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Most wanted Author Interview Number One with Ian Rankin


  Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982, and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature. His first Rebus novel was published in 1987, and the Rebus books are now translated into thirty-six languages and are bestsellers worldwide.
Ian Rankin has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow, and is also a past winner of the Chandler-Fulbright Award. He is the recipient of four Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Awards including the prestigious Diamond Dagger in 2005. In 2004, Ian won America’s celebrated Edgar Award for Resurrection Men. He has also been shortlisted for the Anthony Award in the USA, won Denmark’s Palle Rosenkrantz Prize, the French Grand Prix du Roman Noir and the Deutscher Krimipreis. Ian Rankin is also the recipient of honorary degrees from the universities of Abertay, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Hull, the Open University and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
A contributor to BBC2’s Newsnight Review, he also presented his own TV series, Ian Rankin’s Evil Thoughts. Rankin is a number one bestseller in the UK and has received the OBE for services to literature, opting to receive the prize in his home city of Edinburgh.

1. How did you get started writing

I always wrote. I loved comics and cartoons as a kid so tried drawing those. When pop music entered my life I started writing lyrics. Then stories and poems. Just for fun. It should always be fun.
2. What drew you to write a crime thriller novel, when you first started writing

I wanted to write about all the different strata in society, from top to bottom, and sensed that a police detective would allow me access to more layers than any other kind of character. Maybe I also wanted to be a bestseller and thought crime fiction was the best route.
3. Which authors past or present have influenced your style of writing

I did read a lot of crime writers and learned from many of them: Lawrence Block and James Ellroy in the U.S., Ruth Rendell and William McIlvanney in the UK.

4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?

My first novel was turned down everywhere. Same went for most of the short stories I sent out to magazines, competitions and radio. My second novel The Flood was accepted by a small press in Edinburgh. They printed 200 hardbacks and 800 paperbacks. Neither run sold out, but an agent got interested and found me a bigger publisher for my next book, which was the first Inspector Rebus adventure.
5. There are many interesting characters in your Novels,do you have a particular favourite one?

Well. They’re all my children, so don’t ask me for favourites. Even the bad guys can be enjoyable to write about or spend time with. Rebus is the readers’ favourite, of course.
6. What kind of research have you have to undertake for your Novels?

I read a lot of newspapers and often take inspiration from real life stories. I might do some internet research but I prefer to do it the hard way: asking experts if I can ask them a few questions, heading off to explore possible settings. One tip: I wait until after the first draft before doing the bulk of the research – saves time, as by then I know what I really need to find out about.
7. Are the characters in your books based on any real life?

I do sometimes use real people in my books. Charities sometimes auction off the right to become a character in one of my books, so then I will try to use the winner as best I can, whether they want to be hero or villain.
8. What do you think makes your novels stand out from all the others out there?

Edinburgh, my setting, is a fascinating city. Then there’s Rebus, who seems also to fascinate fans. The plots are intricate, and I hope I’ve learned how to write well, so the reader keeps reading!
9. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa?

Where else do characters come from? They all must exhibit tiny parts of my personality or my subconscious. They all live inside me, so are parts of me.

10. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned?

New book out in November. Rebus trying to find out who tried to assassinate a local gangster. After that, all I know is that I need to start writing another book in January. I don’t know anything about that yet though – no story, no title, nothing

11. Which of your novels so far has stood out to you as your favourite to write and why?

Black and Blue was my first really successful book. It won the Gold Dagger prize for the best crime novel of the year. It gave me confidence and sold four times as many copies as my previous books. Everything before it was like my apprenticeship.

12. Why did you decide after retiring Rebus in the The exit music, to bring him back for Standing in another man’s grave?

I suppose I felt there was some unfinished business between us. Plus I got an idea for a story that would revolve around an old unsolved crime, so I needed a retired cop to be the main character – I thought Rebus would be perfect for the role

13. As a Well know crime author, do you have words of advice you can share

My advice would include things like: read a lot, write a lot, keep at it, maybe get a bit of luck, but the harder you work the luckier you’ll get. Learn from rejection, learn what criticism is useful to you. Trust your instincts. Keep your antennae twitching for good stories, settings and characters – they are all around us at all times.



Retirement doesn’t suit John Rebus. He wasn’t made for hobbies, holidays or home improvements. Being a cop is in his blood.
So when DI Siobhan Clarke asks for his help on a case, Rebus doesn’t need long to consider his options.
Clarke’s been investigating the death of a senior lawyer whose body was found along with a threatening note. On the other side of Edinburgh, Big Ger Cafferty – Rebus’s long-time nemesis – has received an identical note and a bullet through his window.
Now it’s up to Clarke and Rebus to connect the dots and stop a killer.
Meanwhile, DI Malcolm Fox joins forces with a covert team from Glasgow who are tailing a notorious crime family. There’s something they want, and they’ll stop at nothing to get i
Inspector Rebus

1. Knots and Crosses (1987)

2. Hide and Seek (1990)

3. Tooth and Nail (1992)

     aka Wolfman

4. Strip Jack (1992)

5. The Black Book (1993)

6. Mortal Causes (1994)

7. Let It Bleed (1995)

8. Black and Blue (1997)

9. The Hanging Garden (1998)

10. Dead Souls (1999)

11. Set in Darkness (2000)

12. The Falls (2001)

13. Resurrection Men (2002)

14. A Question of Blood (2003)

15. Fleshmarket Close (2004)

     aka Fleshmarket Alley

16. The Naming Of The Dead (2006)

17. Exit Music (2007)

18. Standing in Another Man’s Grave (2012)

19. Saints of the Shadow Bible (2013)

20. Even Dogs in the Wild (2015)

A Good Hanging (1992)

Death Is Not the End (1998)

Rebus: The Early Years (omnibus) (1999)

Rebus: The St Leonard’s Years (omnibus) (2001)

Three Great Novels: Strip Jack / The Black Book / Mortal Causes (omnibus) (2001)

Rebus: The Lost Years (omnibus) (2003)

Capital Crimes (omnibus) (2004)

The Complete Rebus Collection: 18 Great Novels (omnibus) (2011)

10 Great Rebus Novels (omnibus) (2013)

The Beat Goes On (2014)
Jack Harvey Novels (as by Jack Harvey)

1. Witch Hunt (1993)

2. Bleeding Hearts (1994)

3. Blood Hunt (1995)

The Jack Harvey Novels (omnibus) (2000)
Malcolm Fox

1. The Complaints (2009)

2. The Impossible Dead (2011)

The Flood (1986)

Watchman (1988)

Westwind (1990)

Doors Open (2007)

Herbert in Motion (1997)

Beggars Banquet (2002)

Complete Short Stories (2005)

One City (2005) (with Alexander McCall Smith and Irvine Welsh)

Crimespotting (2009) (with Lin Anderson, Kate Atkinson, Margaret Atwood, Chris Brookmyre, John Burnside, Isla Dewar, A L Kennedy, Denise Mina and James Robertson)

Ox-Tales: Earth (2009) (with Kate Atkinson, Jonathan Buckley, Jonathan Coe, Hanif Kureishi, Marti Leimbach, Marina Lewycka, Vikram Seth, Nicholas Shakespeare and Rose Tremain)

Dark Road (2014) (with Mark Thomson)
Graphic Novels

Dark Entries (2009) (with Werther Dell’Edera)

In the Nick of Time (2014) (with Peter James)

A Cool Head (2009)
Non fiction

Jackie Leven Said (2005) (with Jackie Leven)

Rebus’ Scotland (2005)

@beathhigh – Twitter

Amazon Author Page


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