Last year I had the pleasure of reading The Extraordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81, which I absolutely loved. Imagine my excitement when it was announced that there was going to be a sequel!
Frank Derrick's Holiday of a Lifetime was published yesterday and to celebrate it, I have J.B. Morrison on the blog, answering my bookish questions:
Thank you. I'm currently J.B. Morrison but I'm also known as Jim Bob and even Jim Bob from Carter. The funny thing is, my middle name is actually Neil. It can be very confusing. At the moment I'd probably say I was an author but I do feel a little uncomfortable saying that. It still feels like a big headed claim to make. Since 'retiring' my band last year though I'm doing nothing else but write or more often, think about writing.
2. How does your writing process go? Do you plan everything first or you just start writing and let your characters talk to you?
I would dearly love to say there was a process. It's too chaotic to ever be described as a process. About 90% of my writing is thinking and worrying. I go swimming and walking and make tons of notes. Mostly illegible. I rewrite and start again and again and change from third to first person and back again. Hopefully at some point there are enough words to not give up or turn back and then it becomes more recognisable as writing.
3. Did you find writing the sequel for Frank Derrick harder than the first book?
I actually found it easier. Because the characters and writing style were already established and because there was a certain amount of back story that I had to be true to. The lack of freedom was actually liberating. I didn't get bogged down wondering if it would work better in first person instead of third or if it was set in the future or on Mars.
4. Talking about Frank Derrick, he is such a charismatic character. In this second book, he is reunited with his daughter and granddaughter. Are we going to discover a new version of him?
He's probably the same Frank as he was in the first book. It's too late for any major change in his life. But the time he spends with his family and in particular his granddaughter, who he has a surprising amount in common with, brings something good out in him. He still makes the same poorly thought through decisions and mistakes.
5. The first book, The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81, has been translated to many languages. How does it make you feel having your words translated? Do you have a favourite international cover, they are all so different!
When the translation offers started coming in it was one of the greatest things to ever happen to me. Because all my work was already done the translations felt like prizes. I love the different covers and titles. They remind me a bit of the Japanese versions of my albums that were released with unusual titles. For example our album '101 Damnations' in Japan was called 'Exploding London Diary'. I really love the Italian covers.
6. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote and what it was about?
I remember writing a story in an English exam about a rock band. I can't remember what happened but I imagine it was the traditional struggle, success, failure, rebirth and heroic success again type of thing.
7. If you could have a party with your favourite authors, dead or alive, who would you invite?
Kurt Vonnegut, Harper Lee, Harry Crews, Alan Sillitoe, Dave Eggers, Brady Udall, Donna Tartt, JD Salinger and Ali Smith.
8. And finally, what can we expect next from you?
Hopefully another novel. I've started something. It's currently in the swimming and walking stage. The first person, third person, first person, third person phase. I need to pull my finger out.
Thank you so much J.B. Morrison for stopping by. I can't wait to read all about Frank Derrick's new adventure.
If you haven't met Frank yet, you are missing out. I highly recommend it!
Frank Derrick is eighty-two. And apparently that makes him old. But he just doesn't feel old. Sure, his limbs ache, he can't sleep more than a few hours a night and it takes him a while to get going in the morning. But he's still Frank. A dad, a granddad, a friend to Bill the cat.
So when he receives a phone call from Los Angeles with news that his grown-up daughter's life is falling apart, his natural instinct is to drop everything to be with her. Unfortunately for Frank, that means using his life savings and putting himself in danger of losing his home. But then, Frank's never been one for long-term plans. He can sort out where he and Bill the cat will live when he's back.
And so Frank gets on a plane for the first time in his life. He was never much good at helping his daughter through crises when she was growing up. He left all that to his wife Sheila, who died nearly ten years ago. Now it's time to step up to his role of father to Beth. Joining forces with his determined granddaughter Laura, they begin The Reunion Project in an attempt to bring some happiness back into Beth's life and to bring the family back together again for one happy family holiday.
Filled with moments of great sadness, joy and humour Frank Derrick's Holiday of A Lifetime reminds us all to make the most of every day and to appreciate those closest to us.