One Minute With: George Pelecanos

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm in the Covent Garden Hotel, in London, and I'm looking at the wallpaper. It's definitely a chick's room, I can tell you that.

What are you currently reading?

Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein. It's a memoir of the American reporter working on a crime in Japan.

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

I would say John Steinbeck for the reason that he writes simply and for the people, and about everyday people. It's rare in American literature, which is mostly about succeeding or winning. He often writes about the opposite and I appreciate that.

Describe the room where you usually write

In the front room of my home, in Maryland. The kids and dogs are always around; there's a lot of noise but that's fine.

What distracts you from writing?

The Internet

Which fictional charcater most resembles you?

Arturo Bandini, from Ask the Dust by John Fante. The character is the son of an immigrant who is trying to be a writer and is very conflicted by it; the idea kind of goes against his working-class roots.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

Most of them are like me. They are of a similar generation, they want to come and talk about music and "muscle cars", and the 1970s. I see a lot of people who look like me.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Curtis Mayfield, for his bravery in singing about things that the radio and the general public didn't want to hear. He did it anyway, and he did it in a beautiful, spiritual way.

George Pelecanos's 'The Way Home' is published by Orion.

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