Where are you now and what can you see?

I’m sitting at an Ikea table in my living-dining room in Dublin.

What are you currently reading?

‘Voyages of Delusion’ by Glyn Williams. It’s about the disastrous 18th-century attempts to find the North West Passage.

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

Raymond Chandler. His plots make no sense, and the sex and violence are pretty tame, by our brutalised modern standards. But I have never read better prose, and I love the strange mixture of bruised romanticism and killer gags – “It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.”

Describe the room where you usually write

My house is too small to have a separate study. I write in whichever room the children aren’t in. Sometimes I sneak off to the library in Trinity College.

What distracts you from writing?

Tea, coffee, biscuits, children, email, the sudden urge to research tangential subjects on the internet.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

Has anyone in this series picked Captain Ahab yet? Can I have him?

What are your readers like when you meet them?

Appreciative. The ones who didn’t like your book aren’t going to bother coming up to tell you so. Once, though, I read for a book group, and later that night I received an accidental call from the organiser’s cell phone, and I overheard her telling her husband what they’d really thought of my book. “Only two of us liked it. The others struggled. Struggled.”

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

Paddy McAloon. If he can be classified as working outside literature. The first song I ever heard by Prefab Sprout was “Don’t Sing”… a commentary on [Graham Greene’s] ‘The Power and the Glory’.

Ed O’Loughlin’s novel ‘Toploader’ is published by Quercus