One Minute With: Denise Mina

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I am standing in my bathroom and I'm looking at the mess in my bedroom.

What are you currently reading?

I'm finishing Rubicon, a book about the Roman Republic, and just finished Occupied City by David Peace.

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

I love Mikhail Bulgakov. He is very original and takes the story to unexpected places. I didn't realise political writing could be so funny.

Describe the room where you usually write

It basically started off as a beautiful study and slowly became a box room. It is 30 sq metres stacked with paper where I used to have 30 sq metres of space, and a leather armchair.

What distracts you from writing?

Childcare. I have two children. They are more fun than anything in the world, and it's more immediate fun than the hard slog of writing.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Probably the dog in (Bulgakov's) Heart of a Dog, and what happens when a woman, and working class people, get access to education.

What are your readers like when you meeT them?

Amazing. I thought they'd be slightly shambolic people like me but they are often 80-year-old women or women in positions of power. I have an intense relationship with some of them.

Who is your hero from outside literature?

Probably my great aunt Kate. She was totally self-educated and highly opinionated. She always dressed flamboyantly and married a passive man. She was intensely political, and all her children went to university.

Denise Mina's novel, 'Still Midnight', is published by Orion.