Acclaimed authors Ian Rankin and Paullina Simons have a plan to lure people back to literature with a mash-up of their work titled Break-In at Tiffany's.
The modern godfather of crime fiction and the first lady of old-fashioned romance are in Canberra for separate book tours and discussions but came together at the Hyatt where literary sparks flew.
''I'll start the book, it'll be like my next Lily and Spencer book [the characters from her novel The Girl in Times Square] and then you'll come in and do your thing,'' Simons said to Rankin, the man who created the 19-book series focusing on Scotland's best detective, Inspector Rebus.
''Can there be a heist?'' Rankin replied.
''Oh a shoe heist would be great,'' she said.
''No! That's too 'you', it'll have to be a jewel theft and a love story,'' Rankin confirmed.
As the pair devised a writing plan, ''I'll write one chapter, then Ian will write the next and so on,'' she said, the beginning of a new super ''choose your own crime and romantic adventure'' genre may have been born.
The plan to combine their poetic powers was put to them by Fairfax Media and not a publishing house. Rankin and Simons said their combined story may be better suited to Hollywood than the finely crafted world of fiction writing.
However both agreed it could be the published writer's answer to reclaiming readers from the fan fiction phenomenon created and spurred on by titles such as Fifty Shades of Grey and the Twilight saga.
Both said online fan fiction is a good place for an aspiring wordsmith to carve a career but suggested the world wide web could be a budding young writer's friend and foe when looking to get noticed.
''Gone are the days when magazines published short stories and audio series were broadcasted twice a day on the radio, even though there are all of these options online people need to read everything to see what people are writing and from there do something different,'' Rankin said.
Rankin admits his love of writing started with fan fiction in his early teens before his first book was published in 1986, when he was 25.
''It started with comic books, but I used my own characters, I was crap at drawing though. Then, luckily, I got into music, but I was crap at that so I just wrote lyrics for my imaginary pop group. I wrote all their lyrics and I would plan their imaginary tours and put them on imaginary chat shows, I would just write down all of these ideas on notepads,'' he said.
''The more you read the richer you become, it gives you words and allows you ways to develop and say what you really want to say,'' Simons added.
Paullina Simons' new book, Children of Liberty, and Standing in Another Man's Grave, the latest Rebus novel by Ian Rankin, are out now.