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Denise Mina, Soul searching

When I was seven...

I was living in Paris in a very beautiful house across the wall from the chateau where the Vietnam peace talks were taking place. The lady who owned the house lived downstairs, and the rumour in the village was that she had collaborated during the war because she had beautiful Louis X furniture. And I got bitten by a dog.

The first time my heart was broken ...

I was 17, lived in London and his name was David. We just couldn't get on, but I felt dizzy with excitement every time I saw him.

The wisest thing my grandmother told me ...

Never get drunk in a kaftan that is too long for you. She didn't talk very much. She had a habit of visiting people and refusing to leave. Three months was the longest visit, but it was to Bergen and Norway is lovely. She told me once that she stayed so long with her cousins in San Francisco that they went on holiday and their son locked her on the veranda.

The biggest adversity I have overcome ...

A morbid fear of manageresses. I got the sack a lot and learned to become invisible when nuns or manageresses came into a room.

My motto for life ...

Chance your arm. You might make a fool of yourself but you've done that before and you didn't die.

My soul mate is ...

My partner, Steve. We've been together 17 years and are at that stage when other couples are splitting up and meeting new partners, sometimes much younger. They're having to watch The Wire all over again and explain that no, Green Day didn't write Teenage Kicks. Awful.

Not many people know that ...

The lid is held onto jars by the operation of a vacuum, not because it's screwed on tightly. Put a knife under the lid and lift.

The most inspiring book I've read was ...

To Kill a Mockingbird. I'm married to an Atticus.

If ever I feel lonely I ...

Know I'm on tour. I love my own company, really don't get lonely but sometimes when I'm on tour I get a strange melancholy feeling and realise that it probably is loneliness.

What I look for in a friend is ...

A sense of humour. I can forgive anything for the sake of a laugh. I also like calm people. Needlessly moody or weepy people make me very uncomfortable. I freeze up because I'm thinking: "How can I get away from you?/Shut up." I've learned from experience that actually saying those things out loud makes you look like a heartless cow.

I believe the secret to a strong relationship is ...

Being nicer than you necessarily feel like being, doing fun stuff together and getting enough sleep. We used to fight a lot and then we got a bigger bed. It's not always about feelings, sometimes it's just about a bigger bed.

Something I wish I'd done earlier ...

I wish I'd been more open-minded about music. Been open-minded generally, actually. The older I get, the more I realise how little I know about anything. But when I was 20 I was absolutely certain about everything. Now I'm full of the wonders.

My childhood hero was ...

Rocky Balboa. I used to drink raw eggs for breakfast and spend the rest of the day sitting about, drinking Creamola foam and eating macaroons. I saw Rocky in France and the audience were on their feet cheering during the fight scene.

The place I most like to call home ...

Glasgow. I love this filthy city.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Vol 1, a DC Comics graphic novel adapted by Denise Mina, with art by Leo Manco and Andrea Mutti and cover by Lee Bermejo, is out now, priced £14.99.

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