|entry to Prudhoe Castle|
But nice treadmill.
"It's a very pleasurable way to spend your time. It's therapeutic, it's cathartic, it's exciting, it's engaging. In real life writers tend to be quite boring, but in our books we're having exciting adventures all the time. I can't think of anything better than that, and it keeps you well balanced because all the shit inside your head goes on paper. I think we'd be troublesome individuals if we didn't get all that shit out our systems."
There was a time when Rankin's name wasn't at the top of the bestseller list. He didn't achieve breakthrough until the eighth Rebus novel (and his 15th book in all), Black and Blue, won the Macallan Gold Dagger for fiction in 1997. And even then he didn't have a bestseller until two years later, with Dead Souls.
"My publishers were taking a punt on me for a long time," he says. "That probably wouldn't happen now. I was having panic attacks, I was driving through the French countryside where we lived at the time, screaming at the top of my voice just to get it out my system. I was waking up in the night with this adrenalin rush like a heart attack. It was a pretty horrible time."
I think he's right that publishers don't hang on to authors who don't sell, or take a chance on a debut author like they used to. But if they don't, how are the new authors going to come through? And do we have fifteen years to get it right? What do you think?