Obviously I have a capacity for feeling extreme anxiety, and there are people out there who don't. I'm to some extent rather jealous of them.
If you came from Mars and tried to analyse British or American society through novels, you'd think our society was preponderantly full of middle-aged, slightly alcoholic, middle-class, intellectual men, most of whom are divorced from their families and have nothing to do with children.
With English literature, if you do a bit of shonky spelling, no one dies, but if you're half-way through a maths calculation and you stick in an extra zero, everything just crashes into the ravine.
I really like the idea of being a bit unpredictable. I'm known for being a nice, easy-going person with a straightforward exterior. So I think a bit of me wants to be sort of sly and devious.
I think one of the things you have to learn if you're going to create believable characters is never to make generalizations about groups of people.
I have very fond memories of swimming in Walden Pond when we lived in Boston. You'd swim past a log and see all these turtles sunning themselves. Slightly disturbing if you thought about how many more were swimming around your toes, but also rather wonderful.
No one wants to know how clever you are. They don't want an insight into your mind, thrilling as it might be. They want an insight into their own.
No one is ever really a stranger. We cling to the belief that we share nothing with certain people. It's rubbish. We have almost everything in common with everyone.
Most adults, unlike most children, understand the difference between a book that will hold them spellbound for a rainy Sunday afternoon and a book that will put them in touch with a part of themselves they didn't even know existed.
I better make the plot good. I wanted to make it grip people on the first page and have a big turning point in the middle, as there is, and construct the whole thing like a roller coaster ride.
I suffer depression only in the sense that I am a writer. We don't have proper jobs to go to. We are on our own all day. Show me a writer who doesn't get depressed: who has a completely stable mood. They'd be a garage mechanic or something.
I am really interested in eccentric minds. It's rather like being fascinated by how cars work. It's really boring if your car works all the time. But as soon as something happens, you get the bonnet up. If someone has an abnormal or dysfunctional state of mind, you get the bonnet up.
A lot of roles for people with disabilities are quite patronising. It's a real pity when they are just used to give dull PC kudos to a drama, or when they're wheeled on in a tokenistic way without any real involvement in the plot.
Humour and high seriousness... Perfect bedfellows, I think. Though I usually phrase it in terms of comedy and darkness. Comedy without darkness rapidly becomes trivial. And darkness without comedy rapidly becomes unbearable.
I am atheist in a very religious mould. I'm always asking myself the big questions. Where did we come from? Is there a meaning to all of this? When I find myself in church, I edit the hymns as I sing them.
When I was writing for children, I was writing genre fiction. It was like making a good chair. However beautiful it looked, it needed four legs of the same length, it had to be the right height and it had to be comfortable.
As a teenager, I was always this strange mixture of kind of vice-captain of the rugby team and sensitive artist type the rest of the time. I was sent away to this public school in the middle of nowhere, and I think we managed to completely miss out on normal youth culture.
When I was writing for children, I was writing genre fiction. It was like making a good chair. It needed four legs of the same length, it had to be the right height and it had to be comfortable.
There's something rather wonderful about the fact that Oxford is a very small city that contains most of the cultural and metropolitan facilities you could want, in terms of bookshops, theatre, cinema, conversation. But it's near enough to London to get here in an hour, and it's near enough to huge open spaces without which I would go insane.
I think most writers feel like they're on the outside looking in much of the time. All of us feel, to a certain extent, alienated from the stuff going on around us.