With several successful books to his name you could forgive Matt Cain for being relaxed about the publication of his new novel, One Love.

But when the the Bury-born author who grew up in Bolton says “it feels as if this is the book where all the different sides of me have come together in just the right balance” you know it’s something special.

Lancashire Telegraph: Matt Cain (Picture: Claire Gardner)

One Love - which is published next Friday - is the story of two gay men, Danny and Guy and their friendship spanning 20 years. Danny has been secretly in love with Guy throughout that time and when they arrange a reunion to mark 20 years since they first met he plans to finally tell him.

“This has been a real passion project for me,” said Matt, whose previous novels The Madonna of Bolton and The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle have made him one of the country’s leading authors.

“I am really excited about it. It’s the most epic in scope that I’ve done.

“With this book it felt like I had something to say and I had a really important point to make about relationships which shouldn’t have to fit into a mould and that everybody’s unique and therefore every relationship should be unique.”

Matt who is also a successful broadcaster and radio presenter has become a leading spokesman on issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community.

And although his books have gay characters at their heart, his readers come from all walks of life.

“Most of my readers are straight,” he said, “and they always say reading my stories has inspired them to live a little or to love a little more freely,”

As with all of Matt’s writing, One Love covers issues close to his heart.

“I think this is probably my most personal book,” he admitted. “It’s also the first time I’ve really explored social issues and the issues of class.

“In the past I know that I have been a victim of cultural snobbery because I’m working class and have an accent. And also people think because I’m camp and gay and fun I can’t do anything serious.

“One Love touches on all of those issues. I’ve had people say to me ‘you’re camp, clever and common’ as though they can’t get their head around how all those three things can co-exist.”

Matt who gained a place at Cambridge after leaving state school acknowledges that issues which existed during his time at university still exist today.

“I was so unprepared for university,” he said. “But I’d had such a hard time being gay that when I went to Cambridge and was accepted for who I was just embraced it.

Lancashire Telegraph: Matt Cain (Picture: Claire Gardner)

“What I didn’t think about was the fact I was working class and how I came from such a different background to the majority of students. So when they used to make fun of my accent I just used to laugh it off.

“Now I’m sick to death of having people make fun of my Bolton accent or saying it makes me sound thick. That’s why I put all this in the book. Danny is working class and speaks like I do. When you see posh kids taking the mickey out of the way he says ‘book’ or ‘fair hair’, it's outrageous but that’s what is still happening.

“It feels like I’m getting my own back in a way.”

Matt was recently invited to talk to the Cambridge Students’ Union about his work.

“When I got the invitation I thought it was a spoof,” he laughed. “But I was so pleased to accept. One of the students asked what one piece of advice I would give to an aspiring writer.

“I just said ‘live’. You need to have as many experiences as possible and just lap it all up.

“You can learn some of the technical elements of the craft but you need to have lived it. If you want to convey emotions to your readers you have to dig deep into your own emotions, and that’s all emotions not just happiness.

“A theme which comes up a lot in my books is of not feeling good enough and if I hadn’t experienced that I know I wouldn’t have been able to write about it convincingly.”

One Love is Matt’s third book in almost as many years so is there a danger he’s becoming prolific?

Lancashire Telegraph: One Love by Matt Cain

“Not quite,” he laughed. “I actually started One Love before the other two but I just kept going back to it and reworking it because I knew it was a story I wanted to tell and to tell properly.”

Through his writing, Matt has become something of a role model, a point which he acknowledges.

“Like Danny in the book I knew that I wanted a career in the creative industries but I didn’t know where to start.

“There were no real role models for me, no paths to follow.

“That’s why I suppose my career has followed this meandering path. Don’t get me wrong I’ve loved the TV work, the journalism but now I really do consider myself as a writer first and foremost.

“To think that I’m a gay, working class writer of mainstream novels is quite humbling in a way.”

One Love is published next Friday. Matt will talking about his work at Bury Art Gallery and Museum on Friday, February 2 and Bolton Central Library on Saturday, February 3