What was the last book that you read that you’d now recommend?
Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny – it’s so warm and empathetic, I loved it.
Have you read any classics lately that you were reading for the first time?
I read Brave New World a few months ago.
Do you re-read books? And if yes, what was your last re-read?
All the time! I think I read The Poisonwood Bible for about the fourth time recently.
What are your go-to genres?
I like books that are all about the characters; I don’t really mind if not a huge amount happens.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Thursday’s Children by Rumer Godden.
What books are on your bedside table right now?
Hungry by Grace Dent, Still Life by Sarah Winman, and Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones, which I’m reading to my kids.
Do you bookmark or dogear your page in a book?
What is your ideal reading setting?
Tell us about your favorite indie bookstore?
The totally wonderful Bookbar in Finsbury Park. It’s a coffee shop, wine bar, and book shop, and Chrissy Ryan, who runs it, has the knack of recommending the perfect book for any situation.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Probably the first time I invented an excuse for something, and somebody believed me.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I went to Cochin after I read The God of Small Things. It was just as beautiful as I hoped it would be.
Where do you get most of your writing and editing done?
At the kitchen table, or on transport with earplugs.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both, usually in the same day.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I guess it depends on what qualifies as a half-finished book!
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Some of them…I feel relatively detached from my work when it’s being written about. Sometimes.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
When you’re not reading or writing, what are you doing?
Teaching, and trying to civilize my children.
What are your three favorite things right now?
Sunshine, caffeine, and sugar.
Your favorite travel destination and why?
Japan! It’s home, and it’s been too long.
What’s your favorite meal and go-to drink order?
Maguro-don and Asahi beer.
What six people, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party?
My entire family, dead and alive. Although that might be more than six people.
If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be, who would play you?
Slapstick comedy, Jim Carey.
What’s the last TV show or movie you watched that was really good?
I loved The Morning Show, can’t wait for Season 2.
You have to sing karaoke; what song do you pick?
Crazy by Gnarls Barkley.
If you were being taken to a deserted island and could only bring one book, what would it be?
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.