Short, Sharp Interview: Richard Godwin

RGPDB: Could you tell us something about One Lost Summer?

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.

PDB: Do you think One Lost Summer is specifically a ‘London’ novel, or could it be set in any city?

I think the events it describes could take place in any city or suburbia, since the themes that are central to the novel, identity, the nature of reality, the extent to which we can know anyone, obsession, voyeurism, and loss, are universal themes. I think One Lost Summer is a London novel because I have set it within the lifestyles of an affluent set of people living in Greater London.

PDB: One of the themes of the novel is people seeing what they think they see rather than what they actually see. Do you think self-deception is a common human trait?

I do. I believe it is extremely hard for people to see themselves. One of the things I look at closely is how much we know anyone. TS Eliot wrote ‘humankind cannot bear very much reality’.

PDB: Voyeurism also features strongly in the book. Are all writers voyeurs?1 lost summer

I don’t think writing about a subject makes you akin to it. Writers watch and observe, voyeurism is a pathology that is linked to a compulsion to spy on others.

PDB: There are quite a few broken and dysfunctional rich people in One Lost Summer. Do you think the rich are condemned to be damaged?

I think damage exists at all levels of life. I think wealth can make people targets, I also think damage among the wealthy may have a dramatic element because they grant themselves licences other people may not.

PDB: What’s up next?

I’m off to the States for a book tour for One Lost Summer. Alexandra, the largest publisher in Hungary will, after some delay, be publishing Apostle Rising, my first novel, in Hungarian this December. I have signed a foreign rights contract with Artizan Press in Slovenia for Apostle Rising to be translated into Slovenian. I am writing the sequel.

I have just finished writing a Noir novel for Italian publisher, Atlantis. It will be published at the beginning of next year in both English and Italian. It is about a nomadic Gigolo called Paris Tongue who is the bastard child of a murderer and who gets on the wrong side of the Mafia when he sleeps with a Mafia boss’s wife. He is then hunted across Europe by hit men as he seduces his way from country to country, learning some strange facts along the way.

Paris Tongue is already featured in two novellas I have written for the publisher under their imprint Lite Editions, and The Secret Hour, in which he is introduced and The Edge Of Desire, the sequel, are available as E Books.

Bio: Richard Godwin is the critically acclaimed author of novels Apostle Rising,Mr.Glamour and One Lost Summer. He is a crime and horror writer as well as a produced playwright. He was born in London and obtained a BA and MA in English and American Literature from King’s College London. His stories have been published in many magazines and anthologies. He has 29 distinct works in print.

His Chin Wags At The Slaughterhouse are highly popular and unusual interviews he conducts with other authors and may be found at his blog