As I write this, Stephen Fry and his merry band are somewhere in Edinburgh, planning to pull off the heist of the century in the TV adaptation of my book Doors Open. I have managed to visit the set, and there are some photos on on Twitter (where I can, as ever, be found at @beathhigh.
The script is by an old friend of mine from university days, James Mavor. I might have mentioned him before in dispatches – we spent the best part of a year working together on the script for a feature film of James Hogg’s disturbing novel Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. As yet, that project hasn’t got much further, alas. It is actually fairly rare for authors to see their work reach the screen. I was lucky with Rebus – though the character was ‘under option’ and ‘in development’ for years before anything got made – and from what I’ve seen of the script of Doors Open, it should be another fun ride. As for Malcolm Fox and his Complaints team…well, you’ll know when I do.
At the moment I’m busy working on this year’s new novel. The title and a few plot pointers will be revealed very soon – keep your eyes peeled. What I will say is that there’s an element of the ‘road movie’ to the story. I’ve had to drive up and down the A9 (Stirling to Inverness) a few times. However, much of the book is still set in Edinburgh, and of course it’s a crime novel.
And the title is long. Five words long. (Which is long for me.)
I’ve promised Orion they’ll get the book mid-June. No panic there then. It’s due to be published late-October/early-November and plans are afoot for tours of Australia and New Zealand as well as the UK. I’ve seen a fair bit of the UK already this year, appearing at festivals in Oxford, Cambridge and Glasgow, and with more still to come – including Hay-on-Wye (5 June), Melrose (16 June), and Harrogate (20 July). Then there’s Scotland’s first full-scale crime fiction festival (Bloody Words) in Stirling between 14 and 16 September. Oh, and not forgetting Cheltenham in October. (You can see a full list of my events on the website)
Which is why I need to get the book written sooner rather than later!
This new novel has been a first for me. The BBC have been filming me on a regular basis for a TV documentary about how authors go about their business. They’ve also given me a video camera so I can do ‘diary entries’ at the end of each writing day. I can’t help doing the odd ‘Big Brother’ impression – ‘it’s day twenty-five in the writing house, and Ian is drinking coffee and doing the crossword’. But the crew also came with me on a road trip north to do some research. We covered over six hundred miles in three days, a fair amount of it on single-track roads. In the rain. Cold, cold rain….
In other news, the paperback edition of The Impossible Dead is out this month, featuring Malcolm Fox and his team. Plus there’s an update to the ‘Ian Rankin’s Edinburgh’ app which includes a brand new tour of The Water of Leith in Edinburgh, one of my own favourite walks and has featured in a number of my novels. For example, in The Falls, Rebus talks a walk the length of the Water of Leith right down to the sea. It is also one of Malcolm Fox’s favourite walks and a preferred place to mull over a problem for Mike McKenzie in Doors Open. There’s an audio and written tour plus some stunning images from the walk. It’s still free and can be downloaded for iPhone and Android.
Music time! Gig of the year so far was Van Morrison at Edinburgh’s Playhouse. Maybe it’s because I’d been warned he could be grumpy, difficult, or just storm off the stage after half an hour. But he was a delight: tight band, great variety, even a joke or two. I’ve bought a few cracking new albums, too. Lightships and Snowgoose are two bands new to me who have put out impeccable first albums. There’s also a rousing new album from Dr John (‘Locked Down’) and the Django Django LP is every bit as good as everyone says.
Books? I seem to be reading a lot of music biographies and autobiographies, including Tim Burgess’s Telling Stories and Stanley Booth’s evocation of life on the razor’s edge of the late-1960s (The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones). And I know I’m late to the party, but Peter May’s Lewis-based crime novel The Black House is highly evocative of island life and the secrets held close by tight-knit communities.
Right, best get back to work. This book won’t write itself – though I’m sure some enterprising soul has got an app in the pipeline.