Where are you now and what can you see?
I'm sitting in my study, in my home north of Rome. Outside the window I can see only neighbouring houses.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished The Perfect Waiter – written in German by an author from Alsace, Alain Claude Sulzer.
Choose a favourite author, and say why you like her/him
Nabokov. My admiration is for his phenomenal manipulation of language, the trickiness of his word play and his sense of humour – unique.
Describe the room where you usually write
It's got books all round the walls, two computers, a Betty Boop calendar and photographs. Some are of family, others of me climbing and there's also a shot of me presenting my first novel to William Golding.
What distracts you?
I do spend a lot of time supposedly writing but I can distract myself well playing patience on my computer.
Which fictional character most resembles you?
Joe Rose in McEwan's Enduring Love is a character whom I think I resemble, although I'm a little old to be hanging from balloons. But I hold to scientific rationalism in the same way, and find myself similarly confused at how irrational humans can be.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
I don't meet many because I'm in Italy; if I lived in Britain I'd meet more. Those who I do meet are a wide mixture, mostly middle-class I suppose.
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
Fred Trueman is a life-long hero. I saw him playing in the first first-class cricket game I ever attended. He was the greatest character among the fast bowlers and possibly the greatest fast bowler ever. Tremendous.
'The Glass Room', by Simon Mawer, is published by Little, BrownReuse content