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.
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.
For me, disability is a way of getting some extremity, some kind of very difficult situation, that throws an interesting light on people.
My book has a very simple surface, but there are layers of irony and paradox all the way through it.
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.
Reading is a conversation. All books talk. But a good book listens as well.
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.
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.
I don't remember deciding to become a writer. You decide to become a dentist or a postman. For me, writing is like being gay. You finally admit that this is who you are, you come out and hope that no one runs away.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Madness doesn't happen to someone alone. Very few people have experiences that are theirs alone.
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.
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.
There's something with the physical size of America... American writers can write about America and it can still feel like a foreign country.
If you enjoy math and you write novels, it's very rare that you'll get a chance to put your math into a novel. I leapt at the chance.
Stories about mental aberration and oddity only make sense in context. Just how do people live with someone who is peculiar, gifted, strange or alien? It's odd because there's a little part of me that wants to write about exotic, strange bizarre subjects. Instead, I've rather reluctantly realised that what I write about is families.