Small talk: Ross Raisin

Born in West Yorkshire in 1979, Ross Raisin studied English and then creative writing in London. He wrote his first novel, God’s Own Country (2008), while working as a waiter and went on to be shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the International Impac Dublin Literary Award. In 2009 he was named Young Writer of the Year by the Sunday Times. Raisin is married with a daughter and lives in north London.

Who is your perfect reader?

Probably my wife, Anne. She has a very good eye. I do wonder sometimes whether she has a little too much power but I would be helpless without her.

What books are currently on your bedside table?

Edward Hogan’s The Hunger Trace; The Speed Reading Book by Tony Buzan; The Rough Guide to Pregnancy & Birth.

When did you know you were going to be a writer?

I didn’t – and I still don’t. I don’t think in those terms. I know when I’m going to write a particular book but don’t think further on than that.

What is your daily writing routine?

For my latest book, I’d get up, have breakfast, watch an episode of Frasier, write from 9am until 6pm and finish with an episode of The Simpsons.

Where do you write best?

In my mind I have a fantasy writing shed but in reality I write at the kitchen table.

What do you snack on while you write?

Aniseed balls and crumpets.

Which literary character most resembles you?

Mr Daydream, from the Mr Men books.

Who are your literary influences?

Peter Carey, Graham Greene, Doris Lessing and Thomas Hardy.

What are you scared of?

My cat being eaten by a fox. I met some people recently who’d had theirs eaten. They found it in their garden without a head.

When do you feel most free?

While walking in the countryside with my wife and an imaginary dog. It would be nice to have one.

How do you relax?

Sleeping. And going on to the Bradford City FC website.

What book do you wish you’d written?

Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey. Just because it’s bloody good.

How would you earn your living if you had to give up writing?

I’d work in a hotel or a restaurant. I would be a manager and I’d somehow lessen the gap between management and staff.

Can you remember the first novel you read?

The Rats by James Herbert, when I was 11 or 12. It freaked me out completely. It was not the rats that frightened me, more the people.

What does it mean to be a writer?

If you’re published it means you’ve been very fortunate somewhere along the line.

What are you most proud of writing?

My latest book, Waterline. It’s the best thing I’ve done. It’s very pleasing to have managed it and to have trusted my idea throughout.

Ross Raisin’s latest novel is ‘Waterline’ (Viking)

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