This week writer and journalist PJ Whiteley gives us his three books…
I don’t care about your book! Instead tell me about three books which influenced your book…
Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
The tale of how an almost involuntary obsession on the part of the main character with the fate of the football team he follows, to the extent of affecting his love life, gave me the confidence to think about penning a relationship-based drama from a male perspective. I was working on a news desk at the time it was published, and it’s been the only time I’ve noticed a book be the subject of chats at the water cooler by men.
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
This is known for its comic quality, but there is something poignant about Bridget’s reflections on fate, and the fear of dying alone. Fielding brings a character to life more vividly than many supposedly literary authors, and touches greater depths of philosophical reflection, too.
Kiss of the Spiderwoman by Manuel Puig
This is one of my all-time favourite novels, written almost entirely in dialogue form. It is utterly astounding. Two men are sharing a prison cell, one a gay man arrested for corruption of a minor, the other is a revolutionary socialist, and a political prisoner. They are two individuals with ostensibly little in common but who form a bond. I generally include at least one chapter in pure dialogue form in my novels, as homage to this brilliant work.
Oh, ok – tell me about your book then…
The Rooms We Never Enter by PJ Whiteley
The Rooms We Never Enter is a romantic comedy in which a successful entrepreneur meets a single mum on a low income, on his way to a football match. She has a vivid imagination, to the extent of inventing love rivals; he is lonely and much more sensitive than he appears. They don’t seem to have much in common, they shouldn’t form a bond, they shouldn’t fall in love with each other, but they do.