Friday, 15 October 2010

It's Just the Beating of my Heart by Richard Aronowitz - author interview

‘I wanted my second novel to be a love-letter, a paean, to Gloucestershire and to the English countryside’.

Many writers have declared that creativity cannot be rushed. Producing a work of creative genius is a process that cannot be hurried along by impatience, instead one must wait for the answers and inspiration to drift into one’s mind then patiently refine such ideas into a masterpiece. For Richard Aronowitz such a suggestion is certainly true as he spent over four years completing his latest novel ‘It’s Just the Beating of my Heart’.
Following a childhood in which Aronowitz fell in love with the rural idyll of the Gloucestershire countryside, he wanted his second novel to be ‘a love-letter, a paean, to Gloucestershire and to the English countryside’. In fact, so vital is the Gloucestershire landscape to the book, it is almost a character in itself. Aronowitz insists that ‘apart from those closest to me, nature and the English countryside are what I love most’.

But far from creating a romantic homage to all that is natural, Aronowitz realised that the only way to truly capture the essence of the English countryside in his work would be ‘through the eyes of a lonely and isolated man who drew solace from the landscape’. This lonely and isolated man comes in the form of John Stack, an alcoholic in denial, struggling to cope with his wife leaving him and only seeing his daughter on alternate weekends. Aronowitz succeeds in using nature to provide ‘a kind of solace and spiritual resource to John Stack’, much as it had in Aronowitz’s own life. Although Aronowitz never wallows in self pity, clearly stating that he ‘like almost every other adult’ has experienced loss, his mother died when he was twenty-one so he drew from the emotions of this and ‘the pain of past relationship break-ups, to conjure some of the numbness and detachment that John displays’.

For John Stack every aspect of his life has been lived, appreciated, remembered and endured alongside the Gloucestershire countryside. His daughter’s favourite walk is re-trodden every weekend leading ‘deeper and deeper into a no-man’s lands of pasture and rough ground’. He prefers to navigate ‘through the maze of high-hedged lanes, Cotswold dry-stone-walled roads and blind turns’ of country lanes than the quicker and more direct route of the main road. The scattered villages of Gloucestershire, which John chooses to walk between have ‘a feeling of otherworldly remoteness, of isolation’ that reflect his own inner turmoil.
Like a country walk that you love revisiting, that you need to finish as soon as possible because the best bit is just before you reach home, It’s Just the Beating of My Heart is an emotional meander through the countryside where the last chapter forces you to retrace your steps and take the walk all over again.
It’s Just the Beating of my Heart by Richard Aronowitz, published by Flambard Press, is available now.

I interviewed Richard Aronowitz a few months ago, and as the magazine it was initially written for as since ceased trading, I thought I'd share it with you. Aronowitz is a lovely man, and a talented author, if you haven't read any of his books yet I suggest you put buying one to the top of your to do list. If you have read this book and like it, Aronowitz is currently up for the People's Book Prize, follow the link to vote.

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