An early reader
My mother was a great reader and introduced me to books at an early age. But my passion for literature came from my inspiring English master at school, Alan Quilter, who remained a friend for the rest of his life.
On my fave list
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas is my favourite book. It is a remarkable piece of storytelling, and what makes it more incredible is that Dumas wrote this and The Three Musketeers in the same year! I love Dumas, Dickens and Zweig — not just great writers, but wonderful storytellers.
Of twists and turns
I particularly enjoy family sagas and the twists and turns and ups and downs of the characters’ lives and loves, such as The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy, Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels.
Dedicated reading time
I never travel without at least one book, and I sometimes find an hour to read in the morning or just before going to bed. And, I read two books a month.
I rely greatly on word of mouth, and on critics I respect. The pleasures of physical books I much prefer reading a real book. In fact I’ve started reading samples on Kindle and then if I like it, ordering the book.
I’ve recently finished A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, and am now reading Bent Coppers by Graeme McLagan for research.
I once bought an Ian Fleming from an Oxfam bookshop for a shilling, and had finished the entire series within a month.
If the names Dickens or Jane Austen come up on the screen, I’m glued. A Tale of Two Cities is a classic example.
Book to screen
I would love to see Paths of Glory made into a film, as I think this is the most dramatic story I’ve ever written.
One classic I have claimed I have read would be Finnegans Wake by James Joyce — I’ve never gotten past page 40.
First editions on my shelf
I have over a thousand first editions, including the entire works of Charles Dickens.
Books of the year
My two books of the year so far are A Gentleman in Moscow and The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig and Malgudi Days, R K Narayan.