|photo: Jim Poyner Photography
Andrew Lovett lives near York, England, with his family. His day jobs have included filing, data-inputting, retailing, quantity surveying, teaching, company directoring and a host of jobs in between that fall under the general umbrella of menial. Everlasting Lane (Melville House, January 13, 2015), his first novel, is based, in part, on his own childhood.
On your nightstand now:
This Isn't the Sort of Thing that Happens to Someone Like You, a short story collection by Jon McGregor; The Establishment: And How They Get Away with It by Owen Jones, a coruscating assessment of how the U.K. works (or, rather, doesn't); and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and all four sequels by Douglas Adams whilst I search for my "favorite lines" (see below). There are usually a half-dozen more but my wife had me tidy up at the weekend (so they're in a drawer).
Favorite book when you were a child:
As a boy, I avidly read the Adventure books by Willard Price and the English translations of the Asterix stories (I suppose you'd call them graphic novels nowadays) by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. I couldn't bear to return to them now--even for old time's sake--for fear they wouldn't live up to my fond memories of them.
Your top five authors:
This is hard. I don't love--in fact, I've not read--everything by that many people, the exceptions being J.D. Salinger and Aimee Bender. Three other writers I'd mention, though, would be Walter Tevis, Christopher Isherwood and Arundhati Roy.
Book you've faked reading:
I was about to claim that I would never sink so low but then came to mind a meeting with a new author at their launch party some years ago. My congratulations to the writer, still an acquaintance, were so excessively enthusiastic he can only have assumed I'd read my advance copy from cover to cover whereas, in fact, I'd only managed the first chapter (and loathed every page of it). I hate myself, of course, but, to avoid offence, I must steadfastly decline to provide the name of either the book or the author.
Book you're an evangelist for:
For 14- and 15-year-old boys, I prescribe a heavy dose of Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. For everyone else, if you haven't already read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender, I want to know why.
Book you've bought for the cover:
I honestly can't think that I've ever done this--you can't judge a book by it, you know.
Books that changed your life:
A flurry of books I studied at the age of 14, or maybe it was Miss Taylor who taught me English, opened my eyes to the glory of books and sowed the seed that made me want to be a writer. In no particular order they include Dubliners by James Joyce, A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh, Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain and Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood.
Favorite line from a book:
Oh, no, I'm a complete duffer at this sort of thing. I tend to lean toward scenes, I suppose--not that I could remember them verbatim--and have an atrocious memory for direct quotes and, so it turns out, no ability to successfully trace and, therefore, accurately record the ones that do come to mind (see Douglas Adams, above).
Two exceptions, though, are Salinger ("I have scars on my hands from touching certain people," from Seymour: An Introduction) and Shakespeare ("Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound./ Upon a wheel of fire" from King Lear). I mean, we've all had days like those, haven't we?
Oh, and "The End" from anything by J.K. Rowling. (Seriously though, she seems to be a lovely person.)
Which character you most relate to:
I've slightly outgrown Holden Caulfield, thank the Lord, so now it's Nick Hornby's everyman character who narrates pretty much everything he's written to date (Holden approaching middle age, perhaps?) who always feels horribly familiar.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
I aspire to read Ulysses for the first time at least once.
What becomes of the broken-hearted?
We write novels.