First writes: debut author Sarah Butler discusses Ten Things I've Learnt About Love
The novel tells the story of Alice and Daniel, two people on different searches for meaning
Can you give us five words to describe Ten Things I've Learnt About Love?
Home, heartbreak, London, longing, love.
Name one author who should be more famous than they are now?
Maggie Gee, particularly for her novel The White Family, a brilliant, challenging, important book about prejudice and intolerance.
What was the first book you read?
Apparently I could read before I could speak properly (which says a lot about my speaking!). The first book I can remember reading is Mrs Pepperpot, about a woman who kept shrinking to the size of a pepperpot and getting embroiled in various adventures.
What was the last book you read?
Wish I Was Here by Jackie Kay. I love her quirky, subtle stories, and particularly adored the last one in this collection, which left me with my heart in my mouth.
Which book makes you cry?
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson. It is such a brave and passionate book. I was moved to tears more than once, not just because of the events she describes, but also the courage and compassion she shows towards herself and others.
Which book makes you laugh?
I’m a real sucker for melancholy, dark novels, to be honest. I do have a soft spot for PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster books, though. Whenever I was ill as a child my brother would go to the local library and get me a Jeeves and Wooster on audio cassette. They never failed to cheer me up.
Which dead author do you wish was still alive today?
I love the wit, irreverence and satire of The Canterbury Tales, and would love to see what Chaucer would make of the world in 2013.
What one thing would you change about the publishing world?
I would like the publishing world to have more of an awareness and understanding of the fabulous work that goes on across the country supporting and developing aspiring writers. More collaboration and communication between these two worlds would be great to see.
What plans do you have for book two?
For it to be brave and beautiful and the best that I can write. It is currently a lot of sketchy ideas and scribbled notes, but I’m excited about it.
Ten Things I've Learnt About Love is published by Picador on Thu 31 Jan.