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My favourite books tell stories that I want to be involved in, they create characters I want to know and describe places I want to visit.

When William Gibson turned the Golden Gate Bridge into a shanty town in Virtual Light, I really wanted to live there, up on the wires, maybe find a shack near the top, next door to Skinner and that biker girl he adopted. When I read Elmore Leonard’s Swag I wanted have a beer or maybe eight beers with Ernest Stickley Jnr. in the Prancing Pony in the village of Bree, then fall out of a car, drunk, with Terry Lennox.

I still want to stand in the forests of the north alongside Rudd Threetrees against The Feared, brawl with Henry Chinaski on skid row, spend a morning studying the creatures washed up on the beach with Doc. And if we’re talking beaches, I want to visit Lochdubh.

Stories take me places that I really want to be.

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