Frank Cottrell Boyce turned out to be a nice man. I hadn’t expected him to be bad, you understand, but he was different from what I imagined. And anyone who can do what he did to Keira Knightley in his latest book Cosmic, will get my vote.
Frank came to the local bookshop to start off Independent Booksellers Week, and he only did so after the owner of the shop had braved the Stockport library dragons a couple of years ago, and crawled under tables in a most unladylike manner, just to come face to face with Frank.
The man reads like a dream, and if he’s not already recorded his own books for audio, he should do so without delay. I could have sat all night listening to Cosmic, and I’d only just finished reading it myself.
Cosmic is a story about mobile phones, and Dads. I’m green with envy because Frank got to meet Alan Bean of Moon landing fame, and as you regulars know, the witch likes space. I didn’t think that a book about a twelve-year-old pretending to be the dad of his classmate and going into space, sounded all that funny, but I’ll eat my thoughts, because its’ very, very funny. And clever. And touching. And did you know there are lots of Waterloos, all over the place?
Frank has an extensive knowledge of things Nordic. He loves Tove Jansson, and he once spent a lot of time with Thor Heyerdahl. His writing career started with some discreet writing in his Year 6 classroom and being found out by the nuns. His teacher thought what he’d written was so funny, she had to read it to the class. His day job is writing film scripts, and the books only came after he needed a change from writing zombie slashers, and a friend pointed out that his next film idea would make a good book. It did.
After Frank won the Carnegie medal some years ago for Millions, his first book, he helped give a library to Waterloo in Sierra Leone, which seems fitting for the Carnegie. That Waterloo is twinned with Frank’s own Waterloo near Liverpool, and where Cosmic starts.
Cosmic was written while Frank sat in a French launderette for two years, hoping to eventually get to the driers first. Or some such thing. So the least you can do is read it and laugh. It will keep you going while you wait for his next film, which is going to be Terry Pratchett’s Truckers. I hope he can do something good with my favourite quote; Road Works.