I got an email last night from Nick Royle after I sent him a PDF of Mandy, Charlie & Mary-Jane. Until then I hadn’t realised he had a new novel out last week. He also kindly attached at scan of the first page. It contained a description of his narrator sitting in an office at a university and had striking similarities to my opening page. We soon discovered that we’d even written these opening passages at roughly the same time. But there the really close similarities between Mandy, Charlie & Mary-Jane and Royle’s First Novel (actually his seventh) would seem to end. Both are campus novels but whereas Royle’s narrator goes out dogging to research a new book, mine is a psychopathic nutter who needs to excuse for his murderous sexual excesses. Likewise my narrator Charlie Templeton isn’t interested in dogging because he likes the women he fucks to be unconscious…. and the sickness of his sexual kick requires it is indulged in private! That said we both wrote our books when we were teaching creative writing (I was writer-in-residence at York University but set my novel in Newcastle and London rather than where it was typed out), Royle has a faculty post in Manchester and his novel is set there… So I guess we’re both reflecting the perils and tedium of academic life when we kick off….
Royle’s narrator needs to travel by car to engage in dogging (public sex in lay-bys and car parks), mine often travels on public transport….