After university, I went into film. I started out making tea, managed a brief stint as an assistant director, then found myself writing a screenplay. In the end, I wrote quite a few - but by January 2006, I wanted out.

I grew up on the Roger Moore and Sean Connery Bond movies, so the DNA of my spies is extremely ridiculous and goofy.

Yes, you are under surveillance. Yes, it is odious. Yes, it should bother you. And yes, it's hard to know how to avoid it.

In both 'Tigerman' and my first book, 'The Gone-Away World,' there are characters who never really get names. They're too fundamentally who they are to be bound by a name, so I couldn't give them one.

Whether you're choosing for yourself or for a character - or for a child - names have baggage of their own.

In ancient Greece, Socrates reportedly didn't fancy a literate society. He felt that people would lose the capacity to think for themselves, simply adopting the perspective of a handy written opinion, and that they would cease to remember what could be written down.

To my irritation, you still can't flick through an ebook properly; you can't riffle the pages, you can't look at more than one page at once.

'Tigerman' was born in the front seat of a Hilux SUV on the road north out of Chiang Mai.

The idea that the law should punish what is rude; that government should protect our tender sensibilities from those who would - quite often with shallow motivations but sometimes with deeper and more serious complaints - challenge our national certainties and rituals, should alarm and anger us.

Executive power in any nation arguably has more in common with executive power in another country than with the citizens it should serve.

I'm usually reading too many books - in fact, I'm usually reading enough books that if the stack fell on me, I'd be injured.

Margaret Thatcher inherited a country in transition. The British Empire was still a considerable entity well into the 20th century.

The Internet has the capacity to extend to us genuine choice, and that is not without risk. Real power does entail real responsibility.

The great thing is to have been surrounded by stories all my life.

I wrote the first draft of 'Tigerman' while my wife was pregnant - needless to say, I was relaxed and casual about her well-being during this tender time - and the novel clearly has its center in that panicked parental desperation that accompanies a first child and in the admittedly comedic extremes to which it drives us.

Sir Terry Pratchett - he was knighted in 2009, and on him it looked earned rather than entitled - wrote about dragons, wizards, turtles, witches, time-travelling monks, and suitcases with legs.

Google's library plan was staggering and exciting - it wasn't the idea I objected to, but the method.

I studied revolutions at university, and I think each revolution must begin with a moment of 'no.' If enough people have that moment at the same time, it becomes a movement.

I wanted a pseudonym partly because I'm quite shy and private. I know that sounds ludicrous, but if I should be lucky enough to make a hit, I wanted to be able to shrug off the mantel of Nick Harkaway when I got home.

The notion of our leaders as patrician ascetics of unassailable virtue is risible.

We are bodies which think, and we're at home with steampunk because it is an ethos of design and creativity which acknowledges the humanly physical: that which we can understand with our fingers.

E-readers are uninspired. They're slabs of plastic with fiddly controls and display a badly-formatted, typographically impoverished rendering of a paper book. That's not the electronic book I want. I want a gorgeous physical object, with paper pages, that can transform into any story I choose, perfectly presented on the page.

I do not propose that everyone in Guantanamo or its evil twin at Bagram is innocent. I just don't believe we should incarcerate people without trial and torture them or facilitate and profit from their torture.

The market, as we're all painfully aware in the aftermath of the banking crisis, can be an idiot. It has no perception of right or wrong, or even sensible or insane. It sees profit.

The First World War was a horror of gas, industrialised slaughter, fear, and appalling human suffering.

My scientific qualifications are relatively scant. I like science. I try really hard to educate myself about it, but in the end, if something has to go 'boom,' and it would probably only go 'fwoosh,' I am relatively unconcerned about that, which is a sin, but not, I think, a grave one.

I'm fascinated by human agency - by the process of decision, both in the individual and the mass.

I'm not an absolutist about free speech. Intellectually, I believe that most of the time it's better to let things get said, argue them, and put lies and stupidities to rest. Practically, I know that newspapers rarely issue corrections with the same prominence they give to denouncements - and Twitter, by its nature, never does.

I work in our living room, a strange room in a strange, topsy-turvy house. I work underneath this enormous bookshelf.

I think the reason I wrote screenplays for nearly a decade was because it was my territory. I could stake that out.

Prize lists are out, and you're not on them? Nature of the world - means nothing. Prizes are a lottery.

As I work, I see my writing - each scene, each chapter, each section, each book - in three-act structures and classic myths, and I analyze them through the handy filter of the detective story.

Amazon makes money differently from a conventional publisher. It is an infrastructure player.

I'm not shy, exactly, but I am private. I don't like to talk about myself. I had to learn - I was interviewed for print, radio and even TV.

Happiness is boundlessly weird. Other people's choices often seem to delight them, where I would run screaming.

Digitisation was supposed to lead to a great democratisation of access to creative work.

Throughout the '90s and early 2000s, our financial industry and governments leaned on a snake-oil mirage of wealth creation, a bubble predicated on the obvious falsehood that things could only get better.

Steampunk appeals to the idea of uniqueness, to the one-off item, while every mainstream consumer technology of recent years is about putting human beings into ever more granular, packageable and mass-produced identities so that they can be sold or sold to, perfectly mapped and understood.

All my characters are me, in one way or another.

I am an avid reader of comics, though I came to them late.

I never engage negatively with reviewers. If someone says something that enrages me, I do what I do on stage. I make a joke about myself and move on. Sometimes people say things that are manifestly wrong or even apparently malicious. That's fine, too. It's a response.

In abandoning the understanding that things - services, goods, wars, and houses - have costs, we risk becoming infantilised, incapable of making decisions about government or finance, and perhaps above all about the environment, the wellbeing of the planet upon which we depend and which our children will inherit from us.

Booksellers are tied to publishing - they need conventional publishing models to continue - but for those companies, that's not the case. Amazon is an infrastructure company; Apple sells hardware; Google is really an advertising company. You can't afford as a publisher to have those companies control your route to market.

Performance is hard. I know this. I really enjoy it, but I have bombed, I have fluffed, and I have said the wrong thing.

If you ask who I aspire to, well, if a single line of mine was as funny as P. G. Wodehouse can be, that would be great.

We simply cannot afford to allow our government to go unscrutinised, most of all in amid the bleak seeming imperatives of the 'war on terror'.

An enormous amount of a writer's life is performance. I find myself wondering, at the moment, whether I do too much of it.

Suddenly, the idea of writing a book was like coming home. I didn't tell anyone except my wife, Clare. I just began.

I know that when I talk to my parents and my friends, there's a strong feeling of the world out of control and damaged.