So a bunch of us were dancing around shouting "Ian Rankin! Ian Rankin!" and looking forward to how cool it'll be to have him in the store. Then somebody said "You're all pretty animated about a crime guy who gets pretty dark sometimes." "But he's probably the best crime writer in the UK!" we insisted. And the retort was, "Well just what makes someone that?" So we all calmed down and got to wondering about the dude. Here are some questions we sent off to him, preliminary to his visit, of course.
Q:Is there a particular book in your childhood that turned you on to the possibility of being a writer? Is there any particular author you'd credit as an inspiration?
A: Not childhood exactly, but as a teenager I read Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange and realised not all literature needed to be about angsty Russians and men in monocles. A bit later I fell in love with Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which led me to R L Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde... and from Hyde to crime fiction.
Q:Your depiction of police procedures and the inner workings and/or politics of intelligence seem awfully well informed. Is this due to diligent research and the gleaning of tasty rumor, or do you perhaps have a cousin who's a cop?
A: I have a few friends/contacts within various Scottish police departments, and also know a few journalists and other useful people. I have also worked in a variety of large, bureaucratic organisations, and am guessing the police aren't any different: office politics is office politics, right?
Q:Are you familiar with our local guy Dennis Lehane?
A: I know Lehane, of course! Last time I did an event in Boston, I think he was there to introduce me to the audience. I wrote the introduction to one of the UK editions of 'Shutter Island'. We've known one another since we were hungry young writers. He's about as cool as a cat can get without the refrigerator-light going off.
The introduction and questions for Mr. Rankin were composed by Gary Cowan, PSB bookseller and Rankin fan.
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