Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Saturday 17 November 2012

Rebecca Alexander and Ian Rankin

Rebecca Alexander is one of my newest writing friends. She and I met because we were co-runners-up for the Mslexia prize earlier this year. We got on, and have become firm friends as a result of the competition.

Rebs is a lovely, funny, clever woman, and I like her work, which you’ll all be able to read when its published for the first time next year. I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ve got a feeling about this stuff. I’m tempted to think that people are going to like it. I’ve got a feeling that there’s going to be some mileage in it for her; I certainly hope so.

Ian Rankin is one of the first writers I ever knew. He and I sat in an office together for a couple of years in the late eighties. He was a staff writer, or, more accurately, the staff writer and later assistant editor on a Hi-Fi magazine that I sold ad space on. At the time we met, he had published two novels, including “Knots and Crosses”, the first Rebus book, and he gave me the first bit of solid advice I ever had about writing fiction.

I liked Ian, probably rather more than he realised, but he’s an easy man to like. I liked him enough to read his published work, and I like that, too. With the sort of hindsight we have after twenty-five years, it would be easy to claim that I always knew Ian would be big. I didn’t know any such thing, but I knew that I liked what he did, and I certainly hoped he’d succeed.

Reb’s blog appears on my blog roll, below, so I’m always reminded when she posts, and when she wrote a blog about Ian the other day, it didn’t take me very long to check it out.

I do love a coincidence, and there was something very comforting about the coincidence of my newest writing buddy talking about one of my oldest.

It's always a bit weird watching Ian on the tv, not least because I’m always left wondering why he hasn’t gone grey or bald, or a combination of the two... He’s a writer, for goodness sake, and if anyone should suffer either or both of those fates, surely it should be the wordsmith, and in particular, the wordsmith whose speciality is crime. 

Anyway, having read the blog, I opened a window for iplayer and watched the episode of Imagine that he’d made on writing, because I think that all of you, and Ian, too, would agree with me that a coincidence, in life, at least, is a wonderful thing, even if, in fiction, it can feel like the most God-awful cop-out.


  1. It's amazing to be even in the same sentence. I LOVE Ian Rankin's books!

  2. I'm afraid I've never read any Ian Rankin books - which is embarrassing really especially as I live in Edinburgh. I hope to put that right soon. (I have drunk in the Oxford Bar though.) However, that Imagine documentary was fantastic - the best programme I've ever seen about the nuts and bolts of writing a book. I loved his exhausted, pale, eye-rubbing close-ups, and the look of excitement on his face when a tiny bit of good idea hit him.