By David Canfield
July 16, 2019 at 01:00 PM EDT
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Marco Grob; HarperCollins

Few authors come as reliable as Daniel Silva nowadays. The thriller and spy writer, perhaps best known for his ongoing Gabriel Allon series, has published over 20 best-selling novels across a 20-plus year career, and in that time, has emerged as one of the country’s best-selling powerhouses. Ten of his last 11 novels, including his last seven, have topped the New York Times list and spent multiple weeks in its top ranks.

Now he’s returning with The New Girl, which begins at an exclusive private school in Switzerland and gradually unfolds a story of political deceptions, alliances, and rivalries sure to please Silva’s loyal readers. Ahead of the book’s release, EW caught up with the author to discuss the pop culture that has shaped him as an author. The New Girl is now available for purchase.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your favorite book as a child?
DANIEL SILVA: My absolute favorite books as a child were Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey and Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. My signed copy of Wild Things is one of my most treasured possessions.

The book that cemented you as a writer?
Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. I have borrowed its format — a fictional story set within real-world events — for most of my novels.

A book, movie, or TV show you’ve read or watched over and over again?
I frequently reread The Quiet American, The Sheltering Sky, and 1984, and when I’m on deadline I love to rewatch two of my favorite films about struggling writers, Author! Author! and Wonder Boys.

A classic that you’re embarrassed to say you’ve never read?
I have never read Ulysses. There! I said it.

An illicit book you had to read in secret as a kid?
I stole my mother’s copy of The Other Side of Midnight. Not exactly illicit but great fun. I count Sidney Sheldon as one of my biggest influences.

A book you consider to be grossly overrated?
I never have a bad word to say about fellow writers, even those who are no longer with us.

The last book that made you laugh out loud?
The gorgeous Nabokovian prose of John Banville never fails to make me smile, often in wonder.

The last book that made you cry?
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks.

The actor you’d want to play you in a movie?
Will Ferrell.

Your last TV binge?
Chernobyl. Extraordinary.

Your all-time favorite movie?
Chariots of Fire.

The first album you bought with your own money?
Every Picture Tells a Story. I still cannot help but sing along to Maggie May, much to the embarrassment of my wife and children.

Your literary hero?
George Orwell.

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