Books: Inspirations Novelist Deborah Moggach

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The Independent Culture
Place: Walking around London just as the lights come on in the windows in the evenings: waiters polishing glasses in restaurants, people moving about their rooms. These glimpsed lives stir the stories that are in my head.

Play: I'm gripped by plays that juxtapose the past and present on stage, exploring the potency of memory - Death of a Salesman was the first I saw, and it had a great impact on me.

Film: Robert Altman's Short Cuts is wonderfully complex in the way it weaves together different lives. I learnt a great deal from reading the screenplay, re-reading the Carver stories on which it was based and then watching the film again.

Work of art: The Dutch interiors of Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch inspired my latest novel. You walk into those rooms - sunlight slanting through the window, a woman reading a letter, a maid sweeping the floor - and through the paintings you enter a lost world. I lay on the floor, books of paintings spread out around me, and looked at the paintings as I wrote.

Piece of music: I can't write while music's playing, it's too distracting, but while I was thinking about this novel I played the soundtrack of the film Tous les matins du monde which is set in the early 17th century. The music, by Sainte Colombe and Marin Marais, is for the bass viol and is very beautiful.

Deborah Moggach's new novel is `Tulip Fever' (Heinemann, pounds 14.99)