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Debut Dagger

While I’m dropping names, I met Ian Rankin in Costa’s in Edinburgh’s George Street a few years ago. He was next to me in the queue for coffee. I’m ten years older than him and age gives you that extra bit of cheek and confidence. ‘Mr Rankin,’ I said. ‘Loved your last book.’
‘Fleshmarket Close, you mean?’
I nodded. ‘Met you in Manchester, you presented me with a prize. I was one of the runners up for the Debut Dagger Award. I was writing as Alan Frost.’
I didn’t expect him to remember me. He didn’t. At the awards we’d chatted for some time. I was living in Edinburgh at the time and I remember him joking that he’d rather I didn’t set any of my novels there.
No competition from me, Ian. Six years on and I still haven’t been published. I just haven’t been sending my stuff off. Perhaps I should try harder – not at writing, because I have no problems there. Try harder to get published, I mean. 
Rankin has a stock saying for prospective authors, ‘Keep writing!’
I came away feeling good, but kicking myself that I’d forgotten that he had just been awarded an Honorary Doctorate and I could – should, actually – have addressed him as Doctor Rankin, not Mister. 
Now that really would have been a nice touch.  

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