Q: Is there a specific environment you find most conducive to writing, and is it different for different kinds of scenes?
A: These days I like silence. It’s hard to come by what with the neighbours’ dogs, shouting, music and so on. I often wear headphones and have some music playing very quietly to try and drown out extraneous noise. The music is always relevant to the story I am working on, so I research and make a short playlist each time. I have collections of film scores, sci-fi sounds, 17th century lute music, protest songs and Elizabethan pieces. I’m working in my daughter’s old bedroom at the moment, which is painted white. The wall before me contains maps of the world I invented for a historical fantasy novel. Sketches of towns, an inset map, showing a detailed part of the map at a larger scale. And lots of sticky post-it notes. The from the window view is an uninspiring one of other people’s houses — so I look at the sky above the roofs.