How Nick Hornby Influenced My Novel

It goes without saying that if weren’t for Nick Hornby I wouldn’t have written my novel Not Famous. Nick Hornby is credited with starting the lad lit genre, and that’s the genre of my novel. Still, writing any sort of fiction, period, may not have been in the cards for me had it not been for his novel High Fidelity. Naturally, the main character of my book, Nick Forrester, is named after Hornby.

I’m by no means a music obsessive the way Nick Hornby or his character Rob Fleming are, but somehow my first novel ended up being about music anyway. In many ways, my novel’s main character, Nick Forrester, is the opposite of Rob Fleming.  Rob is a music collector, while Nick’s music collection sits in a couple boxes in his former bedroom at his mother’s house. He can’t even be bothered to bring it all back to his apartment after a crashed hard drive wipes out the majority of his digitized music library. But, both become infatuated with practicing musicians. Rob has a one-night-stand with Marie LaSalle in the wake of his break-up with his girlfriend. Nick gets into a serious relationship with Alli Conwell a few months after breaking up with his.

Another way I was influenced by High Fidelity specifically in the writing of Not Famous was the  use of first person present tense. Most books I read are probably first person past tense, or third person past tense. There are strong feelings about what person and tense is the best. Some people hate first person. I’ve never had a problem with it. Quite frankly, I’ve never had a problem with third person either. But, quite a few lad lit writers use the first person present tense almost as though it’s a signature of lad lit, so I decided it go with that. One reason I like it is first person past tense presents the narrating character from a stand point of knowing what’s going to happen. They are re-telling the story, not experiencing it. I think what I like about the first person present tense is that you, as the reader, are fully immersed in the narrating character’s perception of events as they happen. It’s not an easy way to write, and there are times I cheat a little, (but, then again, so did Nick Hornby in High Fidelity) but only when I felt it worked at that moment.

My love of Hornby’s books, and the subsequent yearn for more lad lit books led me to discover other authors like Jonathan Tropper, Mike Gayle, Matt Dunn, Matthew Norman, Jon Rance, and Andy Jones. These guys wrote books I liked to read and thus, books like what I eventually wanted to write on my own. All of these authors, in their own way, helped convince me over a period of many years that not only did I have my own story to tell, but that if I wanted to tell it that I had to start writing it.

It only took me seven years to complete the damn thing. But, it’s gone through several edits, and is being proofread for the last time now. In November I’ll be sending out eARCs to reviewers (still looking for more if you’re interested) and I’ve set publication day as January 15, 2019.

It’s happening. Finally.

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