One Minute With: Sophie Hannah, novelist

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

At home in Cambridge. I can see scaffolding outside every window, covered with plastic sheeting and stonemasons. We bought this house last year and it needed lots of work.

What are you currently reading?

'Why We Lie' by Dorothy Rowe. I'm very interested in psychology in general, and I love her books. With almost every sentence you just feel: that's so true and I never realised it. She's spot-on about the reasons why we lie – but I'm looking forward to her suggestions for alternatives that are equally saving of misery.

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

Tana French. Her psychological thrillers are brilliantly written but you also read on, desperate to find something out. For me, that is the winning combination.

Describe the room where you usually write

The converted attic on the top floor of our house. It has a fantastic view of Cambridge church towers.

What distracts you from writing?

The Rightmove property website... It's mainly just an addiction, but once I've been looking for long enough I start to convince myself that I'm serious. There's a powerful allure of the life you haven't had.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Somebody in an Iris Murdoch novel who is always getting hysterically emotional and saying things that make no sense - possibly the hero of 'The Sea, The Sea'. People who know me say I do that.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

Lovely: smartly dressed, very intelligent and articulate.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

At the moment, Bill Bryson, because he has made it his mission to do something about litter – and I am obsessed with litter. There should be a minimum 20-year sentence for dropping a 7-Up bottle in beautiful Cambridge streets!

Sophie Hannah's new novel is 'Lasting Damage' (Hodder & Stoughton)