The triology started as a story
IRVINE explained the reason for the 14-year gap between his 2008 novel Crimefeaturing DI Ray Lennox, and this year’s follow-up, The long knives.
The Scotsman said he wrote the original one-story book, but is now being serialized on TV with two more series planned.
Director Ridley Scott had taken an interest in the character and encouraged him to produce a trilogy.
Irvine, who has a flat in Henley which he calls his “notepad”, said the extended period of lockdown under covid has allowed him to focus on writing most of the time.
In addition to the books, he had just written a musical of Trainspottingthe first of his 13 novels to date and, of course, a popular movie.
He had also fallen in love and married a third time (to former Taggart actress Emma Currie).
The Long Knives is sparked by Lennox’s childhood sexual abuse, which made him determined to join the police in order to track down and bring to justice sexual predators.
The novel explores the contradictions of the main characters, including the murder of two pedophile politicians attacked by activists seeking revenge.
Irvine is clearly not afraid to tackle controversial social issues.
When asked to read an excerpt from the book, he chose a family reunion overshadowed by one of the boys’ decision to wear a dress and make-up, describing himself as transgender.
His mother refused to accept his decision, forcing him to change clothes.
Irvine clearly loves toying with his readings, where the main characters’ dialogue is impassioned, sometimes thought-provoking and riddled with swear words, much like his own conversation.
Irvine was asked if he consciously had any particular actors in mind when developing his characters, for example, Robert Carlyle as Begbie in Trainspotting (1996).
No, the author said, explaining that it was the casting director’s job to not only cast for each role, but to make sure the entire cast worked together authentically.
He had a great deal of respect for the casting director as he focused on the writing, which he described as “letting his subconscious mind do all the heavy lifting”. Normally, he writes around 20,000 words to start with, then researches character development and layers a plot with substantial rewriting.
It was an overwhelming process that worked for him and he wasn’t going to change it.
His favorite activity was going out for walks, hanging out in cafes, and listening and observing conversations and people interacting.
When he got home, he wrote down everything that popped into his head, so watch what you say, folks!