I am pleased to welcome Mr Morrison to the blog today to tell us a little bit more about his novel, The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick Age 81 a very funny book, amongst other things.
Tell us a little about how the story started for you.
I was spending a lot of time commuting back and forth to Sussex to look after my 81 year old mum. At some point I started writing a story of a completely different 81 year old living in Sussex. I had no idea what I was writing about at first, other than wanting to say something non patronising about ageing and living alone in modern Britain.
I laughed such a lot – how difficult is it to make things genuinely funny.
I have always instinctively made jokes about even the most serious things in life, so it does come fairly naturally to me. I have to trust my own taste in comedy when I’m writing. If it makes me laugh then it will hopefully be funny to others. Now that a lot of people have said how the book made them laugh I hope I don’t feel too under pressure to repeat that with the next book. I don’t want to have to try too hard to make jokes.
Frank is quite a remarkable character and the book is very life affirming – do you think age is mostly just a state of mind?
In a way I do. Although ill health and natural wear and tear may have other ideas. I’m definitely uncomfortable with ageing. I’m incredibly vain and more bothered by what other people might think about me than I should be. But I felt like that when I was in my mid thirties and I expect I will when I’m eighty.
The last book you read…
‘The Way Inn’ by Will Wiles
If you could live anywhere in the world….
There are a couple of places I’ve been to where I thought I wanted to live. Perth Australia and Los Feliz California, but I’d probably choose South Devon. I feel at home there. Can I have somewhere with an indoor swimming pool please. Detached. Near the sea. Thanks.
One rule to live by.
Born in London ages ago to his two parents, Frank and Jenny, J.B. Morrison is a musician and already the author of two novels – Storage Stories and Driving Jarvis Ham. Goodnight Jim Bob is an autobiographical account of his ten years as singer with punk-pop band Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine.
With Carter USM J. B. Morrison had 14 top 40 singles and a number one album. He played all over the world, headlined Glastonbury and was sued by The Rolling Stones. He’s also made a ton of solo albums and written the screenplay for a film. Plus he was in a musical, in 2010 at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Is there no end to his talents? Yes. Everything not mentioned here. Don’t ask him to put up a shelf or cook you dinner. The shelf will fall off the wall and you won’t like the food.
Frank Derrick is eighty-one. And he’s just been run over by a milk float. It was tough enough to fill the hours of the day when he was active. But now he’s broken his arm and fractured his foot, it looks set to be a very long few weeks ahead. Frank lives with his cat Bill (which made more sense before Ben died) in the typically British town of Fullwind-on-Sea. The Villages in Bloom competition is the topic of conversation amongst his neighbours but Frank has no interest in that. He watches DVDs, spends his money frivolously at the local charity shop and desperately tries to avoid the cold callers continuously knocking on his door. Emailing his daughter in America on the library computer and visiting his friend Smelly John used to be the highlights of his week. Now he can’t even do that. Then a breath of fresh air comes into his life in the form of Kelly Christmas, home help. With her little blue car and appalling parking, her cheerful resilience and ability to laugh at his jokes, Kelly changes Frank’s life. She reminds him that there is a big wide-world beyond the four walls of his flat and that adventures, however small, come to people of all ages. Frank and Kelly’s story is sad and funny, moving, familiar, uplifting. It is a small and perfect look at a life neither remarkable nor disastrous, but completely extraordinary nonetheless. For fans of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry this is a quirky, life affirming story that has enormous appeal. And it’s guaranteed to make you laugh.
Happy Reading Folks!