Where are you now and what can you see?

I’m in my Portakabin; my temporary office in my new house in Sussex – a Victorian rectory we are restoring. I can see seven ducks on the lake, which is worrying as yesterday we had nine … definitely a case for Detective Superintendent Roy Grace!

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading a crime novel by first-time novelist Claire McGowan, called The Fall, coming out in the spring. I get asked to read new works a lot, in the hope that I will give a quotation and I will only give a “puff” for a book I truly love. So far I do really love this book.

Choose a favourite author and say why you admire her/him

Graham Greene. He wrote the novel, Brighton Rock, that made me want to be a writer. I first read it at 14 and it was the first time I’d read a crime novel where the villains were the central characters – I found that exhilarating.

Describe the room where you usually write

When finished, it will up on the first floor, as I love a view. It will be filled with police and smoking memorabilia, which I collect, and inevitably stickered with crime-scene tape! A wine fridge won’t be far away.

What distracts you from writing?

Everything – but my three dogs, Phoebe, Oscar and Coco, distract me most of all.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

The favourite character I’ve ever created, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. He feels the way I do about so many things and gets irritated by the same things – and has the same taste in women!

What are your readers like when you meet them?

A lot of them say “Gosh, you are not at all sinister – we thought you would be from what you write!” Often they are … shy and always they are lovely.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Sir Richard Branson. There are people who can achieve huge success in life, while adding a bit of fun and a splash of colour to this increasingly grey world.I admire his daredevil, adventurer spirit and how he was one of the very first to bring a totally different face to the usual stern … image of the corporate boardroom.