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.
The most difficult book I wrote was the fourth in a series of linked children's books. It was like pulling teeth because the publisher wanted exactly the same but completely different. I'd much rather just do something completely different, even if there's a risk of it going wrong.
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.
I think Britain has this tradition which suggests that if you make the readers laugh too much, you can't really be serious. Whereas, I think one of the functions laughter can perform in a book, as in life, is that it's a reaction to genuine horror.
I'm a writer! If you work in an office, it dampens you. It makes you fit a routine. The effect of being a writer is not dissimilar to being long-term unemployed. And everyone knows that is not good for you.
I always thought I'd eventually learn how to draw really well, and despite constant evidence to the contrary, I just kept on trying. If you're too good at anything, you don't have to think about the process, whereas I feel like I spend my life with my head under the bonnet, trying to understand how everything works.
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.
There was a time in my life when I was going in and out of houses that were extraordinarily different - from a working-class terrace in Northampton to the homes of friends who were really very wealthy. It was quite an odd position to be in, I realise looking back, and quite a nice one.
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 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.
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.