One Minute With: Don Winslow, novelist

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Where are you now and what can you see?

On the porch of my mother's house in Rhode Island, a little state on the East Coast, and I can see an old stone wall, trees swaying in a storm, and sheets of rain. In closer focus, I can see my coffee cup – empty at the moment but soon to be filled – and my shoes.

What are you currently reading?

I'm reading The Audacity To Win , an account of the Obama campaign by David Plouffe, Appaloosa , by Robert Parker, and a stack of damp magazines, including Outside , Rolling Stone , American Cowboy and Sports Illustrated .

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

Today I'm going to pick Tolstoy because he wrote big fat books that are page- turners and I want to know what happens to the characters.

Describe the room where you usually write

Well, I used to write in a tent, but it blew away. Now I write in the back room of the house on our old ranch. It has brown walls, bookcases, and paintings by Native American artists. The window looks out on our barn.

What distracts you from writing?

Nothing. I'm robot-like in my single-minded intensity and laser-beam focus, so monkishly devoted to my craft that I barely know that the outside world even exits. Or, anything and everything – I have the attention span of a gerbil on crack.

Which fictional chracter most resembles you?

Any generally played by Brad Pitt, obviously.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

Well, they do like my books, don't they? So many of them have an... edge to them. Then again, meeting anyone in a prison-visiting room is awkward.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Gerry Lopez, the surfer.

Don Winslow's latest novel, 'Savages', is published in paperback by William Heinemann