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One Minute With: Jennie Rooney

'I was terrified before my first readings because I thought everyone would lay into the book'

Where are you now and what can you see?

In my flat in Dulwich. I have a nice view of trees – quite a rare sight for London.

What are you currently reading?

American Pastoral. I'm only on the third chapter but I bought it at an Oxfam bookstore when I picked up three books, not realising they were all written by Pulitzer Prize winners - Anne Tyler and Carol Shields, which I've read, and now I'm onto Philip Roth.

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

I would probably say Julian Barnes or Muriel Spark. I read both authors' works when I was younger and I've never got over that affection you have for the first books you read that really blow you away.

Describe the room where you usually write

I usually go to the public library in Dulwich, which is full of GCSE and A-Level revision students right now. I take my laptop and a notebook. I like being around other people when I write.

What distracts you from writing?

Skype, messenger, the Internet in general. Sometimes, when it's hard to start, absolutely everything distracts me; when it's going well, absolutely nothing can.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

My brother and I have a joke about me being Miss Jean Brodie. I work as a teacher part-time, which inspired the comparison, I think.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

Generally really nice. I was terrified before my first readings because I thought everyone would lay into the book.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Mary Kingsley. She was a Victorian lady adventurer who looked after her elderly parents, then her brother, and when they died, she went off to West Africa – an ordinary Victorian women with her umbrella.

Jennie Rooney's novel, 'The Opposite of Falling' is published by Chatto & Windus