Mark Billingham is doing New Zealand this month. (While that sounds a bit like “Debbie Does Dallas”, his author talk in the Takapuna Library this evening managed to paint a very low-key image of Mark in that particular arena.) It’s always a pleasure to listen to this stand-up comedian turn crime novelist, so I’ll do a show-don’t-tell for you.
Mark Billingham on his readers’ comments: “9 out of 10 complain about the swearing. Violence is fine. Child abuse - no problem. But don’t give them swearing!”
Mark Billingham on the folly of paying a fortune for wedding dresses (don’t ask): “My wife wore it once. Once! Even I wore it more often than that.”
Mark Billingham on crime fiction: “Crime fiction is better than sex.”
Mark Billingham on sex: “Crime fiction is better than sex.”
.... No, ok:
Mark Billingham on sex: “When I have sex with my wife, I don’t fantasise that she’s somebody else. I fantasise that I am. That makes two of us.”
Mark claims he doesn’t write about sex because his motto is ‘write what you know’. Makes one wonder why he writes about serial killers, then. Oh, he has a cover story for that. It’s called research.
Mark Billingham on talking to the police: “I talk to the police regularly for my research, and I’ve learnt a lot. Here is a tip: when a cop stops you for speeding, act a little gay. When he asks, Where is the fire?, say: In your eyes, officer. Nothing gets rid of them faster.”
Mark Billingham on researching serial killers: “When you’re driving long-distance, pick up a hitchhiker. Don’t talk to him for forty-five minutes. Then:
Mark: What’s your name?
Mark: Can I call you Number Seven?”