One Minute With: Tom Rob Smith, novelist

Where are you now and what can you see?

I'm sitting at my desk in Bermondsey, and I can see St Paul's Cathedral and the London Eye. It's amazingly quiet. There's not much green space here, so the river becomes that.

What are you currently reading?

I'm going on a book tour to Japan, and so I emailed my Japanese editor for a reading list. I'm working through Yukio Mishima now, and I'm really enjoying that.

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

George Orwell. I really love his punchiness – the way that he can be witty and angry at the same time. It seems a very English quality. There's a humour to his polemic that really works. I recently read 'Keep the Aspidistra Flying', which I loved.

Describe the room where you usually write

My study here is quite small, and covered with original posters from the Soviet Union. And it has a balcony - where I've planted a meadow.

What distracts you from writing?

Gardening – and playing on my roof. I'm quite distractable, and I tend to work in short bursts rather than in marathons.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

The point about fictional characters is that they don't sit around thinking of other people – they do things!

What are your readers like when you meet them?

Incredibly diverse, partly because of the range of countries I've been published in. Only one thing connects them – they're always generous and nice.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Nelson Mandela – someone who was able to overcome his anger at the injustice he had experienced. That to me is an extraordinary ability.

'Agent 6' by Tom Rob Smith is published by Simon & Schuster