One Minute With: Peter Robinson, novelist

Where are you now and what can you see?

In Hodder's offices in Euston, where there are lots of people sitting in front of computers and shelves filled with books.

What are you currently reading?

The Passage by Justin Cronin, a summer blockbuster that should last me until the end of my book tour. It's a real door-stopper and I'm only five chapters in.

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

Thomas Hardy, although I didn't like him when I was studying him as an English Literature student. I came to like him afterwards, when I started reading him for pleasure. The world he creates is so vivid and sensuous, yet there is so much doom and gloom.

Describe the room where you usually write

It's a study in my house in Toronto, an upper room with a view of the tree tops and roof tops across the street. It's quite small and at the moment, I can hardly move. I let it get to this state but when I finish a book, I usually have a blitz.

What distracts you from writing?

Travelling. I like to write for as long a period as I can, for weeks, and months, and get a momentum going. Travelling cuts into that.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Probably Jude, from Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure. I have a lot of sympathy for Jude and his difficult journey to Oxford, maybe through having a Northern, working-class background.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

They are more knowledgeable about my books than I am. They have changed as well; there used to be more far more older women but now I get quite a mixed crowd.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

I have a real soft spot for Nelson Mandela, having been to South Africa and knowing quite a lot about his story.

Peter Robinson's latest Inspector Banks novel, 'Bad Boy', is published by Hodder & Stoughton