One Minute With: Tess Gerritsen, novelist

Where are you now and what can you see?

In my home in Maine. From my window, I can see Penobscot Bay, seabirds, and offshore islands which are covered in snow.

What are you currently reading?

'Cleopatra: A Life' by Stacy Schiff.

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

Philippa Gregory, because she brings the past so lusciously to life.

Describe the room where you usually write

My home office is a large room over the garage with windows facing the sea. My actual writing desk is a cherry "partner's" desk, meant for two people to work on it at once. Right now it's covered with draft pages for my newest book, 'The Silent Girl'. I also have a separate computer desk, which is also embarrassingly messy. (I always promise myself I'll tidy up between writing projects, but it never happens.) The walls are lined with bookshelves where I store all my medical and scientific textbooks. On the floor are stacks of more books. This description probably makes me sound like a "hoarder," and I suppose I am... of books.

What distracts you from writing?

The internet. World news. Current events. It's hard to focus on my fictional world when the real world is in such turmoil.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Maura Isles [a medical examiner from Gerritsen's Rizzoli/Isles series of novels]. I use many details from my own life when I describe hers.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

Intelligent, curious women who have strong stomachs for gore.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Cleopatra. I can't think of a more fascinating woman. She raised an army, spoke nine languages, led a nation, and seduced two of the most powerful men of her time.

Tess Gerritsen's 'The Killing Place' is published in paperback by Bantam