Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mark Billingham

Ali Karim recently interviewed Mark Billingham for The Rap Sheet.

Here is the introduction to their conversation:

I first bumped into Mark Billingham way back in 1999, when he was a still-unpublished British crime writer standing in a lengthy queue outside London’s Murder One Bookstore, waiting for the release of Thomas Harris’ sequel to The Silence of the Lambs (1988), Hannibal. I encountered him again a year later at the Dead-on-Deansgate conference, after his debut novel, Sleepyhead, was published. We shared a few beers, and I took some photos of the young Mr. Billingham before he went off to interview American writer George Pelecanos. After enjoying Sleepyhead, I was captivated by his follow-up, Scaredy Cat (2002), a sweaty novel about two serial killers working “in concert.” But of course, those slayers didn’t stand a chance, when pitted against Billingham’s series protagonist, Detective Tom Thorne, who would go on to win his creator a Sherlock Award at the Crimescene 2003 conference in London.

In the years since, Billingham has been juggling his composing of the Thorne series with his stand-up comedy work, his writing for television, his acting, and his efforts as one of the organizers of the annual Harrogate Crime Writing Festival. Not an easy set of responsibilities to handle, but he’s done it. And did I mention that he was once also a contributor to Shots, back when it was an in-print magazine, rather than the Web publication it is today? It was the dry-witted and insightful Billingham, in fact, who convinced me to join editor Mike Stotter at Shots (a memorable moment I captured on film). As his renown has risen, Billingham has himself become the subject of a Shots interview.

Anticipating this month’s paperback release in the UK of his sixth Thorne novel, Buried, and a hardcover version of that same book finally being due out in the States on July 3; and with his latest novel, Death Message, debuting in Britain on August 23, I tracked down this award-winning Birmingham-born writer for The Rap Sheet, and talked with him about his works-in-progress, his extracurricular activities, and his history as a humorist.
Read the entire interview.

--Marshal Zeringue