A new car is not going to change your life.
Some writers are more natural public performers than others; personally I find it quite strange giving interviews. But everyone has parts of their job that they like more than others. You can't complain if you get to do what you love doing most of the time, can you?
I like Beryl Bainbridge a great deal, and she is a writer who absolutely demands to be read a second, third, and fourth time. I admire her great courage in leaving so much unsaid and asking the reader to really engage her brain.
I guess there's a sort of cycle with writing books. There's all the researching and then the imagining and writing - which is the real job - and then there's always a period when the book comes out and you have to lift your head and venture out.
I started writing 'Brick Lane' when my children were two years and five months old. We were on holiday in the north of England when I was overtaken by a compulsion to start writing.
I was always an outsider, always standing outside, observing and trying to figure things out. Which is exactly what you need to do as a writer, I suppose.
Kids are naturally inventive and curious and creative, but most adults have had that beaten out of them. Writing is a form of play; you have to get rid of all those internal censors that we adults have, the things that say, 'Don't go there, that's not allowed.'
People don't get involved with local charities or politics because they think it's hard to make a difference and the problem feels overwhelming. But I believe that if all I've time for this year is to write one letter to the local council, it's still worth doing.
I don't want to get hung up on what 'people,' that nebulous mass, think about me. That's the way to unhappiness, I think.
I'm very eclectic in my music tastes - anything from Nina Simone to Beethoven to Talvin Singh.