One Minute With: Gerald Seymour

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm at home in South Oxfordshire looking out of my office window. High up against the clouds is a red kite, circling. I can see lawns, hedges and acres of sky.

What are you currently reading?

Unknown by Mari Jungstedt. I'd never heard of the author when I picked it up. I'm enjoying it.

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

It has to be, because he has been with me for three or four decades, John Le Carré, through his wonderful ones, and his not so wonderful ones. I'm utterly loyal to him.

Describe the room where you usually write

In my study, at a screen set against the wall. There are bookcases, which – a bit of an indulgence – have just my own titles. I have a poster for the TV serial of Harry's Game, with Ray Lonnen holding a pistol, and photos of Anthony Perkins, John Thaw and John Hurt who've been in my TV stories.

What distracts you from writing?

I'm quite disciplined and suppress the urge to check my emails until my coffee breaks.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Maybe the rather more boring administrators from Le Carré's novels; not the one who does things but someone who observes from the shadows.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

I'm very taken by their loyalty. That one is admitted in their lives is humbling.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

There was an ex-policeman who was in Zeebrugge during the ferry disaster who made his body into a bridge to help people get out. He was in the eye of the media storm for about 24 hours, and then quietly disappeared. There was nothing planned in his heroism. It was real. Came the moment and the challenge, he performed.

Gerald Seymour's 'The Dealer and the Dead' is published by Hodder & Stoughton