Luxe people >>
I have lots of daughters. Sometimes my house feels a bit like the set of King Lear. Thankfully, my partner, the artist Nicola Jayne, is very good at all the motherhood stuff so I get to be the rather feckless chap with good intentions who gives them inappropriate treats and lets them watch horror movies. They find it rather odd that people want me to sign books or talk at festivals, as they can’t imagine anybody paying to listen to me. My baby daughter, Artemisia, has no idea what’s in store.
Luxe places >>
For a weekend > Edinburgh. Best city in the world. Beautiful, gothic, full of secrets, and suffused with the feeling that you could fall into a catacomb at any moment.
A long holiday > Probably a log cabin by a lake, somewhere in a wood. Creaky rocking chair, maybe a rowing boat, slouchy cardigans and the kids running wild.
A treat > There’s a train that runs from one end of Australia to the other – all very luxurious and with an echo of Agatha Christie. I’d love to do that some day, although I’d be secretly hoping for the chance to solve a murder or fight off cowboys.
Luxe relax >>
Best food > Meat. I’m a pure carnivore. I walk past fields full of cattle and sheep and wish I had a knife and fork and a camping stove.
Best wine > Sicilian red. Definitely. But to be honest, I’ve mistreated my mouth over the years and my tongue has all the sensation of a day-old omelette, which means it all tastes much the same to me.
Favourite restaurant > I’m very lucky in that I have dined well, in lots of fabulous places. I’d hate me, if I were you. But there’s a little place on the island of Torcello near Venice where Hemingway used to stay, and everybody should visit it once in their lifetime. Culinary perfection.
Perfect weekend > If the kids aren’t arguing and my partner and I get some actual time to be together, that’ll do. But given there is no likelihood of that, I’d say all of us together exploring an old castle or a wood or climbing a mountain.
Downtime means > Talking in whispers so we don’t wake the baby, squinting at the telly through tired eyes trying to watch some documentary or crime drama with the volume down low.
Best telly > American box-sets, Netflix, crime dramas. I like good investigative journalism. At present, I mostly watch Lambuntina with my littlest girl. It’s for under 5s, but I’ve woven in a dark subplot for myself.
Best book > Too hard to find just one. Anything by Pat Barker or Hilary Mantel.
Best sounds > Music peaked in about 1996. Best band in the world is U2, but after that, anything dark and soulful and written on a guitar. I like classical, but it so often sounds like the soundtrack to a serial killer movie, so I leave it off when I’m writing.
Luxe shop >>
Best shopping city > Brisbane, Australia. Wonderful markets, all based at this beautiful riverside setting with an inner-city beach. London’s rather good too.
Favourite shop > Any charity shop. I love a bargain, or a garment with a story.
Luxe retail treat > Coats. Apparently I have an obsession.
Best buy > My sheepskin, market-trader overcoat with a fur collar. Found it an antique market in Lincolnshire and I always feel like I’m in Snatch or Lock, Stock when I’m wearing it.
Luxe party >>
A memorable night out > New Year’s Eve in Reykjavik, Iceland. Much of it is a blur, but there was a battle with fireworks, I paid about thirty quid for a cocktail with spinach in it, and I dropped somebody’s pug. My partner says I had an excellent time.
Perfect party > No guests. I’m not as sociable as I used to be. I’m happiest with just me and the girls, really. And even then, they’re at their best when asleep.
Best outfit > I’m all about collarless or floral shirts, waistcoat, boots, braces and flat-cap. I was doing all this long before Peaky Blinders came along.
Dinner date > I took Nicola to a Michelin-starred place in Lincolnshire for a recent birthday. The food was majestic but it was more about the company.
Your luxe thing in life >>
Everything! I don’t believe in restraint. I’m living my dream: I’m a novelist, with a wonderful family in a gorgeous part of the world, so I just live with an air of gratitude and glee. The world is going mad anyway, so my advice is to eat what you like, drink what you like and buy what you like. Including my new book.