My heroes and heroines are often unlikely people who are dragged into situations without meaning to become involved, or people with a past that has never quite left them. They are often isolated, introspective people, often confrontational or anarchic in some way, often damaged or secretly unhappy or incomplete.
In the old days of literature, only the very thick-skinned - or the very brilliant - dared enter the arena of literary criticism. To criticise a person's work required equal measures of erudition and wit, and inferior critics were often the butt of satire and ridicule.
I first saw the island of Noirmoutier when I was two weeks old. I think it's probably safe to say that I didn't fully appreciate it at the time; but I grew to love it as year after year I spent holidays there at my grandparents' cottage.
I find littering very annoying. It's a minor but also a major thing: a society that litters is one that also has so little respect for the environment and, consequently, other people. If we had clean streets, a lot of other things would be fixed almost effortlessly.
I had a great grandmother who believed in so many strange superstitions. She used to tell the future from the things that catch on to the hem of your skirt when you've been sewing, and different colored threads would mean different things... Of course, all that influenced me quite a lot as a child.
I'm quite an untidy person in a lot of ways. But order makes me happy. I have to have a clear desk and a tidy desktop, with as few visual distractions as possible. I don't mind sound distractions, but visual ones freak me out.
People reveal so much of their mental processes online, simply because the psychological effect of anonymity just means that a whole raft of inhibitions are left alone when people log on.
I have an English identity and a French identity. When I'm in France, I'm more outgoing. And the French part of me cooks, whereas the English part of me writes.
I sublimate different parts of my personality through my characters. Which is worrying, as some of them can be a bit nasty. I'm pleased the stuff on the page isn't inside me any more.
One of the things that writing has taught me is that fiction has a life of its own. Fictional places are sometimes more real than the view from our bedroom window. Fictional people can sometimes become as close to us as our loved ones.
I don't tend to do category fiction very well. One of my problems when I was starting off was that publishers were hesitant to handle my books because they were never sure what I was going to do next.
I don't think I've ever had a mentor. The closest thing is my friend Christopher Fowler, another writer. Chris kept me sane for a long time before I made it.
I was convinced I'd hate Twitter - but I've come to like it very much. I use it mostly to keep in touch with friends and colleagues I wish I could see more often - I sometimes feel a little isolated living in Yorkshire, and it's nice to have the contact.
We spoke French at home and I didn't know any English until I went to school. My mother was French and met my father when he visited France as a student on a teaching placement.
No one should be so precious as to refuse criticism of their work. But to respect an opinion, we have to know that it was given honestly and with proper thought.
I like literature that you respond to in some way. You laugh, you cry, you turn the light on - that's great, it's eliciting a response by proxy.
I was a very bad accountant; I didn't care about money, golf or discovering fraud. After about a year I was sacked; then I went into teacher training.
I tend to write about more than one generation because as a child I had contact with more than one generation; it was normal to be around older people.
If you can actually get someone to sit on the edge of their seat and feel nervous if there's a knock at the door, then you've done something pretty terrific as a writer.
It may be something to do with my having been to a girls' school, but I'm far more comfortable making male friendships than female ones. My friends tend to be men and their significant others.