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It’s been a long time. . .


Some of you will remember that this has been my sabbatical year, in that I’ve not been writing a new novel. That doesn’t mean I’ve not been busy. Those who follow me on Twitter (where I’m @beathhigh – the name of my old high school in Cowdenbeath) will know what I’ve been up to. I toured the US in January, holidayed in Barbados in February, survived a stag party in Krakow in March, had my 54th birthday in April, made my best man’s speech in May (and attended a book festival in Zagreb), kept myself busy with short stories in June, and headed north to Cromarty for most of July (with just the one detour to New York for ThrillerFest). August in Edinburgh meant various festivals and a matching variety of weathers. This was the first August in many years that I’ve not been a participant at the Book Festival, but it means I had the chance to relax and catch up with friends and fellow authors instead.


This month Saints of the Shadow Bible was published in paperback, and I’ll be promoting that at the Bloody Scotland festival in Stirling (19-21 September) and at the Cheltenham Literature Festival (9 October). Bloody Scotland will also see me chair a session with my friend Kathy Reichs – and I may even manage 10 minutes of 5-a-side when Scotland plays England on the Saturday afternoon.  Those are the only events I have planned between now and the end of the year . . . unless you happen to live in Greece or Germany! My German tour is 20-24 October, and I’ll be in Athens and Thesaloniki 25-28 November. I’ll also be in London on 17 November, appearing onstage with Van Morrison to celebrate the publication of his Selected Lyrics, for which I’ve penned the foreword.


I mentioned short stories earlier. I’ve written a few for my own pleasure, most of them no longer than two or three pages. I’m trying to decide what to do with them, and will report back when I know. None of those stories feature Rebus, though this autumn sees the release of The Beat Goes On (The Collected Rebus Stories) – maybe not in time for Bloody Scotland, but there will be definitely be copies available at my Cheltenham appearance in October. I wrote two brand new tales for this collection – ‘The Passenger’ and ‘A Three Pint Problem’. No prizes for guessing that Iggy Pop gifted me that first title and Sherlock Holmes the second!


And as a reward for anyone who pre-orders the book, there’s a bonus story. I discovered, after the final version had gone to print, that there was one more story lurking down the back of the laptop. Oops. So, to appease my editor, I’m giving it away free to fans (so then you really will have the Complete Rebus Stories).


All you need to do is email Orion proof of your pre-order (to ianrankin@orionbooks.co.uk) before the publication date of 9th October 2014, with your email address and they’ll send you the story. (Full details, plus the terms & conditions are here). Plus if you want an extra chance to get hold of the book before it’s out, then head over to GoodReads where you can enter a giveaway for a chance to win one of 10 copies.


Somewhere along the line, the script of my first stage play, Dark Road, also saw the light of day. I co-wrote it with director Mark Thomson, and the book contains essays, interviews and production photos along with the play itself. We were chuffed to bits when it went into the UK bestseller list – the first stage play ever to do that! So I’m grateful to everyone who bought it. A bit different from my usual stuff. I keep being asked if I’d write another play, to which the answer is a resounding: maybe. . .


One thing I’ve learned from my year off is that just because I’m not writing a novel doesn’t mean the days don’t get filled. There’s been plenty to keep me busy, but I’m now beginning to get twitchy, which means I’m about ready to start planning a new book. No plot or theme as yet, just the need to get those cogs whirring again.


I’ve been reading a lot of books and listening to a lot of music, too – and before long I’ll be starting to put together my end-of-year Best Ofs. But all of that is for a future newsletter – probably just before Christmas. For now, I’m off for a mooch around Edinburgh. There may be a story waiting for me there. . .