This past Friday afternoon, I caught up with Pulitzer price winning novelist Richard Ford by phone in his hotel room in Denver, Colorado. He’s just started his book tour to promote his new novel “The Lay of the Land” which was released last week.
The new novel is the third book about Ford’s most popular character Frank Bascombe. You’ll be reading more about it in CityBeat in the weeks ahead.
Somehow, the subject turned to Frank being a little grumpy in the new book and we got off the subject a little bit. Here’s some of where we strayed.
Ford: I don’t think of Frank as being grumpy but, you know, sometimes people think of me as being grumpy and I don’t think I am either – but then they do.
Gross: I get accused of being grumpy constantly.
Ford: You do?
Gross: You know, I’m 52-years-old and I think it’s my right to be grumpy if I want to be.
Ford: (laughs) Well, I read your piece that you sent me on your circulatory problems. That would make me a little grumpy.
Gross: It did make me grumpy. You know, I couldn’t get around and I feel like I missed all of last winter.
Ford: Yeah, well, you were very silent about it at the time.
Gross: Sure, I know.
Ford: Are you all right now?
Gross: I’m doing all right. I have to be careful, can’t walk as fast as I used to, but I feel o.k.
Ford: Good. The piece that you wrote about it was actually quite touching and smart.
Gross: I hope it was funny in spots.
Ford: It was, but it was mostly touching and serious.
Gross: Thank you. It’s funny, when you write something like that, you never know what kind of mail you’re going to get. In the same issue, I wrote a column about the Dixie Chicks and that got more mail than the cover story. I don’t understand that, but I don’t try to figure readers out.
Ford: Are you an enthusiast of the Dixie Chicks?
Gross: I love the Dixie Chicks.
Ford: Me too.
Gross: We have this country station here, B105, and they won’t play them, they don’t like to return my calls; don’t want to talk to me.
Ford: What? That’s just bullshit.
Gross: I don’t understand it.
Ford: That’s bullshit. It’s just republican bullshit.
And on that note, we both started getting steamed about country radio not playing new Dixie Chicks music and decided to get back to the subject at hand, namely, “The Lay of the Land.”