One Minute With: John Connolly

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm in Liverpool and I can see the Mersey – a mixed feeling now just for any Liverpool fan. The hotel seems to be marooned in the middle of nowhere.

What are you currently reading?

'The Gentlemen's Hour' by Don Winslow, who's a fairly recent discovery. He writes very well about men and their feelings: a capacity that's maybe under-rated.

Choose a favourite writer and say why you like her/him?

Ross Macdonald. [His detective] Lew Archer was such an influence on me, especially in his capacity for empathy. I've been fascinated by the idea that evil is the absence of empathy.

Describe the room where you usually write

An attic room at home in Rathgar [in Dublin], where I stare at a brick wall. I feel that I'll be buried in Ireland and don't think I'll ever live in the US. I'm not comfortable with many aspects of US society – especially the justice system,

What distracts you from writing?

In the nicest possible way, it's probably household and family stuff. If you work at home, you're always on call in a way.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

It would still be Ignatius J Reilly from [John Kennedy Toole's] 'A Confederacy of Dunces'. As I get older I tend to rail against the world more and more.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

Usually very kind and very funny. It's lovely to meet fans of 'The Book of Lost Things', a very personal book - they have an evangelical feeling about it.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

I'm very wary of heroes: they always let you down in the end. It would probably be somebody in music such as Neil Young or Kate Bush; someone with a very tenacious vision of themselves and their work.

'The Whisperers' by John Connolly is published by Hodder & Stoughton.