One Minute with Donna Leon
Where are you now and what can you see?
In Venice, looking at three portraits: a 17th century portrait of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, a 16th century scholar, and a British 18th century portrait of a naturalist with a bird.
What are you currently reading?
Lucretius's On the Nature of Things. I like his idea that Gods are completely uninterested in human activity and that he believes there is no reason to fear death.
Choose a favourite author, and say why you admire her/him
I admire Dickens beyond words. He is one of the greatest plotters of all times. Didn't have a clue about women, but he sure could plot.
Describe the room where you usually write
A small study with a view from one window of the bell tower of the Church of Santi Apostoli, and from the other the bell tower of San Marco. No books, only CD's, a Spanish table and a computer.
What distracts you from writing?
Just about anything. I pray for the phone to ring so that someone will invite me for a coffee. I long for emails to arrive, love looking for new singers on YouTube and will even accept visits from the neighbour's cat.
Which fictional character most resembles you?
I've had a long day dealing with people in the music business, so I'd guess I most resemble the eponymous hero of a Russian epic: Misery, Luckless, Plight.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
Polite, friendly, generally happy to see me. Most are women, because women read far more fiction than men. The Germans and Austrians are very polite, the Swiss are very reserved and the Spanish usually kiss me. The Brits write me letters.
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the most liberal and illumined of the nine Justices of the US Supreme Court. She and the three other liberal Justices (two of whom are women, I might add) are all that stands between us and Utter Darkness.
Donna Leon's Falling in Love is available in paperback now.