Cyprus Mail
A minute withLife & Style

A minute with Andrew Shantos Computer programmer by day, author by night


Where do you live?
With my wife and two young kids in a part of Brighton which is full of writers, artists, musicians and do-gooders.

Best childhood memory?
Cyprus! I go there every year, and by far the best memories are of playing on the beach as a child, and being in Larnaca playing tavli with my papou. I distinctly remember reaching the age where I was able to catch him cheating and getting very annoyed!

Most frequented restaurant and absolute favourite dish? What food would you really turn your nose up to?
I go to Eastern Eye in Brighton for lunch a couple of times a week. It does proper South Indian food and I either go for their masala dosa or vegetable thali. When I’m in Cyprus anywhere I can get a mixed kebab! What do I turn my nose up to? Anything processed and not made from scratch. Anything that that turns up cold when it should be hot.

What did you have for breakfast?
Fried egg, baked beans on toast and a hash brown made from last night’s left over mashed potato. Yum!

Would you class yourself as a day or night person? What’s your idea of the perfect night/day out?
Most definitely night. It takes me till lunchtime to wake up most days. My perfect night out is going to see a band with my wife.

Best book ever read?
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. It’s funny, very clever, supercool and features one of my heroes (Alan Turing) as a character. I’ve read it three times and it made me realise what is possible in a novel.

Favourite film of all time?
The Good The Bad And The Ugly. It’s a wonderful film (funny, serious, sad, uplifting), but it’s my favourite because of the music. I have it on CD and listen to it in my car on the way to work. The finale is one of my favourite pieces of music of all time, full of tension, passion and humour – like the film itself.

Favourite holiday destination?
The Greek islands. I love Skiathos, Amorgos in the Cyclades, Rhodes… any of them actually! Because I speak Greek like a native (albeit a native of England), I don’t feel so much of a tourist.

What music are you listening to in the car at the moment?
My car stereo takes six CDs and I have a real mixture. A couple of David Bowie albums, Jack White’s latest album and also Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which I would love to be able to play on the piano but is way beyond me and always will be. Occasionally some Justin Timberlake ends up in there too, but I have no idea how.

What is always in your fridge?
Jars. We’re all obsessed with pickled stuff in this house. So pretty much anything which can be pickled or turned into jam is in our refrigerator. Usually there are a few vegetables alongside, wedged between the glass, slowly going mouldy and awaiting their ultimate fate.

Dream house: rural retreat or urban dwelling? Where would it be, what would it be like?
It would be somewhere hot and somewhere Greek! I do ask myself sometimes what I’m still doing in England… It would be within walking distance of the beach, with a lovely veranda to eat on, and sit and play tavli in the evening.

If you could pick anyone at all (alive or dead) to go out for the evening with, who would it be?
Jim Morrison. He’s my all-time hero of all time. Forever. I had more posters on my wall of him when I was a teenager than I had wall space. We’d hang out on the beach (Venice beach in LA of course) probably get drunk (definitely get drunk), sing a few sea shanties, and talk pseudo-philosophical nonsense.

If the world is ending in 24 hours what would you do?
Crikey, I don’t know. I think I’d just cry.

What is your greatest fear?

Tell me a joke…
Two Spanish fireman. Hose A and Hose B.

Andrew’s first novel Dead Star Island is out now and available on Amazon. It’s about an island where 16 superstars the world thinks are dead are actually living in glorious anonymity. Elvis is there, so is Marilyn and Jimi Hendrix… until someone starts killing them off for real in reconstructions of their ‘faked’ deaths. Andrew’s inspiration came from a mystery at the heart of his family – his great grandfather disappeared from his home in Larnaca for ten years and then turned up without a word to anyone about where he had been. The disappearance/betrayal sparked a lifelong interest in Andrew in people who go missing.

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