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Author relieved to see new book on the shelves after life-saving operations

A Watlington author could only think about his new book not making it to the printers as he fought for his life in Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

After Neil Randall, 44, was rushed to hospital with a suspected burst appendix in March, it was discovered he had hereditary bowel disease.

With the publication of his new novel 'The Nine Lives of Jacob Fallada' due earlier this month, Mr Randall feared he would not be alive to see the finished product.

Neil Randall
Neil Randall

The novel, which tells the life of a lonely, misunderstood young artist abandoned by his parents, has been dedicated to staff at the QEH.

Mr Randall said: "The book is dedicated to the surgeons, doctors, nurses and ambulance crew at the Queen Elizabeth hospital, to whom I will always be eternally grateful, and who provided me with such an amazing level of care."

Two life-saving operations were required to prevent Mr Randall from the same fate which his grandma suffered. His cousin also had an operation for the same disease.

'The Nine Lives of Jacob Fallada' front cover
'The Nine Lives of Jacob Fallada' front cover

"I was feeling sicker and sicker, weaker and weaker, and all I could think about was the book I was really proud of," Mr Randall said, who studied English Literature at college in Lynn.

"Now and again I would have a stomach ache, but I just put it down to wheat intolerance and changed my diet.

"Then the pain would not go away one day in March so I took a couple of painkillers. I had been running around Watlington for nearly 10 miles then a few days later I was in hospital.

"It was only when I was speaking to the consultant at the hospital that I found out it was hereditary. Stupidly, I just did not think it was that serious.

"I am so grateful to the surgeons, in particular Dr. Zack, and I am back running again, completely pain-free with no medication."

Mr Randall will be signing copies of his new book at Waterstone's in Lynn on Saturday, August 31 after the book was published on Tuesday.

The book is split into nine short stories about the same character, and Mr Randall started writing the book seven-years-ago.

It is set in an unnamed Norfolk Coastal town, which many locals will relate to according to the author.

"I have strong affiliations with the town [Lynn] itself, having attended NORCAT [The College of West Anglia] as it was then called then," Mr Randall added.

"I actually captained the football team to a county cup victory in 1994, and in the same year I was part of the King's Lynn youth side that won the U.19 floodlit league.

"I was in the same team that featured former Linnet's manager Gary Setchell and even have some of the old Lynn News cut-outs from back then."

An old newspaper cutting of Neil Randall's NORCAT football team from December 1993. Mr Randall is pictured in the middle of the front row near the ball
An old newspaper cutting of Neil Randall's NORCAT football team from December 1993. Mr Randall is pictured in the middle of the front row near the ball

'The Nine Lives of Jacob Fallada' is now on sale and can be purchased for £11 in paperback on Amazon.

The 160-page book is published by J.New Books.

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