One Minute With: Helen Oyeyemi

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm on a train from Penzance to Paddington. I can see some trees and a shed. I'm coming back from Cornwall where I was doing some research for my next book.

What are you currently reading?

Playing in the Light by Zoe Wicomb, which I'm enjoying. I have only just begun it but there's already a real atmosphere of unease - it's about an arty woman in a four-poster bed so far.

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

Probably Wilkie Collins, just because The Woman in White was so perfectly plotted. His villains are really perfect. Count Fosco (from The Woman in White) was such a wonderful villain.

Describe the room where you usually write

I've been writing in the Wellcome Library. It's calming and they have books on their shelves on stuff like diseases. I need different places for writing different books. I wrote White is for Witching mostly at home, but for what I'm writing right now, I don't want to do it at home.

What distracts you from writing?

Probably food, especially nibbly things like nuts or rice cakes.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Katy from What Katy Did, the bossy older sister who is often really tempestuous without meaning to be.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

They don't really say much.

Whow is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Malcolm X. I remember being at sixth form when I read his biography. I was blown away and it changed the way I saw myself.

Helen Oyeyemi's 'White is for Witching' is published by Picador.