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Why I Love Tony Blair

No, not ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, obviously. If I loved him, I wouldn’t have killed him so blatantly and violently.

In a book. Not in real life. You would have heard about that. And, for the record, I wish no harm upon the sneaky, power-crazed war-monger, either. Because I believe that life has a way of quietly going about its own special kind of retribution with no need of the assistance of the likes of you and me. And it would only make a martyr out of the blasted chap and no one wants that.

But anyway.

No. The affection to which I refer is for my own self published novel, Who Shot Tony Blair? It wasn’t that my publisher didn’t want it. In fact, it was to their great chagrin that I published it on a whim one evening via that great tax-avoiding bastard in the sky. (Not God – the other one, much more popular. You know.) And why I did that is still a bit of a surprise, even to myself. It was helpful to know that publishing a novel can be achieved in under half an hour, should the fancy take one. I learned that, certainly. But that was a by-product of the experience.

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You see, I knew that this was the last thing I would be publishing in a while. And I also knew that, as raw and unpolished as it is, I couldn’t leave the writing world without this being out there. There has been little, if any, promotion on my part. A handful of enthusiasts, bless their cotton socks, have made a little song and dance here and there – for that, dear chaps, I salute you. Mind you, I backed out of all promotion and publicity for the much-vaunted and highly celebrated PorterGirl collection, Old College Diaries. Which leads us all to suspect that maybe I’m not overly fond of promotion and marketing.

Well, what’s new? I hear all authors cry. No one likes that! And you would all be right. Everyone hates that. It’s just that I’ve made the decision that I’m not going to do that any more. Why? There are lots of reasons. I am under no obligation to explain. In the words of mighty wordsmiths Run DMC – it’s like that, and that’s the way it is.

But back to Tony Blair. Who Shot Tony Blair? started as a drunken joke in a shed and continued as a huge in-joke as a blog series, featuring a cast almost entirely consisting of online and offline friends and family. It was the only major thing I have written purely for the sheer joy of writing, with a complete disregard for the the rules and norms of storytelling and literature. It is pure, unadulterated fun on a page, conceived and written before the whole Brexit debacle but with that very much at the forefront of proceedings. There is no real rhyme or reason for it at all – although it has proved uncannily prophetic in recent times. I wrote it for me and my readers. It is by no means a perfect or even a competent novel, but that is all of its charm. To place it in the hands of an editor and publisher would erode the sharp edges and jarring imperfections that make the book what it is. Which is joyful bloody nonsense, with no respect for either the authority of the state or the authority of the publishing industry. If this should be my swan song, then I delight in the fact that it is me, unfiltered and unrepentant in concept and prose.

I have written far better books. I have written much more accomplished things for fun – Poirot parodies Never A Cross Word  and Hide And Seek , for example. But part of me will never be more proud of anything than Who Shot Tony Blair? It is, without doubt, the most honest thing I have produced in my writing career. And, really, when you’ve done that, where do you go from there?

TAX AVOIDING BASTARDS UK

TAX AVOIDING BASTARDS US

Regular readers will notice that I have turned off comments on my blog. This is not because I don’t love the interactions and bloody marvellous conversations that have made many of us firm friends – not to mention being more interesting than the posts themselves! My life has changed and no longer affords me the pleasure of your company in the way it did before. Please do not think my lack of interaction on your sites means that you matter any the less to me. Find me on Facebook (Lucy Brazier) Twitter (@Portergirl100) or email lucy@verticalrecordings.com and I will be delighted to stay in touch. 

Crisis Of Confidence

I tell you, you know you’ve got the hang of this writing lark when the inevitable impression of ‘this book is rubbish, I should give up and become a milkman’ sneaks upon you, the reflex reaction is not one of gin-imbibing despair, but the notion of ‘Aha! This is all part of the process’. I have considered becoming a milkman many times during the writing of all the PorterGirl books and experience has taught me that once you get past the self-loathing, a really productive phase of writing emerges – as long as you keep on writing. If you give up on the writing bit and focus on the self-loathing, things rarely end well. But anyway.

You can imagine my surprise at being strangely heartened by the realisation that my work in progress is rubbish. For this can mean only one thing – that a brave new era of revision and rewriting looms like breaking dawn upon the horizon and before long, my book will be brilliant again. There is no need to drink myself into a miserable stupor after all. The option of drinking myself into a cheerful stupor remains very much on the table.

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There have been many moments just recently when I’ve felt like I can’t really do this – I can’t possibly carry on pretending to be a writer and surely I will never complete the various projects entrusted to me to any kind of professional standard. After all, I’m just winging it, aren’t I? Isn’t this all just one big joke?

And then the big wide world has a way of giving you that little metaphysical hug that you need. Way back in February I engaged in the fearsomely intimidating submissions process for literary agents Curtis Brown. For experience, more than anything. I heard nothing back and forgot all about it. Until an email arrived in my inbox the other Friday asking to see the full manuscript for Sinister Dexter.  They’ve missed the boat with that one, but the encouraging words of the agent certainly put a spring in my step. Later that afternoon, I received this…

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And then (whisper it) discussions about pitching PorterGirl as a television series to a major production company took place. So it looks like the milk round will have to wait for a bit.

The moral of the story – never, ever give up. You never know just how close your next success might be.

Also – probably don’t look to writers to provide morals. Pretty sure the ones we have are not fit for purpose.

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US