Where do you write?
Always in the same place—bed. And always in my pyjamas.

Name one book you think everyone should read.   
The Encyclopedia Brittanica. If you stop being curious about the world what more do you have to live for? 

 

What's your favorite movie based on a book?
I liked Roman Polanski’s Tess. My mother was a great Thomas Hardy fan, but I probably tried reading him when I was too young and found him hard going. Seeing Tess on the screen helped me access the story in a way I hadn’t been mature enough to do in the text.

If you weren't a writer, how would you earn a living? 
I’d stack shelves in the supermarket. I don’t have any aspirations other than to write.

Of all the characters you've ever written, which is your favorite?
Mama Strawberry in The Devil of Nanking and The Walking Man in the Walking Man series.

What was the proudest moment of your career so far? 
Standing up to my Japanese publishers who didn’t want to publish The Devil of Nanking unless I lowered the statistics I was quoting on how many civilians had died in the rape of Nanking. They dropped me and I’ve never been published in Japan since.

What are you working on now? 
I have just finished a standalone novel—Hanging Hill, and now I’m working on the sixth in the Jack Caffery series about a maximum security hospital in the UK.

Author photo by Arnaud Février.

 

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