Sunday, April 22, 2007

Writers' charms redux

Last weekend I linked to an article in the Guardian extracted from How I Write: The Secret Lives Of Authors, edited by Dan Crowe with Philip Oltermann.

Today the Los Angeles Times is in on the act with more excerpts, including:
Ian Rankin

THE OBJECT IN MY OFFICE I treasure most is probably a framed photograph. It shows the battered signage above Edinburgh's Oxford Bar. … I've been drinking in the Oxford Bar since I was a student in the 1980s (a fellow student — one of my flat-mates — was part-time barman there). The first time I walked in, I was a stranger. By my third visit, my preferred drink was being poured before I needed to ask.

That's the "Ox" for you: It's like a private club, only with no joining fee. It's also a democratic place: Everyone's as good as anyone else, as long as they have the price of their next drink about their person. There are few frills to the Ox: no piped music, little in the way of hot foods (pies, pasties). It's a place for drink and for conversation. I decided Inspector Rebus would like it, so he started drinking there, too.

… That sign helps me get inside the head of Rebus … It keeps me grounded and also acts as a taskmaster: If I can get a good day's work done, I can reward myself with a pint later on.

Ian Rankin is the author of the bestselling "Inspector Rebus" crime series.
Read on: A.S. Byatt, Jonathan Franzen, and others chime in.

--Marshal Zeringue