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One minute with: Mike Gayle, novelist


Where are you now and what can you see?

In my study, in a (relatively leafy) suburb of Birmingham. I can see the garden. It's pretty green.

What are you currently reading?

A novel, A Day at the Office by Matt Dunn, and a social psychology book, The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. Oddly enough they're equally funny and thought provoking.

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

Madeleine St John. Her style lacked fuss, but her characters thought and acted like real people, which is nowhere near as easy as it sounds.

Describe the room where you usually write

My study used to be my youngest daughter's bedroom hence the bright pink walls. It's full of books and toys from the 1980s.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Jennings from the children's series by Anthony Buckeridge. We're both prone to be more impetuous than is probably wise.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Dave Gedge, from the Wedding Present. Back in the late 1980s they were every Smiths fan's second favourite band but my first. I wanted to write books like their songs.

Mike Gayle's new novel, 'Turning Forty', is published by Hodder & Stoughton