Where are you now and what can you see?
In Wolverhampton, at a friend's house. I can see a strip of back garden, large trees and a playing field with more houses beyond.
What are you currently reading?
The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig. It's a wonderfully moving story of an unfulfilled young woman.
Choose a favourite author and say why you like her/him
Isaac Bashevis Singer, because he's a master storyteller – almost unrivalled. I discovered him quite late in life: the best thing to have come out of doing a PGCE [teaching certificate].
Which fictional character most resembles you?
I've never identified with characters in that sense but I do enjoy reading about many-sided figures and their moral dilemmas. I've never murdered an elderly lady, but Raskolnikov [in Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment] is a powerful figure of guilt and fear.
Describe the room where you usually write
It's the size of a snooker table with two desks, a radio and computer.
What distracts you from writing?
The internet. It can be a gross waste of time.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
Apart from family and friends, and a couple of journalists, I haven't yet met any. I look forward to being heaped with praise – and also to meeting someone who has been made uncomfortable by the novel, for whatever reason.
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor, for his courage in resisting Nazism.
Raphael Selbourne's 'Beauty', published by Tindal Street Press, won the Costa First Novel Award.Reuse content