The Three Rs: Andrew Lovett

November 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

Andrew Lovett was born in Surrey and grew up in Hertfordshire. Career-wise, he has done filing, data-inputting, retailing, quantity surveying, teaching, company directoring and a host of jobs in between which fall under the general umbrella of menial. Everlasting Lane, his debut novel, was published by Galley Beggar Press in October, 2013.

When did you first know you wanted to write books?

My older – by nine years – brother used to recommend things for me to read and, by the age of about fourteen, I had fallen in love not only with books but also with the idea of being a writer. It seemed such a noble endeavour and I was as enthralled as much by the lives of Salinger, Camus, Isherwood, Steinbeck, Joyce and others as I was by their work. I thought writers and writing were every bit as cool as pop stars and footballers.

How does writing fit into your typical day?

Half the week I do my day job and no writing – at least not fiction. The other half I have a small private office a couple of miles from home where I sit (pretty much nine to five) and stare at a blank screen on the lap-top, occasionally tapping a key to relieve the monotony. In the early stages of writing Everlasting Lane, however, there were a lot of early mornings and late nights fortified by coffee, and biscuits with an orange-chocolate topping. I miss the biscuits.

Do you type or write by hand?

Mostly typing. I seem to think at the same speed as I type (which is not to say fast) so it suits me better than by hand. The downside is that I tend to type the same paragraph twenty times with minor variations which I then have to meld into one.

I do, however, always carry a notebook (although my wife says it ruins the line of my jeans) and pencil. They’re mostly deployed in the middle of the night when the lights are out and tend to render my blind scrawlings impervious to interpretation once the sun comes up. I’ve lost all my best work this way.

What have you read recently that you loved?

I don’t often read something that I think is really great so I’m always open to recommendations. Aimee Bender, who wrote The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and others, is, I think, a wonderful writer with a lightness of touch and a turn of phrase which makes me want to be better. On a recent holiday, I came across a worn, dog-eared copy of Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things which is also beautifully written.

What are your all-time favourites?

I’ve mentioned some of my favourite writers in answering question 1. Others would include Harper Lee, Graham Greene, William Trevor, Anton Chekov, Lewis Carroll, George Orwell, Magnus Mills and, I dare say, a couple of dozen more who are refusing to come to mind right now. No one, I’m ashamed to say, particularly exotic. Non-fiction includes Chavs by Owen Jones and The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein – very uncomfortable reading but compelling nonetheless.

You can either write or read for the rest of your life – but not both. Which do you choose?

Too easy. I read for pleasure so I would choose that eight days a week. I don’t know why I write but pleasure rarely comes into it.

What’s your third R, and why?

Rrrrrock ‘n’ roll (that is to say popular music) from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. To live without my music, as the song goes, would be impossible to do…

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