Charlotte Levin has been shortlisted for the Andrea Badenoch Award, part of the New Writers North Awards, and for the Mslexia Short Story Competition. Charlotte lives in Manchester and If I Can't Have You is her first novel.
Hello, my name is Charlotte Levin, and I’m the author of If I Can’t Have You, published in hardback by Mantle in in July 2020 and paperback by Pan in Feb 2021. It’s a darkly humorous novel about obsessive love, loss, grief and loneliness, which follows Constance Little, a young woman who has an affair with the new doctor at the medical practice where she works. Believing she’s finally found the love and security she craves he then ends it. But for Constance, if you love someone, you should never let them go.
Are you working on something new?
I’m currently at the final editing stage for book two. It’s so hard to describe this one without giving too much away! It’s about a grieving mother called Janet who’s hailed a hero after she saves a child from a train crash on what would have been the night of her daughter’s eighteenth birthday. Like If I Can’t Have You, it’s dark and sad with some humour and explores the concept of good people crossing moral lines. It’s out in Feb 2023.
Tell us about yourself?
Which six books will you take to the Island?
I've found picking these so hard! I’m not one to re-read books, and I never make a note of novels I've read. Many are forgotten, but all my choices left a lasting impression.
Piranesi - Susanna Clarke
Thought I’d better throw in a recent read! As mentioned, I don't really re-read books, but as soon as I finished Piranesi, I immediately wanted to go back to the beginning. It left me with so many questions and indescribable feelings. For me, that’s the ultimate author goal.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s - Truman Capote
I love this story. It’s grittier than the film and Holly’s character is more complex. I prefer the book’s ending too. I think it would be a nice comforting read to stop me from thinking about my impending death on the Island.
Which disc will you take to the Island?
Oh goodness, this one is hard. I’m not a fan of listening to the same record over and over. My artist ex used to paint in the spare room while listening to Angie by the Rolling Stones on loop, and it messed with my head! There are so many I want to pick, but I am going to opt for Jeff Buckley singing Lilac Wine because it’s beautiful and haunting and the perfect soundtrack to thinking you’re going to die on a beach.
What will be your luxury item?
A big bed with lovely cotton bedding. What could be better than a bed on a beach?!
Which fictional character will you meet?
I'm going to go for Giselle from Enchanted because we could sing and dance and all the animals on the island would come out and be our friends and build me a fire or a hut or something. I did note that the rules state that I'd be rescued soon after his person joins me. I'm not sure if all that joy would eventually become grating.