OutUK: How much of the character of Honza is based on
you...and did you know an Andy?
Drew: Iíve been surprised to read in reviews that my book is
obviously autobiographical! Nothing that happens in it has really happened. But saying
that, a lot of Honzaís memories are my own - his time in America, working in
Japan, sharing a room in Prague with four straight guys. So I guess if we
have the same memories we are alike after all. Oh dear. And no, Andy is a
work of fiction.
OutUK: How difficult was it to write...isn't this your first
Drew: It wasnít difficult to write although it took a lot of
time and effort. Also lots of cups of tea and long walks. And pencils.
Actually it is the second book Iíve written although the first one to be
published. The first one was a learning experience, great fun to do but best left
under my bed gathering dust.
OutUK: I thought it was interesting to see the differences
explored between straight and gay men when they're thrown
together under the same roof...what interested you about this?
Drew: I think itís something all gay men are interested in.
Are we the same as straight men or different? In my experience I think
weíre a lot more alike than certain cultural stereotypes will let us believe.
Thatís something Honza learns - heís as guilty of stereotyping other
people as other people are of him.
OutUK: The relationship between Andy and Honza's young nephew is
well drawn...is it based on your own experience?
Drew: Yeah, absolutely. I spent a lot of time looking after
my ex-boyfriendís nephew. Nicholas is based on him - his love of the
Power Rangers, Disney movies, cheeky smile etc. Just before I started
writing The Lodger there was a headline on the front page of The Telegraph outraged
at the fact gay men might be able to adopt children. This I found
offensive because it seemed to suggest that I wouldnĎt be a suitable role model. The
Lodger is a comedy but hopefully it makes a serious point that not all
families have to live up to the nuclear ideal of mum, dad and 2.5 children.
OutUK: Reviewers have been very complimentary about this book
and noted your accurate portrayal of the gay scene today...what do you think are the best and worst aspects of
gay life in the UK at the moment?
Drew: Yes the reviews Iíve seen have been lovely. Thanks
everyone. The best aspect has to be that itís there! And I mean that seriously.
Iím 31 and even since I was young(er) gays in the media etc have become much
more visible and gayness much less of an issue. What I donít like about
it are pretty much standard boring things - it's too commercial, too
body conscious, too much focused on sex. However, weíre pretty lucky in
this country - as Sandra Bernhardt said on Graham Norton's show once, ďYouíre an
openly gay man on TV and nobody gives a fuck.Ē Or something like that.
OutUK: What's your own background...are you a full-time writer?
Drew: I wish. That would be my dream, to be able to spend my
time writing. I have a job just like everyone else. I work in a call
centre. God, has that spoilt any writerly mystic I might have had! Buy my book and
OutUK: What are you planning next?
Drew: Well, Iíve already completed another book. Itís about
a gay darts team. Now Iím working on a book set in Sydney. Itís about the
world of the illegal immigrants. My ex-boyfriend is one. Oh and thereís a
murder in this one too. I just couldnít resist.