One minute with: Sara Paretsky, crime writer


Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm in my office and can see the upper branches of our giant ash, which we are hoping against hope will survive the emerald ash borer.

What are you currently reading?

Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie, Total Chaos by Jean-Claude Izzo, Mary Oliver's Dog Songs – and I'm rereading Delano Ames, a crime writer who ought to be back in print.

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

I tend to respond to individual books... I admired Wolf Hall greatly. The story of Cromwell's life was riveting, and [Hilary] Mantel did an extraordinary job of creating a sense of archaic language without using annoying mannerisms.

Describe the room where you usually write

I work on the third floor of my home, in an attic insulated and air-conditioned to withstand the Chicago summers.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Dorothea Brooke [Middlemarch], for her intensity, longing for a vision – and the fact that she made serious errors in judgment.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Abraham Lincoln.

'Critical Mass' by Sara Paretsky is published by Hodder & Stoughton