Where did you write your latest book?
In my study, at my computer. I’ve written twenty-two of my twenty-five books here.
How important to you is the space that you write in?
It’s my workplace. When I sit down here, I’m in writing mode. I also have many of my writing tools within easy reach – filing cabinets, printer, dictionary, thesaurus, reference books, scanner, phone.
Do you transform your space in any way for each book?
The stack of reference books will be different for each book, and the photos on the wall tend to change. They’re there as visual stimulus, so when I stop typing and drift off, my eye lands on them and gets me thinking about details of clothing, architecture, posture …
Do you ‘get into character’ at all?
Strange things happen. Sometimes, when writing an action scene, I find I have to act it out to get the physical sequence correct. This is especially so for fight scenes. I stand up, then twist, bend, throw myself about, then jump back on the computer to write it all up.
How has the place that you write evolved or changed since you first began writing novels?
I’ve accumulated my wall photos, overlapping old ones, adding maps and diagrams. It’s a rich source of ideas.
Do you keep regular writing hours? What are they? If not, when do you write?
I aim to be at the desk writing by 9.30. I take half an hour or so for lunch, then write for another few hours in the afternoon. That’s pretty standard, but I might have to do more, depending on how close that deadline is …
Do you have a morning ritual? Roald Dahl was said to sharpen pencils. What settles your mind for writing?
I take the dog for a walk each morning before getting down to write. It helps my fitness, which can get a bit dicey, sitting down for much of the day, and it also gives me time to think away from the screen, kicking around ideas, coming up with alternatives.