One Minute With: Stella Rimington

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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm not good at telling people where I am. I'm at home but I'm not prepared to tell you where that is. I can see rain splattering on the window that overlooks a small garden.

What are you currently reading?

I'm on the 12th (final) volume of Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time. I've been reading it for the past year although it's not the only thing I've read. I'm also reading the first official history of MI5 (by Christopher Andrew) which goes into a lot of detail about episodes such as the Cambridge Five.

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

One of them is Dorothy L. Sayers and the Lord Peter Wimsey books. I admire her ability to create mystery plots. I really enjoy the character of Lord Peter Wimsey who she writes slighly tongue-in-cheek.

Describe the room where you usually write

I usually write in the country.

What distracts you from writing?

My family. I have five grandchildren who I very much enjoy seeing.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

My own creation of Liz Carlyle. I subconsciously created a character who resembled me. She's a female MI5 officer in her thirties, as I used to be.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

It depends which country I'm in. In Australia, I met readers who were very involved with the character of Liz Carlyle and felt she shouldn't continue to be involved with her boss.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

My mother, who taught me the work ethic that has driven me through my life and that I can only do my best, which has also been a guiding light.

Stella Rimington's latest book, 'Present Danger', is published by Quercus.

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