One Minute With: Simon Kernick

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The Independent Culture

Where are you and what can you see?

I'm standing in my kitchen (in Oxfordshire) looking out over my snow covered garden and bare trees beyond. It's quite a moody setting.

What are you currently reading?

A book I first read ten years ago - Get Carter by Ted Lewis. It's the third time I've read it and to me, it's probably the best British gangster thriller.

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

Lawrence Block, the American crime writer. He has created the archetypal New York P.I series with Matt Scudder. He influenced my early work, particularly The Business of Dying.

Describe the room where you usually write

It's a combination room - both my youngest daughter's bedroom and my study; her toys are scattered on the floor, my desk is in the middle.

What distracts you from writing?

Everything, but worst of all the internet. It's so easy to just surf.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

I wrote Relentless after a nightmare which became the first chapter of the book. I dreamt I got a call from a friend who was being murdered, and the last words he uttered to whoever was killing him was my address. I relate to John Meron - the man who finds himself on the run without knowing why he is being chased. We share some characteristics, except he's braver.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

Varied; teenagers to 80-year-olds.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Tom Hickey, who was my lecturer in humanities when I was at Brighton Polytechnic. He inspired me in learning, analytical thinking, in my writing skills and ability to structure.

Simon Kernick's new novel, 'The Last 10 Seconds' is published by Bantam