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Quick fire Q&A with Jack Taylor creator Ken Bruen

The TV film series Jack Taylor follows ex-garda turned private detective Taylor and is proving a big hit with both UK and Irish audiences.

The series is set in ruggedly beautiful Galway and is based on the novels of Galwegian writer Ken Bruen. His protagonist, private detective Taylor, is a flawed but loveable character who takes on cases that the Gardaí won’t. Taylor is a bloody-minded boozer who is not afraid to use his fists in his fight for justice and he is compelled to defend the lost and the broken.

We caught up with Ken and briefly chatted about the success of the TV series and his writing.

Ken, in your own words, please tell us who is ‘Jack Taylor’?
Jack is an alcoholic ex-Guard with a deadly sense of humour and a love of books that almost redeems his sarcasm. While most people head for the beach in summer, Jack heads for the cemetery.

Scottish actor Iain Glen (Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey) plays Jack Taylor on screen. What do you think of his portrayal of your troubled protagonist?
He’s pitch perfect, right down to the genuine Garda coat and he looks just like Jack, according to the Galway people who watched the movies being made and swore….”Aw, he’s Jack!”

Lee Child used a cricket/baseball analogy to explain the difference between a book and the filmed version of a book “they are exactly the same game but the details are completely different”. Is it the same for the Jack Taylor programmes? How does it feel from your perspective to see your character and books realised on screen?
I think it’s like the difference between something you hear and something you see – completely different senses involved and for me, it’s a blast to see how the characters look, sound and act in almost real life, i.e. the screen.

To what extent were you involved in any elements of the production (casting, screenwriting etc)?
Purely as an observer and a delighted one at that.

I’ve visited beautiful Galway before and it also looks wonderful on screen. Your books and the TV series explore the darker side of the city and, as with most crime thrillers, there are some vile characters. Are they based on anyone you know and who we should avoid on our next visit? 😉
Truly Galway looks great on the screen, especially the night shots and no, the characters are all fiction and you may very safely wander all over Galway in perfect safety.

Your novels are also always full of real-life events and topical themes. Are you conscious of keeping it relevant?
Always, it’s vital, if the books get stale, I’m done!

Jack himself is a big fan of crime writing; books seem to be his salvation. As a fan yourself, who are your own writing heroes?
Daniel Woodrell, Pete Dexter, Hanek Nesser

Jack Taylor has been bruised and battered down the years; what can we expect of him in your next novel, Purgatory?
Jack comes real close to a retirement plan and a heart partner…so close!

Is there a question that you have never been asked in an interview that you would love to answer?
Q: What do I think of The Guards.
A: I think they are terrific.

How would you write your own fictional death?
Receiving the Pulitzer and flying on the best high ever.

And what would your final meal be?
Fat chips, cooked in duck fat, Brian Langan (my publisher) will vouch for that and covered in very hot chili with ice cold bottles of Sam Adams.

The series Jack Taylor is currently showing on Channel 5 (Thursdays) and TV3 in Ireland (Sundays).

Ken Bruen’s new novel Headstone is available to pre-order for 11 April 2013 and Purgatory will be published in August 2013. To buy or read an extract from a selection of ‘Jack Taylor’ novels click on the book titles below.

Further reading: Top 10 Crime TV Shows

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