One Minute With: Tony Parsons, novelist


Where are you now and what can you see?

At my desk, facing my bookcase and I can see dozens of books about Thailand. I always give the eye-level shelf over to books on whatever subject I'm working on.

What are you currently reading?

I just threw aside 'The Killer is Dying' by James Sallis because it was not as good as his novel 'Drive'. I will give a book 50 pages. Before that I read 'The Art of Fielding' by Chad Harbach, which is the best thing I have read all year.

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

I think Ian Fleming is very underestimated as a writer, and I love the way that he mined his life and his soul for 007.

Describe the room where you usually write

On the top floor of my house in Hampstead. It's the smallest room I've ever written in but also the best.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Pip in 'Great Expectations' – the shameless abandonment of his roots, the craven desire for glory hidden behind a self-deprecating smile, the lust disguised as love, the guilt, the anger...

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Muhammad Ali. Shaking his hand 25 years ago is one of the high points of my life.

Tony Parsons's latest novel, 'Catching the Sun', is published by HarperFiction