MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Ian Rankin Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin

An interview with Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin discusses his favorite authors, how he reacts to his books being described as 'Tartan Noir', and talks about how his writing style has changed over the years.

In the past, there have been all sorts of weird coincidences in the writing of your books. Any to share with us this time around?
What usually happens is, I write about something, and sometime thereafter it either turns out to have been true, or it comes true. This time, I decided to take my plots from the pages of the daily papers. I took two real-life pedophiles as the models for characters in the book. And found out later that if you took the first name of one and the surname of the other, you came up with the name I sued for the bad guy in my first ever Rebus novel....

James Ellroy called your work "Tartan Noir"...
I suppose he was right, too. My work's nowhere near as dark as his, but it's not in the "cozy" tradition either. A tougher Inspector Wexford maybe. That's Rebus.

Who are your favorite authors?
James Ellroy; Lawrence Block; Ruth Rendell. Novelists with psychological depth, with 3-D characterizations, writers who challenge convention and style. So stick Michael Connelly in there, too… and Paco Taibo, Marc Behm, James Sallis, SJ Rozan….

What would you say is your special flair in writing? How has your talent changed through the years?
My later books are a lot longer/denser/more complex than the earlier ones, blending three or four plots, challenging the reader. I want to explain Scotland to myself, to fellow Scots and to the outside world. So far, I'm not sure I've done more than scratch the surface of this bizarre, mixed-up country… but I'll keep trying.

Final question. Is it true you've spent a lot of time in the States?
Back in 1992 I won the Chandler-Fulbright Prize. They gave me twenty thousand dollars and a return transatlantic flight and told me to go find out about the USA. I came, stayed six months. loved the trip. I was with my wife and our first child, Jack, who was 3 months old on arrival. We bought an old VW camper and toured, covering around 20,000 miles, staying with friends and in old motels. Saw sights, and each day thanked the estate of Raymond Chandler, whose money was paying for this most amazing experience.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 3 months or $12 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen
    Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen
    by Dexter Palmer
    The year is 1726 and the sleepy town of Godalming has been rocked by scandal. Called to the bedside ...
  • Book Jacket: Life Undercover
    Life Undercover
    by Amaryllis Fox
    Life Undercover, a riveting true-adventure memoir, reveals how and why a young woman decides to work...
  • Book Jacket: Celestial Bodies
    Celestial Bodies
    by Jokha Alharthi
    One typically expects to find a detailed family tree adorning the opening pages of, say, an epic ...
  • Book Jacket: All-American Muslim Girl
    All-American Muslim Girl
    by Nadine Jolie Courtney
    16-year-old Allie (Alia) Abraham, with her fair coloring, has always been able to "pass" for an All-...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Lost Man
by Jane Harper

"Strong characters, riveting plot and an honest look at life in the Australian outback make it easy to give this 5-stars!"
—BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Creatures
    by Crissy Van Meter

    Set on the eve of an island wedding, this provocative debut novel exerts a pull as strong as the tides.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    You Were There Too
    by Colleen Oakley

    Acclaimed author Colleen Oakley delivers a heart-wrenching and unforgettable love story.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Giveaway!
Win American Dirt

"A Grapes of Wrath for our times." - Don Winslow

This debut is already being hailed as a new American classic, and is the first book to receive a perfect 5-stars from BookBrowse reviewers!

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

V I T S Of L

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.