Author Ryan Love, who is originally from Enniskillen but is now living in Buckinghamshire, released his debut novel 'Arthur and Teddy Are Coming Out' earlier this year.

Here he shares his passion for reading and how the power of books captivated him from a young age, inspiring him to begin his own journey into the literary world as a writer.

Tell us about your new book and how it is doing.

'Arthur and Teddy Are Coming Out' is a dual perspective story following 79-year-old Arthur and his 21-year-old grandson Teddy. The book begins with Arthur gathering his family to share a secret he has kept for a lifetime; he's gay. While Arthur's life becomes town gossip, Teddy has no idea how he can possibly come out himself now.

I've been blown away for the love shown to Arthur and Teddy. Seeing something you've written go off out into the world is really overwhelming, but getting messages from people who have read it has been one of the most magical experiences. Knowing someone in Australia can walk into a book shop and pick up your book then find you on social media to share how much it meant to them never gets old.

At the time of writing, I wanted to create something that made me happy. It wasn't meant to be a perfect, rose-tinted world, but it was a place I - and hopefully readers - could escape to and enjoy spending time with characters who make you feel warm inside.

Being reviewed was something I had to really prepare myself for. A lot of people say not to read or to focus on them, but of course, that's easier said than done - especially on your debut. Several particular pinch-me moments were being reviewed in The Sunday Times, featured on Ireland AM's book club and my first live TV interview on Virgin Media One's The Six O'Clock Show.

Pride month in June was also incredibly special; it was such an honour and thrill seeing my book chosen by book clubs, featured in LGBTQ+ displays and spoken about in such a loving way. Being an author was a lifelong dream, so to find myself in a position where I can go into the biggest bookshop in Europe and sign copies of my own book still feels completely surreal. Arthur and Teddy can live on now for as long as people continue enjoying their story. I get to keep experiencing so many firsts along the way and enjoying this incredible journey - I've got paperback publication in the UK and Ireland coming in January followed by North American in April.

What sparked your passion for books and literature? Was there a particular book or experience that ignited your interest in reading?

Reading was always my escape. I'm fortunate that from a very young age my parents surrounded me with books and stories that allowed me to escape to different worlds. Roald Dahl's 'Matilda' was a very early favourite. It sparked a love of the library, whether it was the main one in town or the school library, Matilda could escape to this place filled with books. I was so proud of my library card when I got it. Childhood favourites like 'Charlotte’s Web' and 'The Wind In The Willows' remain extremely special to me today. They really showed me the power of storytelling and just how impactful characters could be on children and adults. The 'Harry Potter' series was when I really thought this was something I wanted to be part of. That was when I was really captivated by the power of books and publishing and what could be achieved on a global basis.

When you open a new book, what feelings or emotions do you experience as you turn the pages and delve into the story?

That feeling of diving into a brand new book never gets old, whether it’s one you’ve been waiting for or one you know absolutely nothing about. You’re embarking on a story, the journey the writer is going to take you on from that very first word. I definitely have a renewed sense of appreciation for discovering the characters that have been created and the world which has been built for readers to get to know. Being able to switch off from real life for a little while and go on that journey with those characters is very special. Hearing from readers who have that sense of excitement from page one is one of the loveliest honours.

Are there any specific genres or types of books that resonate with you the most? Why do you think they hold a special place in your heart?

I will pick up a book of any genre, but I will always find it very hard to resist a big, classic family saga. Coming from a large family myself, I’m always immediately drawn to those character-driven stories that really resonate. You can see the personalities that feel so familiar, the relationships between parents and children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren that feel so vivid. I will always have a special place for good old fashioned romcoms though. The 'will they, won’t they'. The classic tropes such as enemies to lovers, forced proximity, forbidden lovers are always great fun and are being done so well by great writers. I’m a sucker for a big romance! Recommend me a story with a happy ending and I will put it straight to the top of my ‘to be read’ pile.

Do you have a favourite author or a few favourite authors? What is it about their writing that captivates you?

It’s cliche but there are almost too many to list across the genres. The thing most would share in common is their ability to create characters who leap off the page. Characters who are not just black or white, they’re human beings who make good and bad decisions and deal with the consequences. I don’t seek out the biggest, shiniest writers who might be flavour of the month or win some awards. I can find something I love in any book because I know the writer has poured their heart into what they’ve created.

What's the most memorable book you've read recently? What made it stand out from others you've read?

Two that stand out would be 'In Memoriam' by Alice Winn and 'Young Mungo' by Douglas Stuart. Both of these absolutely sucked me in early on and took me on journeys where I felt like I experienced every emotion the characters did. Two very special books that tell vital stories.

Are you currently reading anything now? If so, what is it, and what drew you to choose that book?

I’m not actually reading anything right now as I’m currently working on my second book. It’s tough ignoring some great new books on my pile, but they’ll be an exciting reward once I’ve completed the next manuscript!

Can you share a book or literary character with which you strongly connect? What qualities in the character do you admire or identify with?

I wouldn't say a specific character, but like I'm sure many people do, I love connecting with characters who feel like they represent me. Growing up and hiding who you are is very tough and takes a long time to try and heal from, so following the story of characters like that always draws me in. LGBTQ+ characters who allow readers to feel seen and understood, to tell stories which educate and entertain while showing a variety of lived experiences are so vital these days.

Have you ever had a "book hangover", where you couldn't stop thinking about a book long after finishing it? If so, which book was it?

Matt Haigh's 'The Midnight Library'. It really left me thinking about life and the different decisions we make and how they can take us on such varied paths.

Are there any book-related rituals or habits you have developed over time, such as reading in a specific place or during a particular time of day?

I'm very boring in that I can zone out and read pretty much wherever, whenever. The only place I really can't seem to focus on reading is the London Underground. I'm always impressed by people who can read on the tube. I used to love that time before going to sleep, but these days it's impossible to stay awake for five minutes after my head hits the pillow. I have been trying to get used to audiobooks recently, but I still find it too easy to get distracted and miss out on chunks.

Can you recall the first book you ever read or one of the earliest books you enjoyed as a child? What memories does it bring back?

Early childhood memories are the books like Charlotte's Web being read to me by my mum. That early introduction to stories and encouragement to read played a big part in leading me to today.

What is your go to reading recommendation and why?

I'm always so nervous recommending a book I have loved. Even if I know the person loves a genre, there are always variables! After someone hated a book I had loved and recommended, I took it a bit personally haha. So now I can play it safe and recommend Arthur and Teddy Are Coming Out!