Interview 2015 – Steve Cavanagh (English version)

Ritual question to start my interviews, can you define you in three words, just three?

Me or the book ? If me then – Big. Irish. Bald.

You were born in Belfast. However, the action of your novel is set in the United States. Could this only take place there?

I think the plot suited New York very well. I wanted to put the ‘thrill’ back into the legal thriller – and write a novel that was very fast paced, slick, intelligent, and cool.

So there was no better place to set the novel than New York City. The speed of that town, the street smarts of New Yorkers – I thought the city was a perfect match for my story and my characters. 

I feel that your literary influences also come much from the American side…

Yes, I grew up reading Michael Connelly, John D. MacDonald, Ross MacDonald, Raymond Chandler, Ed McBain and Thomas Harris.

Two of the authors that had the biggest influence on me were Lee Child and John Connolly, and when I found out they were British and Irish, respectively, and they set their books in the US, I thought maybe I could follow in thier footsteps. Although, those guys have pretty big shoes to fill. 

English cover – French cover

I read a lot of thrillers, but I have never read such an explosive mix of action scenes and pleadings scenes. Was it difficult to achieve without this mixture explodes in your face ?

I think it was difficult to find a balance between the two.

Although, I never want my courtroom scenes to be boring – they have a different kind of action, or tension, or suspense. But getting a blend of these two elements was the plan from the start. I think it works quite well.

To make this incredible plot credible, did you have to do a lot of research beforehand ?

I did a lot of research into the New York legal system, but in terms of making everything credible – I think the secret is always in the characters and the details.

If something is written with a certain amount of chutzpah, or authority, and your characters read like real people, then readers will hopefully go with the story and get caught up in the emotion and the plot.

Where have you drawn your ideas on the world of the Mafia ?

For the Russian Mafia – I wanted to create a different group than we’d seen before. In popular culture Russian gangs are portrayed as tattooed, low-life killers. In my novel I wanted the Russian mafia to have a lot more skills – so my Russian mob are all ex-military, highly trained and fiercely intelligent.

For the Italian mafia – I stuck to the ideas that I knew, like family, a sense of duty and loyalty, whilst also not forgetting to portray the dark side of that dynamic.

You have a great experience as a lawyer, up to the winning of a sensational trial in Ireland. In your novel, you are not kind to the profession. Should you have to be rather crook to do this job ? 😉


No. I’d say not. The book examines the fine lines that separate con artists and lawyers, in that those two professions share some of the same skills. Like persuasion, misdirection, distraction, manipulation.

It’s ultimately an honorable profession. Although it’s no coincidence that the same lawyers win all the time…

Can we expect a continuation of the adventures of Eddie Flynn, the (ex)pickpocket (ex)con lawyer?

Absolutely. The second in the series is published in the UK next year, it’s called The Plea.

I hope that i twill be available in France too.

This blog is made of words and sounds. Does music have a share in your creative process?

Absolutely – I often listen to music to get me in a certain mood for writing. With the Eddie Flynn novels, a certain kind of dirty guitar vibe works best. The Black Keys are perfect.

For The Plea, if often listened to a live version of Stack Shot Billy, by The Black Keys, before I set down to do an evening’s work.

You have the choice between giving us your final word or talking about your favorite dessert…

Dessert, of course.

I’m old school, and in Ireland we had terrible desserts when I was growing up, but there was one from my childhood which I really enjoyed, and still enjoy – Black Forest Gateaux. Can’t beat cherries, chocolate and cream.

Thanks for the interview, I really enjoyed answering your questions.

My review of the book (in French)

Steve Cavanagh website

Catégories :Interviews littéraires

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