted Beretta causes mayhem, busts things up, does cool things with big goddamn guns, cracks wise, breaks all the rules, gets the girl and saves the day.
In a world of pain, he's the Novocaine...if Novocaine wore a sexy leather overcoat, smoked 40 filterless a day and carried a hand-cannon so goddamn enormous it makes other hand-cannons wet their underpants.
So stand in line for YOUR fill...of Cold! Steel! Justice!!!
You can also buy Cold! Steel! Justice!!! at Smashwords.
Tell us a bit about your book (s).
I have two e-books currently for sale at Amazon.com and Smashwords.com: Cold! Steel! Justice!!!, which is a comical crime novel, and Terminating Hollywood, a collection of satirical pieces on movies. CSJ!! is about a renegade cop trying to stop an insane politician from executing criminals on live TV, among other misdeeds. Terminating Hollywood has lots of silliness, such as the life of Tom Cruise rewritten in a Biblical style, and the ten most ridiculous character names ever invented.

Have you ever wanted to be a writer? When did you start writing "seriously"?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, I think, but didn’t start writing seriously until about 28. Until then I wrote for newspapers and magazines, as my job, but no fiction or book-length non-fiction. I was probably a bit lazy! But don’t worry, I’m quite industrious now.

Do you read much? What kind of books do you usually read?
Not as much as I’d like to. With family and work commitments, I don’t get the time to read as much as I want. But when I do, it’s generally ‘literary’ books, often older ones – mid 20th century, etc – rather than the latest releases. I also like a good crime novel from time to time, and popular science books, which are fascinating to me even though I can’t comprehend most of it.

What are your favorite or least favorite scenes to write?
I don’t think I have favourites as such. Probably the easiest thing to write, though, is dialogue: I have a pretty good ear for it and it flows fairly naturally. Passages of prose can be a slog sometimes, for sure.

Do you relate more to any of your characters? Why?
Not really – they’re a pretty wide mix of people. And depending on the book, they might be realistic – such as in a literary novel I wrote – or outlandish caricatures, like in Cold! Steel! Justice!!! So I wouldn’t especially relate to the gun-slinging loose cannon cop busting up the town in pursuit of justice! Having said that, the main character in the novel I mentioned above is basically me in fictional form: 90% me, probably.

Which genre do you feel it would be a challenge to write?
Young Adult or children’s. Because there are a lot of restrictions in terms of what you can say or the sort of language you can use. And it can’t be as oblique or open-ended as adult fiction, I don’t think: you have to tell a story first and foremost.

What inspires you? And how's your writing environment - music, place, etc.?
Inspiration comes from anything, really – though not from other books and writers, strangely enough. It could literally be something as simple as a word or phrase or quick thought while still half-asleep or snatch of music I heard somewhere. Or I could just steal from someone else, which is easier. (Joke!)

What would you say about the book - your words, no blurbs! - to convince someone to read your book?
They’re both very, very funny. That’s all there is and that’s all you should need! Genuinely, laugh-out-loud, both of them. Packed with great jokes on every page. You may not usually read comical books, but you should make an exception for Cold! Steel! Justice!!! and Terminating Hollywood.

What are your plans for the future, writing-wise? New books, sequels, publishing deals, etc.
I hope to upload several more satirical non-fiction books, after Terminating Hollywood, which is first in my Popp’d Off series: humorous looks at the world of arts, entertainment, media and pop culture. The next one will probably be on music. I also have a literary novel and collection of short stories out with a few different publishers at the moment, and am currently contacting theatres about my first play, in tandem with a really excellent Canadian director. The next book I’m going to write is a Young Adult novel with a little paranormal twist – but not vampires, I promise! Then I’m going to finish my second play. And after that, who knows?

Thank you, Darragh, for your time! It was nice to have you here and good luck!