I'm sure that everything you do contributes to the sort of novel that you write. A lot of actors have an understanding of drama and a good ear for dialogue and also the rhythm of speech. Similarly, my 16 years in radio drama has influenced me. You only have 45 minutes, or 7,000 words, to tell a story, so every scene has to have a point.
I am not expecting anyone to feel sorry for me, but when friends ask how it feels to be a debut novelist who has also been long listed for the Man Booker prize, I have to admit that my response has confused me. I am so overwhelmed, so delighted, so honoured and so surprised, I have come out in a violent cold.
'Perfect' is about a set-up that looks perfect from the outside - beautiful country house, beautiful wife and mother, everything where it should be - and the deep fissures that, in fact, lie beneath that. 'Perfect' was partly a response to the shock of my first book, 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry,' being a success.
This is what I have discovered - and it has been a gift in itself - that books live over and over again in different people's minds. That I might mean one thing as I write, but a reader's experiences will take it somewhere else. That is like a conversation, I think. It is a true connecting up.
The story of Harold Fry and his unlikely pilgrimage began as an afternoon play for radio. For many years, I have been writing plays and adapting novels for 'Woman's Hour' and the 'Classic' series. So this was originally a three-hander play, broadcast one sunny afternoon on BBC Radio 4.