Iain Ryan on crime rules, choose your own adventure and The Taylor Swift Theory

Iain Ryan is an Australian writer who grew up in Brisbane, but now lives in Melbourne with his family. A crime writer – he is the author of FOUR DAYS (2015) and THE STUDENT(2017), both shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award. his work has been previously published by Akashic Books Online, Crime Factory, Kill Your Darlings and Seizure. Ryan’s latest book is THE SPIRAL published in 2020 by Echo & Bonnier in the UK.

Kate and Iain discuss:

  • The rules of crime fiction (and a shout out to Angela Meyer)
  • Festival anxiety, festival afterglow and how long it lasts
  • Defining crime fiction genres
  • What Iain has learnt from academia and the music scene
  • The thermometer of shame
  • Writing a Choose Your Own Adventure
  • Self publishing vs traditional publishing
  • The Taylor Swift Theory


  • Get unromantic!
  • Copy other people!
  • Don’t worry about stealing someone else’s style!
  • Write in genres!

Iain’s debut book recommendation is (perhaps unsurprisingly): The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Follow Iain on Twitter and Instagram of check out his website.

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