ANDREW CARTER was born in Leeds in 1986. After graduating from LancasterUniversity in 2009, he spent two years working as a care worker for young people with disabilities. In 2011, he moved to Chengdu,China where he taught English in a secondary school. After a few months of struggling with the language barrier and the spicy food, Andrew relocated to Hong Kong where, despite a frightening lack of business knowledge, he attempted to teach corporate English to adults. Andrew is passionate about football, which is not ideal as he is not particularly good at it and suffers from the trauma of being a Leeds United fan. He also plays the guitar averagely, falls over frequently and has not yet grown out of playing computer games. Fast approaching thirty, Andrew is trying to make the transition from cheap lager to fine ale. He currently lives in Leeds.
Asked what books he read as a child, he replied:
The first books I remember reading were Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven stories. I imagine I was about eight or nine at the time and was given them as hand-me-downs from my older brother who had moved up in the world and progressed to the more challenging Famous Five series.
My memory of specific storylines is hazy but I recall the Secret Seven performing countless heroic acts such as catching pearl thieves in their tracks and rescuing kidnapped horses. They clearly lived in a very eventful town with an inept police force but they had some interesting escapades even if some were, perhaps, a tad unrealistic.
I loved the books though and dangerous criminals aside, they captured an age of innocence which I connected with; a time where you find girls annoying, build dens and treehouses and your main vice in life is eating too many sweets. Inspired by the Secret Seven, I fancied setting up my own secret society, although the recruitment process was tough and sadly it never materialized. I think I even came up with a password and badge.
I wonder what the Secret Seven went on to do in their later lives? Had they peaked as children? It would be a shame if they ended up working in call centres.
I’m sure that children today would like the Secret Seven series. They are good fun books featuring relatable problems, such as falling out with your siblings and scratching your knees when you fall over. Should I have kids, along with Roald Dahl (I discovered him slightly later), I’ll encourage them to read Enid Blyton novels. Her books are a good introduction to the joys of reading and there are some nice values chucked in - teaching right from wrong and good outweighing bad etc., which is always good for a child’s moral compass. The only issue will be convincing my children to tear their eyes away from the I-pads that they will inevitably own.
I’ve been really pleased with the favourable reviews I’ve received for “Bright Lights and White Nights” so far. My favourite comment came from Chris Thall – author of the successful Hong Kong-based novel, “Eating Smoke” - in his Amazon review.
“Andy Carter is probably the humblest yet funniest and most observant author I have read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to everyone”
Bright Lights and White Nights
Struggling with the daily torture of call-centre work, Troy’s mid-twenties disillusion hits its lowest ebb when his girlfriend reveals that she has been sleeping with her driving instructor. Something has to change. Troy exchanges Leeds for the bright lights of Hong Kong where he finds a flat in the infamous Wan Chai district and hopes to rekindle his dwindling enthusiasm for life. After finding a job teaching English to adults and befriending some colourful characters, it seems that moving east was an inspired decision. However, following a chance meeting with Sophie, a beautiful girl from his past, things take a disastrous turn and Troy inadvertently becomes embroiled in a debauched adventure involving the players and oddballs of Hong Kong’s cocaine underworld.
“In his debut novel, Bright Lights and White Nights, Andrew Carter serves up a well-crafted cautionary tale that penetrates Hong Kong’s glitzy surface and explores a darker side of expat life.” – Peter Gregoire, prize-winning author of best-selling thrillers, Article 109 and The Devil You Know.
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