One of the current joys and pleasures in my life is interviewing artists, especially fellow writers. In the last five days I have written up interviews with three artists and today, writing this before I get out of bed to go sub, marks the fourth.
The topics have ranged from the unhealthy dust from the 9/11 attacks to a memoir by a by a journalist with a past cocaine problem to a triathlete-turned-author. Each exposed me to new thoughts, ideas and, often, other interesting artists.
Just as I might have never have given much thought to those concepts or checked out those artists were it not for the opportunity to interview them, such is also the case with Ian Rankin. I knew he was a best-selling crime writer in Great Britain but, if anything, that was seen by me as a strike against him.
You see, I often complain that the best-selling authors are not the best authors around. But there are notable exceptions, including some I’ve interviewed, including Michael Connelly, Robert Crais and Laura Lippman. And now I can add to that list Ian Rankin. I feel bad for having labeled him improperly. Bad Scott! Bad reviewer!
I had the pleasure last year of interviewing Rankin for his last book and found him, like his novel, engaging, engrossing and at times quite witty, albeit of a dark humor. His new book is, he says, his next to last book about his popular character of Inspector Rebus. Whether you are new to Rankin or a long-time reader I think you will really enjoy his new book.
I jumped at the chance to interview him for his new book, which comes out next week. I will let the man himself tell you what it is about.
Scott Butki: This interview is going to get published the week your book comes out. Would you mind summarizing in your own words what this book is about?
Ian Rankin: The Naming of the Dead takes place against the backdrop of July 2005's G8 meeting of world leaders in Scotland. A politician falls from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle, while a serial killer seems to be targeting the area around Gleneagles Hotel, where the G8 leaders are staying. Inspector John Rebus must solve both cases while dealing with anarchist riots, demonstrations, and the disruptions that come when a city is in a state of siege.