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

Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin

An interview with Ian Rankin

An Interview with Ian Rankin

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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

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 books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.