One Minute With: Saul David

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

In the front room of a friend's flat in Mornington Crescent. The view is obscured by a huge office block. It's quite nice to look at but it's so close it completely dominates the view.

What are you currently reading?

Countdown to Valkyrie by Nigel Jones, about the bomb plot to kill Hitler. And a novel, The Finest Type of English Womanhood by Rachel Heath. The closest thing I can compare it to is The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

When it comes to my history, often fiendishly, frighteningly knowledgeable. If I'm at a book signing and someone decides to take me to task, it can make for quite a sticky moment. In two weeks, my novel is out. I'm a little more relaxed about that.

Describe the room where you write

It's a typical author's shed in the garden. There's a desk and some filing cabinets. It would be lovely to have a bed for the odd afternoon nap.

Who is your favourite author and why do you like him/her?

George MacDonald Fraser and his Flashman novels. He really got me into 19th-century Victorian history but also fiction. He's really one of the most underrated prose stylists.

What distracts you?

Three things: my three-year-old daughter; sport; and delivery men.

Who do you most resemble in literature?

Rudolf Rassendyll in Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope. The way he adapts to different situations reminds me of myself. If I hadn't got into history, I might have been an actor.

Who do you most admire outside the world of literature?

Paul Russell Begina; a Rwandan Oscar Schindler. He was a Hutu but managed to save the lives of a thousand Tutsis. He was up against the purest form of evil and never wavered.

'Zulu Heart', by Saul David, is published by Hodder & Stoughton on 5 March