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Robert Harris, the famous author of 14 novels including the bestselling Fatherland, the Cicero trilogy, and Enigma, said an obituary in the Times about a woman who had to plot the path of rockets in Belgium, inspired his latest second world war thriller, V2.

‘I thought she sounded like an interesting character, no more than that. I was attracted to the story because of Brexit, funnily enough. The idea that one European power had occupied another to fire ballistic missiles at a third struck me as amazing,’ Harris told the Guardian.

‘I read a book by Eileen Younghusband, who was one of those looking for rocket bases. She claimed they’d identified two bases that had been destroyed by RAF, and that their operation beat the V2s. So, the sort of book I thought I was going to write became something else, a book about futility, and perhaps more interesting because of that,’ he added.

Harris, who also wrote the screenplays for the films of his novels, The Ghost, filmed as The Ghost Writer, and An Officer and a Spy, is currently writing a novel about the English civil war, and for this purpose is reading Pepys’s diary, the speeches of Oliver Cromwell and Carlyle’s letters.

He is generally interested in political events and the universality of political impulses, from Cicero’s Rome to 19th-century France to Russia, Germany, wherever the same quest for power exists.

Talking about how the Covid-19 lockdown changed his writing habits, Harris said he usually starts a book on the 15th of January and finishes it on the 15th of June, but the lockdown hit while he was writing his book.

‘I’ve realised over the years that a lot of writing is done in the subconscious. And to stimulate the subconscious you need to relax. You need to see friends, go out, go to the theatre. When you can’t do that, the mind becomes a very strange place. I couldn’t work for more than three or four hours a day. I had to stop at noon,’ he explained.

Harris was previously a journalist, serving as political editor of the Observer. He now lives in Berkshire with his wife. He has four children.

Source: The Guardian