The author of the most under-the-radar title on the Man Booker Prize shortlist His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae (Skyhorse; OverDrive Sample), Graeme Macrae Burnet is interviewed by The Wall Street Journal today [subscription may be required].
The brief exchange focuses on the author’s writing process.
In a response to a question about the novel’s structure, including the use of fictional primary documents, Burnet talks about the personal differences in recollection and says he “wanted to present the reader with different viewpoints of the same incident, so they can … make up their own mind about what happened.”
He says he gathered some of his insider details from working his way through primary source “documents [that] still have wax seals on them. These are original, handwritten documents of post-mortem reports on victims or psychiatric evaluations of prisoners about to stand trial.”
As to the eloquence of his murderer he says “it goes against one’s expectations of how somebody who has committed a violent act will behave.”
Very interested in the interior workings of a character, Burnet concludes the interview by saying his favorite crime writer is Georges Simenon, author of the Inspector Jules Maigret series because he “is a brilliant writer on the psychology of his characters, and he’s brilliant at setting a scene in very simple language. You’re completely transported to whatever place he’s writing about.”
Burnet talks more about his research in a video created by his Scottish publisher: