Author Robert Rankin has written numerous comic/fanatsy/SF/crime -
how the heck do you categorize him? A very talented writer, loves
Brentford and is a rock 'n' roller at heart...
(Reda 'Hollow Chocolate Bunnies...' or any of the Brentford trilogy
How did you first start to come up with ideas for your novels? And
why has Brentford had such a pivotal role in many of your books?
My ambition was always to make a living "out of my head", I wanted to
do something creative, I spent nine years living in Brentford and
there met all the folk who people my books. There is something really
magical about Brentford and I think I was lucky enough to tap into it.
Any book you would wish you could revamp at all? (Stephen King is
famous for this a la 'The Stand')
THE MOST AMAZING MAN WHO EVER LIVED has a rather duff ending, I had
to rewrite much of the book, but the last couple of chapters were
never really finished properly. Although I do like the very last
chapter, it made me cry when I wrote it.
What are you currently up to (e.g. projects)?
I am currently between books, having just finished KNEES UP MOTHER
EARTH a book about Brentford winning the FA Cup, due out next August.
So there's a lot of staring into space going on prior to getting the
old bonce around the next book, at present.
Is the Internet helping spread the word on your books? You have a
very loyal fanbase and website. Whose idea was this and do you have
much say in the content?
The internet has been a real boon, a couple of years ago I was
invited to New Zealand to do World Book Day Events, the events
weren't advertised over there, but people turned up because they had
been advertised on the Sproutlore website in Ireland. Pretty damn
The brains behind Sproutlore is James Bacon, ably assisted by several
other Irish stalwarts, Sproutlore just celebrated its tenth
anniversary, I am very grateful for all they do. I don't really have
much to do with the website as I can't work a computer (I'm just
typing this, my lovely lady Sally will be sending it) so I don't
follow all the stuff that goes on the website, but there are some
very lively discussions.
Heard any good music lately?
Yes, an amazing band down here in Brighton, THE TRICK. If you see
them advertised, see them.
What has been the highlight of your career so far? Anything else you
still want to achieve?
Well, I did win an award in 2003, SFX Readers' award for best novel
of the year. I was pretty chuffed about that. But mostly I am just
happy to still get published and I thank all my readers for
continuing to buy my books. Thank you very much.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Musical wise it has to be Sly Stone, the Beatles, Miles Davis,
Phil Lynott and Muddy Waters. Personally it has to be Laurie
Wisefield, once of Wishbone Ash (now in the musical `We Will Rock
You' house band) who has been a great friend and inspiration to me.
Then there is the Masterer Extrordinaire Andy Pearce, who has
remastered Lou Reed and Elvis Presley amongst others. He shows you
how albums should be remastered and produced.
What has been your most embarrassing moment?
Turning up at a bookshop in Canterbury some years ago to do a signing
and only selling three books, two of which were purchased by members
of staff out of pity. I never went there again.
Any good rock 'n' roll tales to tell?
Well now, it was the summer of sixty-nine and I was at Ealing School
of Art. It was a hot summer's day and I was walking through the
refectory clad in a long military coat, as was the way of things back
then. And my coat swept a hot cup of coffee off a table and into the
silk-trousered lap of a young-fellow-me-lad who was sitting there
minding his own business. There was a very loud scream and that was
the first time I met Freddie Mercury. True story.
You've recently changed publisher after many years with Transworld.
Why the move and do you think changing once in awhile helps keep an
author fresh and opened up to new readers?
I had been with Transworld for ten years, they were being taken over
by a German firm and everybody seemed to be either leaving or getting
the sack and for years I'd wanted Jo Fletcher at Gollancz to be my
editor, having known her for many years and things sort of fell
together and I'm very glad that they did, because I'm selling a lot
more books now than I did at Transworld.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career??
My dad. I am a pale shadow of that man, he could spin a tall tale
with more style and credibility than anyone else I've ever met.
Would you like to see any of your books filmed and if so which one(s)
and who would you ideally cast in the leading roles?
Yes, all of them and I'd like the money in used fivers, please. Brad
Pitt and Johnny Depp as Pooley and Omally, obviously and Jack
Nicholson as The Antipope.
I hope this all makes some kind of sense and may I take this
opportunity to wish everyone a very happy new year.
Interview © 2004