I started writing The Bookworm eight years ago. It was going to be a book, then a movie script, and then a book again. In 2010 I was going to model my American President character on the then-Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. I eventually picked someone even more unlikely.

Mitch Silver

Mitch Silver

I wrote my first thriller, In Secret Service, every morning for two years while sitting in the last seat of the train as I commuted to Grand Central and my ad job. I’d type up the pages at lunchtime, edit it on the way home, and start all over again in the morning.

I’ve been asked, “Why are your main characters, the ones who solve the mystery, always women?” And it’s true that my protagonists are...well... heroines: Amy Greenberg and Larissa Mendelova Klimt—Lara the Bookworm to her friends. I guess I like the idea of characters in danger who can’t use brute force against the heavy-muscled bad guys to get out of it. And, not to get caught up in the “men can’t know what women think” stuff and vice-versa, I’ll just say I believe men and women think about the same things a lot.

I was born in Brooklyn.

In my class at university were George W. Bush and Oliver Stone. Which officially makes me a late bloomer...at best.

I believe that, if you’re going to use six facts about Moscow in your book (which I did, and then some), you have to know at least 60. Or it won’t come off.

I write lyrics to country songs. Sleeping Single in a Double Bed won the American Song Festival Lyric Grand Prize, for what that’s worth. You can download On an Ordinary Day from iTunes.

My daughter is a forensic nurse (don’t know what that is) and my son is a voice-over for TV adverts and also the drummer for the New York band, Sky-Pony.

In my ad life I named Purina O.N.E. (Optimum Nutritional Effectiveness) dog food. Do you have that in the U.K.?

I attended Harvard Law School for three grueling days. I know the law through Wednesday, but after that...