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One Minute With: Philip Kerr

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm in my office in Wimbledon which is a Mediterranean shade of pink. I'm sitting behind a Hitler-sized desk.

What are you currently reading?

A Most Wanted Man after listening to it on tape first. I think John le Carré is, at 77, the greatest living writer alive. He is a master craftsman.

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

If I could choose her, I'd pick my wife, Jane Thynne, who writes thinking man's thrillers. But if that is too nepotistic, I'd say Raymond Chandler. He is a dark sort of PG Wodehouse, a great prose stylist whose descriptions are like perfect ice-cream sundaes. He has real firecracker descriptions of people.

Describe the room where you usually write

It's my office which is in the basement where I have one of those SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder) lights to stop me from being grumpy. Mick Jagger would call it my "dirty, filthy basement."

What distracts you from writing?

Apart from YouTube, archery.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Jack Torrance from [Stephen King's] The Shining. He has that writer's obsessive compulsiveness to sit in front of a computer no matter what. It touches so many nerves for authors.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

I'm always rather embarrassed that they know more about my books that I do.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

David Hockney. I like his curmudgeonliness and he is living proof that you don't have to believe anything the artist says about his work and just look at what he does.

Philip Kerr's novel, 'If the Dead Rise Not', is published by Quercus.