At an event recently, Ian Rankin said that being a crime writer felt a bit like being a member of a gang; that there was always that slight element of being an outsider. Without wishing to get into the whole ‘us and them’, literary versus genre fiction debate, I can see what he means. You certainly shouldn’t write crime fiction if you can’t handle being asked when you’re going to write a “proper book”.

Despite this, and the look you sometimes get when you tell people what kind of stuff you write (just before they tell you they don’t read “that kind of book”) I’m thrilled every day to be part of the gang.

Crime-writers are a great bunch; welcoming, supportive, and, for the most part, lacking in pretension or ego. Also, as gangs go, I reckon we’re pretty hard. I think we could take the literary writers, easy. I’d back James Lee Burke against Paulo Coelho any day and Laura Lippman would kick Alice Sebold’s arse.

OK, so we’ve got a few lightweights. I’m not sure Alexander McCall Smith can take a punch and I personally wouldn’t fancy my chances against Martin Amis. He looks like he’d fight dirty. A biter, definitely. Maybe I should play safe here.

OK…we could take the romance writers…no problem!

What other bouts would you like to see?