DM: What attracted you to crime fiction?
DM: Jim Thompson is a great example to bring up as the name of this event is a play on the title of his novel The Killer Inside Me, which follows the final days of Lou Ford, a police officer who is also an out of control serial killer. In both Leon from Graven Image and Royston Blake from the Mangel series, you write from the perspective of violent, low-ranking members of criminal underworlds, who are similarly trapped in destructive patterns of behaviour. What is the appeal of these characters to you as a writer?
The one thing that most of these characters I write have in common is that they believe they are not low-ranking. Doormen, bouncers and pub singers hold high-profile positions of control in the places where people conduct their social lives and look for excitement. So it’s easy for a slightly delusional personality to make more of that than he should.
DM: I think that the distinction you make between Chandler’s Marlowe and the protagonists of Jim Thompson can be explained by the difference between hard-boiled and noir crime fiction. Noir is partially defined by the sense of entrapment you note, as characters are pulled down by their own flawed characters and dire circumstances. Do you see this as an area of overlap with horror?
DM: What drives you to write dark, transgressive novels?
DM: Who are your influences from both crime and horror?
DM: I agree that laughter can provide sometimes much-needed light moments in dark fiction. However, it can also add complexity to a story. Do you ever consciously use humour in your novels to satirize aspects of contemporary culture or the human condition?
DM: What are your writing plans for 2011 and beyond?