Tanya Byrne is Clarice Starling

The Silence of the Lambs

Tanya Byrne, who has been short-listed for the New Writer of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards was born in East London, in the hospital where her mum and dad met. She went to an all-girls school, studied law, and then ended up working in events for Radio 4. Her dark and daring debut novel, Heart Shaped Bruise (Headline) tells the story, in diary form, of Emily Koll, who is in a young offenders institute, awaiting trial for a violent, revengeful crime. Her filmic alter ego is Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs. EITHNE FARRY

If you’ve read my book, then you won’t be surprised by the character I’ve chosen. It was actually much harder than I thought because liking characters like Tyler Durden and Napoleon Dynamite is a very different thing from wanting to be them. OK. Being Superman would be amazing. Who doesn’t want to fly, right? But I’m a horrible liar so I couldn’t do the double life thing. Plus, I’m addicted to Twitter, so I’d probably get drunk and tweet ‘LEX LUTHOR, COME AT ME, BRO’ one night and the jig would be up. And being Ferris Bueller would be awesome, but only if I could be him on that day. Having to grow up again would suck. I didn’t want to do it the first time. Then there’s Randal Graves and Keyser Söze and The Dude and Jack Torrance and yeah, you get my point.

Plus, I wanted to pick a woman, but again, Clementine Kruczynski, The Bride, Holly Golightly, Ripley, all fantastic characters, but I wouldn’t want to be any of them. Being stranded in space being chased by aliens like Ripley? No thanks.

So I opted for Clarice Starling. That will probably horrify most people (when I asked Twitter, responses ranged from Gandalf to Cher Horowitz). Most people are captivated by Hannibal Lecter (as am I, of course), but it’s Clarice’s relationship with him that intrigues me. So if I had to be anyone else, I would be her. She’s bright and brave and while she’s out of her depth at times, she overcomes her fears in the end, which is all any of us are trying to do. Besides, if I couldn’t write about bad guys anymore, chasing them wouldn’t be so bad.

Tanya Byrne