One Minute With: Simon Mayo, radio presenter
Arifa Akbar is literary editor of The Independent and i newspapers. She has worked at The Independent since 2001 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk in 2009. She was a judge for the Orwell Prize for books 2013, and the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014.
Friday 11 November 2011
Where are you now and what can you see?
I'm in my lounge opening the shutters, and in the process of clearing up after my children.
What are you currently reading?
Anthony Horowitz's [Sherlock Holmes novel] 'House of Silk'. I'm interviewing him for the Radio Two Book Club.
Choose a favourite author, and say why you admire her/him
The American crime writer, James Lee Burke. I was new to his work until a few years ago when I read 'The Tin Roof Blowdown'. His books are written without compromise, they are written the way people speak and it can take a while to pick up on the rhythm.
Describe the room where you usually write
I settle down somewhere in the house and then get turfed out when someone else comes in, so I go to another room. Now I'm always the first one up to write for a couple of hours before the others get up, usually on the kitchen table!
What distracts you from writing?
Anything and everything. I write on an iPad so I can access my email and Twitter accounts at the press of a button. The fact that I know that thousands of people are part of a conversation on Twitter is a huge distraction.
Which fictional character most resembles you?
I don't feel a need to identify, or empathise with, or even like the characters I'm reading about.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
Largely people who listen to my Radio Two programme, 'Drivetime'.
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
William Trevelyan Richards. He was the [late] captain of the Penlee lifeboat, Solomon Browne, that went to rescue a container ship in 1981. As far as I remember, almost all of the hands went down. It was observed by a helicopter pilot, who later said he couldn't imagine the bravery of the men who wouldn't give up.
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