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One Minute With: Precious Williams, writer

Where are you now and what can you see?

At my dressing table in my bedroom. Outside, there's a tiny park with squirrels running around it.

What are you currently reading?

I've just started Those Bones Are Not My Child, by Toni Cade Bambara, about the Atlanta children (a case consisting of the disappearance and murders of 40 black children in the 1980s). It is one of Toni Morrison's favourite books; it's out of print and I chanced upon it at a local independent bookstore. It's so well-written that I have to ration it.

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

Charles Dickens ,because I was brought up on him. In my foster home, there were only four adult books so I read him at a young age, and fell in love with his writing - the grotesqueness of some of his characters. I found it so captivating.

Describe the room where you usually write

Although I have a writing alcove set up elsewhere, I have started writing in my bedroom at my dressing table, which feels almost like a cocoon, a safe environment. I play music and I have the incense burning.

What distracts you from writing?

Definitely the phone. I can email and text people without getting out of the groove of writing but once I talk to someone, it takes me out.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz; as a child, I even had a little dog like Toto. I have that wide-eyed approach to the world.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

A lot of them email, especially from America, and because my book is so personal, they ask what's happening with my writing now.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

One of my creative icons is Marvin Gaye, who continued making amazing music even when his personal life was in total disarray, when he was a drug addict, an alcoholic and being chased by debt collectors.

Precious Williams's memoir, 'Precious', is published by Bloomsbury