Where are you now and what can you see?
I'm sitting in my study, in my home north of Rome. Outside the window I can see only neighbouring houses.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished The Perfect Waiter – written in German by an author from Alsace, Alain Claude Sulzer.
Choose a favourite author, and say why you like her/him
Nabokov. My admiration is for his phenomenal manipulation of language, the trickiness of his word play and his sense of humour – unique.
Describe the room where you usually write
It's got books all round the walls, two computers, a Betty Boop calendar and photographs. Some are of family, others of me climbing and there's also a shot of me presenting my first novel to William Golding.
What distracts you?
I do spend a lot of time supposedly writing but I can distract myself well playing patience on my computer.
Which fictional character most resembles you?
Joe Rose in McEwan's Enduring Love is a character whom I think I resemble, although I'm a little old to be hanging from balloons. But I hold to scientific rationalism in the same way, and find myself similarly confused at how irrational humans can be.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
I don't meet many because I'm in Italy; if I lived in Britain I'd meet more. Those who I do meet are a wide mixture, mostly middle-class I suppose.
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
Fred Trueman is a life-long hero. I saw him playing in the first first-class cricket game I ever attended. He was the greatest character among the fast bowlers and possibly the greatest fast bowler ever. Tremendous.
'The Glass Room', by Simon Mawer, is published by Little, Brown
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