You need a great idea, but then you've got to carry it through. If you get it right, you're going to be a critical success. But not everyone who works hard gets it right, or has the success they deserve: there's an element of luck.
I've always written. At the age of six or seven, I would get sheets of A4 paper and fold them in half, cut the edges to make a little eight-page booklet, break it up into squares and put in little stick men with little speech bubbles, and I'd have a spy story, a space story and a football story.
At all times, think like a writer, and keep those antennae twitching - that way, you pick up new ideas.
I still think most writers are just kids who refuse to grow up. We're still playing imaginary games, with our imaginary friends.
I am, of course, a frustrated rock star - I'd much rather be a rock star than a writer. Or own a record shop. Still, it's not a bad life, is it? You just sit at a computer and make stuff up.
I took the first James Kelman novel, 'The Bus Conductor Hines', home to my dad. I thought, 'My dad will like this; it's written in Scots.' But my dad said: 'I can't read that.' He was reading James Bond and John le Carre. That was part of what attracted me to crime - the idea of getting a wide audience.
A lot of writers, especially crime writers, have an image that we think we're trying to keep up with. You've got to be seen as dark and slightly dangerous. But I'm not like that and I've realised that I don't need to put that on. People will buy the books whether they see a photo of you dressed in black or not.