Recommended Read: Burning Down The House by Evangeline Jennings

burning-down-the-houseThe United States elects a flim-flam man as President and America very quickly becomes no place like home for any of Burning Down The House‘s well-drawn cast of characters.

Evangeline Jennings‘ gripping dystopian novel takes place in a near future that seems chilling real.

Burning Down The House is part slice -of-life drama, part violent thriller, part satire.

The rich plot is full of sharp twists and turns and  the characters are all realistic and sympathetic. The many music references are smartly used and the ending is both brutal and sad. Highly recommended.

Short, Sharp Interview: Evangeline Jennings

burning-down-the-housePDB: Can you pitch BURNING DOWN THE HOUSEBURNING DOWN THE HOUSE in 25 words or less?

EJ: The dumbing down of America leads to the end of days. Something about tiny fingers and a well-regulated militia.

 PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

EJ: 4’33”. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. The Social Network. Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts. Veronica Mars. And far too many others for a short sharp interview. But if I’d written Lost, it wouldn’t have ended up shite.

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

EJ: Much of my crime fiction would make for decent movies. Burning Down the House is so episodic it could only ever work on TV.

 PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

EJ: PG Wodehouse. Terry Pratchett. Iain (M) Banks. Martin Millar. Andrew Vachss. Lawrence Block. Donald Westlake. Nick Tosches. Agatha Christie. Me.

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

EJ: Guns don’t kill people.

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

EJ: “Roadrunner” by the Modern Lovers

evangalinePDB: What’s on the cards?

EJ: The American electorate will save mankind, or not. Liverpool FC will fail heroically again. I will write some stupid good shit.

 PDB: Anything else?

EJ: My partner in crime, Lucy Middlemass and I are launching a new publisher-y thing shortly. It will be called Furious. And we will do such things—what they are yet I know not—but they shall be the terrors of the earth.

Bio: I’ve done nothing. I’ve achieved nothing. I work for a firm but I want to burn it down.

Short, Sharp Interview: Evangeline Jennings

cars and girlsPDB: Can you pitch CARS AND GIRLS in 25 words or less?

Dangerous curves ahead.

PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

I’m a complete music nerd and can bore to an Olympic standard once you get me started, so I’ll try to keep this simple. This month, the best songs in the world ever are “Tallulah” by Allo Darlin’, “Be Good” by Waxahatchee, “Off To The Races” by Lana Del Rey, and “Uptown Top Ranking” by Althea and Donna. I think Katie from Waxahatchee has heard “Tallulah” more than once. Althea and Donna make me dance and smile.

Shamefully, I’ve been so busy editing and proof-reading that I haven’t read much recently, but I have been stockpiling. Among a bunch of books from friends, I have two newish unread Andrew Vachss – and one more to come – plus a couple of Daniel Woodrell’s put to one side for my summer trip back to Europe. I’m excited about them. I adore Vachss, and Woodrell has been highly recommended.

If I watched less TV, I might have more time for reading. Many of my favourites are supposedly for children. Phineas and Ferb rock my world. Adventure Time with Finn and Jake is often a delight. And the Regular Show is a law unto itself. Otherwise, while I wait for the second season of The Bridge, I’ve been indulging myself in the wee dark hours with camp nonsense like Alias and Revenge. New shows I’m enjoying are Orphan Black and The Fall. While Psych, like Althea and Donna, makes me dance and smile.

The last Good Movie I truly enjoyed was Django Unchained, but two nights ago I did laugh myself stupid – never a long journey – to 21 And Over.

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to be an objective reader, but it is possible for me as a writer-slash-editor to approach a book as a reader. In fact, I think it’s the only way I read. When I move into Editor Mode, I tend to “perform” the story rather than read it. Much to the amusement of my family and neighbours. Other writers’ mileage will almost certainly vary.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

Yes. But not yet.

PDB: How much research goes into your writing?

Just the right amount. Research is more than fact-checking, it’s a source of inspiration. I was born curious.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you?

They are very important but I’m not sure how beneficial. I’m one of life’s natural thorns. Luckily I’ve surrounded myself with roses.

PDB: What’s on the cards for the rest of 2013?

I have two roles. I’m an author and also the founding editor of this creature called Pankhearst – an independent writers collective. Sometimes the streams cross. Cars and Girls, for example, is the first Pankhearst book and my own story Crown Victoria features. During the rest of this year, Pankhearst will publish several more books. The next will be a collection of YA short stories called Heathers – it’s going to be stunningly good – and we’re also currently accepting submissions for More Songs About Cars and Girls. Which seems like a better name than C&G2.

As a standalone author, I have one finished novel that I need to start querying. It’s called Puta and it makes everything in Cars and Girls read like My Little Pony. Then I have two YA novels to finish off. Starshy is a fun fantasy thing – my inner Percy Jackson rebelling against my edgy Tres Navarre – and Last Girl is, truly, YA Noir.

PDB: Where can people find out more about your work?

The best place to start is the Pankhearst website.

Or, to discover why I suck at social networking, there’s this.