Friday, June 14, 2013

One Lost Summer; the newest from Richard Godwin

A good friend of ours, Richard Godwin, has a new book out called One Last Summer.

An absolutely brilliant writer, Richard's been main lined here in this blog before.  Erudite, cosmopolitan, his writing is particularly insightful.  His newest is no less fascinating. 

Obviously the thought of interviewing Richard about the new book crossed my mind.  It's always good to hear the machinations and construction of the novel from the author himself.  Fortunately Richard was more than happy to comply.

So without further ado, here's our conversation over his newest book.


1.  Richard, you have a new book coming out.  Tell us a little about it.

One Lost Summer is very much a summer novel, it is also in many ways a Noir novel.  Rex Allen loves star quality in women. He moves into a new house in a heat wave with few possessions apart from two photographs of his dead daughter. His next door neighbour, beautiful Evangeline Glass invites him over to one of her many summer parties, where he meets her friends and possessive husband Harry. Rex feels he knows Evangeline intimately. He starts to spy on her and becomes convinced she is someone other than who she pretends to be. When he discovers she has a lover, he blackmails her into playing a game of identity that ends in disaster.
One Lost Summer is a novel about obsession, love, memory and identity, and much more. It explores the things that make us feel we have an identity and what happens when those things are removed from us, as well as the extent to which we can know anyone, even ourselves. It also about how much we understand the irrational impulses that drive us.
Rex Allen, the protagonist, might say it is about what happens when you forget. Evangeline, his beautiful next door neighbour, might say it is about being trapped and the things you do to escape. Coral, the character around whom much of the drama revolves, might say it is about reality and how easy it is to manipulate it. Harry, Evangeline’s husband, might say it is about lies and liars.

2.  Give us the provenance for it.  What and when did that germ of an idea for the new book pop into your head?

 I was thinking about the things that make up identity and decided to explore them. I was also thinking about the double lives some people lead.

3.  Is this new book in any way different in style when compared to your other works?  Is this one another deep psychological thriller?  Or might we expect a grand adventure?

This one is different. My first novel ApostleRising was a violent police procedural, and at the
same time an investigation into the effects of evil on a police officer. Mr. Glamour also had a high body count but was in many ways a satire on a set of people obsessed with designer goods. One Lost Summer is not violent. I would call it  a Noir novel that is also a work of psychological suspense. It is not a grand adventure, it is more a suspenseful dig into what makes us assume an identity, it is also about nostalgia and how misleading it is. It is about loss and perception.

4.  The more books a writer releases into the reading public, does it help establish the brand name of a writer?  The more the better?  Or should a writer worry more about the quality of their product rather than the volume of  production?

I think quality should always take precedence over quantity. And in many ways that typifies the problem with publishing, an industry that uses a quantitative analysis of something, writing, that is purely qualitative.

5.  Returning back to the new one, tell us about the main character.  Someone we already know?  And their flaws . . . every great character has a certain set of flaws.  Are there any in this one we should look for?

Everyone is flawed.  As Rex Allen digs into the life of his beautiful next door neighbour he himself becomes unmasked and unhinged. He is in the grips of an irrational impulse that has a precise geography in his life, but he has lost the map.
Evangeline herself, beautiful dishonest, Evangeline, who is trapped by Rex and traps him in turn does not understand the forces at work that reveal her flaw. It may be that Coral, the character Rex asks Evangeline to act out in their secret meetings is Evangeline’s alter ego and the ultimate crack in her facade that was crumbling when Rex first arrived in
Broadlands Avenue in the middle of a heat wave that changed everything. Harry, Evangeline's possessive husband has a dubious past and is flawed in his need to own people.

 6.  Of course we're interested in the villain!  Or villains. What can you reveal to us that will only entice us even more to hurry and acquire the new one?

One Lost Summer is about the lies people tell themselves to carry on living. Rex is an unlikely villain, a sophisticated man with expensive tastes in search of reality. The novel explores the moral parameters we operate inside in order to define ourselves. The events of One Lost Summer seem initially to exist in the mind of Rex Allen until you realise otherwise. Then there is an extremely dramatic revelation. It is also a real summer read. 

 7.  And finally, with a new one almost here, have you started working on the next book?  Care to tell us anything about it?

I have. I am under contract with Black Jackal Books for my next crime novel for 2014. I have also signed a contract with Italian publisher Atlantis, to write a mini-series and a novel for Christmas. It takes place in various European cities, with an emphasis on the crime of each city and with a Noir feel. Both the series and novel will be published in English and Italian.    
Here's where you can find Richard on the net.  You'll find his Chin Wag at the Slaughterhouse filled with information about Richard, and Richard's many interviews with fellow writers.  Get to know this guy.  You'll discover a first-rate writer and one astute intellect.

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