Small talk: Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz, 55, has published more than 50 books and written for television, film and the theatre. His books include the Alex Rider series of spy novels for teenagers, which have sold more than 12m copies worldwide, as well as The Killing Joke and The Magpie Murders. He created the TV drama series Foyle’s War (2002) and is currently working with Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg on the sequel to The Adventures of Tintin. Horowitz was commissioned by the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle to write a new Sherlock Holmes novel, The House of Silk, published this month. He is married with two sons and lives in London.

Who is your perfect reader?

My perfect reader doesn’t just read – he or she devours books.

What books are currently on your bedside table?

Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Brigadier Gerard and The Lost World; a book of Sebastião Salgado’s photography and a guidebook to Brazil.

What book changed your life?

Dr No by Ian Fleming. It inspired Alex Rider and Alex Rider changed my life.

What is your writing routine?

I start work at 7am and write all day, seven days a week. If I don’t write, I can’t sleep.

Where do you write best?

On the top floor of a converted bacon warehouse in Clerkenwell, in an office my wife built for me.

What is the strangest thing you’ve done when researching a book?

For Stormbreaker I climbed into a car crusher and asked them to start it up.

What music helps you to write?

Music by Philip Glass.

Which literary character most resembles you?

Gordon Comstock in George Orwell’s Keep the Aspidistra Flying. It’s his constant striving for contentment. I drink less though.

Who are your literary influences?

Charles Dickens, George Gissing, Ian Fleming, Hergé.

Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Tony Blair. I would love to know how he lives with himself.

What are you scared of?

Dying in the middle of a book. I leave notes out in my room so that if I die people know how to finish it.

When were you happiest?

When I was 18. It was my last year at school. It was a wonderful, warm summer and everything seemed possible.

When do you feel most free?

When I’m in remote places with no clothes on.

How do you relax?

I take long walks in Suffolk.

What is the best piece of advice a parent gave you?

My mother told me to marry my wife.

If you could own any painting, what would it be?

“The Lacemaker”, by Vermeer. I saw it at the Louvre recently.

What book do you wish you’d written?

Great Expectations.

Anthony Horowitz’s latest book is ‘The House of Silk: The New Sherlock Holmes Novel’ (Orion)

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