Tell me what inspired you to write your first book?

I was working in Westminster. It is an incredible environment with thousands of people all operating in close quarters. I saw first-hand all the stories and characters that existed in that world. I knew some of those stories deserved to be told. No one else was writing about it, so I thought: why not me?

What did you do before becoming a writer?

I worked as a speechwriter and researcher.

Which authors inspire you?

Particular heroes include Robert Harris, Charles Cumming, Gregg Hurwitz, John Grisham, Jeffery Deaver and Harlan Coben.

Which genres do you read yourself?

I read across genres. Anything with a strong plot and stylish writing.

What is your biggest motivator?

There’s nothing I enjoy more as a reader than an author who can get me turning the pages. Trying to have that same effect on a reader is what drives me to keep writing and keep improving.

What will always distract you?

Nothing. Having worked as a speechwriter, you learn to write under any conditions.

As a child were you a great reader?

No. I started reading a lot when I discovered one of the Adrian Mole books by Sue Townsend in the school library. It was the first time I realised books could be as enjoyable as TV or films. The notion of reading as fun hadn’t really occurred to me before that point. Since then, I haven’t stopped.

Which book shop is your favourite?

John Sandoe Books and Goldsboro Books are two favourites.

What can you not resist buying?

Any of the Penguin hardcover classics designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith. The care with which the books have been put together makes for a unique reading experience.

Do you have any rituals on your writing days?

Strong coffee and a strict word count.

How many books in your own to be read pile?

Too many. I tend to buy in bulk and then spend weeks trying to get through everything.

What is your current read?

I’m currently reading Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough.

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