One Minute With: Alison Weir

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm in house in Carshalton [in Surrey] in my library. I can see nothing but shelves of history books, along with two tantalising portraits that may or may not be Mary Boleyn (Anne Boleyn's sister).

What are you currently reading?

Days of Grace by Catherine Hall. It's a novel about wartime evacuation in Britain in 1939. I don't have much of a chance to read

Choose a favourite author, and say why you like her/him

Norah Lofts. She died in 1980 and had written 64 historical novels. She has been re-published since then but she should be more respected.

Describe the room where you usually write

We had our garage converted into a library. It's 17ft by 18ft and other than one wall which is a big window, it is full of books. It's heaven.

What distracts you from writing?

Emails.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Mrs Ellen, Lady Jane Grey's nurse, who I have written about. She was a mother figure for Lady Jane Grey whose own mother was pretty cruel and abusive. My own daughter was 17 – the same age as Lady Jane Grey when she was beheaded – as I was writing the book so my maternal side was projected into this character.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

Wonderful and a real cross-section. People are passionate about history.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

My husband first, and then John of Gaunt. He was the perfect medieval prince and a "perfect gentle knight", as Chaucer said. I liked him even more after my research into his life. He was a noble, upright person.

Alison Weir's latest novel, 'The Captive Queen', is published by Hutchinson

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