One Minute With: Leanda de Lisle

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I am sitting at my desk, and I can see an article I am currently writing for the Catholic Herald.

What are you currently reading?

I'm reading Vietnam: A History, a Pulitzer Prize winning account of the war there by a man called Stanley Karnow.

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

The historian David Starkey, because I admire his ability to combine academic rigour and narrative storytelling.

Describe the room where you usually write

It is a small library. It's entirely lined with books, and the small bits which aren't lined with books have coral coloured wallpaper. So it's quite womblike. It also has a window overlooking a lake and trees.

What distracts you from writing?

Having to feed and water my husband and children.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Patty Bergen, from Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Green. Patty is also a writer, and a child trying to make sense of a very strange and alien world.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

I have quite a variety of readers. I always find them very interesting. They have interesting insights; intelligent and knowledgeable.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

I know this sounds sort of scummy, but at the moment I'm one of those people feeling very keen on Obama. I think he is turning a page in history, and I want to be optimistic about it rather than being pessimistic.

'The Sisters Who Would be Queen: The tragedy of Mary, Catherine and Lady Jane Grey', is published by HarperPress this month