One Minute With: Frank Gardner

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

In a corridor at the BBC. There's a hall of horrors with pictures of various correspondents doing macho things - including myself on a quad bike in the Sinai desert.

What are you currently reading?

I've just finished reading Tony Parsons's My Favourite Wife. It is a sad but brilliant book. I went to Shanghai in 1993, and even with that one visit I could identify with what he was saying about new China.

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

I have a fire-pressure hose of material I have to read for my job so I don't have much time to read books. I last read Walking on Water by Geoff Holt, which is the account of a bloke who broke his neck but went on to sail solo around Britain.

Describe the room where you usually write

I am a BBC correspondent so even though this is my second book, I didn't take time off work. I wrote most of it on holiday in Sardinia.

What distracts you from writing?

My family and my job.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

In one of Olivia Manning's books, there's a bloke called Guy who does not come out of it particularly well. It's set during the Second World War and he's a teacher who is very driven by putting on a play. Sometimes I can be blinkered like that.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

Invariably, charming, polite and inquisitive!

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Stuart Butchart is someone who I admire a lot. He wrote to me when I was in hospital. Like me, he was shot and paralysed a few years ago.

Frank Gardner's 'Far Horizons' is published by Transworld.