One Minute With: Patrick Neate

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm walking towards a recording studio in south London, and I can see an industrial estate. We do a radio show, Book Slam, on books and music every month and record a podcast there.

What are you reading now?

SuperCannes by JG Ballard. It's good but quite weird – but then everything I've read by him is weird.

Where do you usually write?

In my studio, in what estate agents call a "maisonette" but everyone else calls a flat. Every morning I tumble downstairs, make a pot of coffee, and stumble into the study. I write on a folding garden table overlooking the road, in Hammersmith.

Choose a favourite author and say why you admire them

Jane Austen. I read all of her work over six weeks when I was 18. It was then that I first realised that serious literature was also hilarious and fun.

What distracts you from writing?

Someone told me that I had to Twitter – absolutely the most pointless activity I can think of.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

In A Hero of Our Time by Lermontov, there's an army captain, Pechorin, who goes around seducing ladies, suffers terrible ennui and dies in a ridiculous duel. When I was younger, I sometimes wanted to be him!

What are your readers like when you meet them?

There are an incredible variety. And it's very satisfying and exciting to meet someone, totally randomly, who has enjoyed one of your books.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Can I say my dad? He became a successful lawyer but remains totally unaffected – an extremely good, intelligent human being. I always wanted to be a bit like him.

Patrick Neate's 'Jerusalem' is published by Jonathan Cape.