trilogy

A Very British Threesome*

PORTERGIRL – OLD COLLEGE DIARIES

LUCY BRAZIER

 

*This was the original title I wanted to use for the PorterGirl trilogy, but my publisher point blank refused. So here we have Old College Diaries, which now appears to be available on Amazon, for some reason.

Apparently there will be some sort of official launch next month, probably while I am in the middle of Florida, knowing my luck. Did I mention my much-anticipated trip to the States? I plan on trying to civilise the place a little whilst I’m there, but it’s mostly a work trip to a writers’ conference.

But anyway. As you can probably tell by my unusually brusque tone, I am rather busy at the moment with one thing and another and a surprise book release is, quite frankly, the last thing I need. That said, it is an absolutely beautiful book and contains not only the three PorterGirl novels, but some rather charming and never-seen-before bonus material…

And, bizarrely, an in-character interview with Deputy Head Porter where she is asked about her views on Brexit, among other things.

You can get Old College Diaries here if you want it. Or wait for the official release, there will probably be giveaways of some description. Whatever. And while you’re at it, put the kettle on, there’s a good chap.

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

Looking Back & Moving Forward

I am currently ensconced in the noble endeavour of proofing the final copy for the forthcoming trilogy of PorterGirl novels, Old College Diaries. I’m not going to lie, it is not a task I relished and it is certainly sending my eyes peculiar, but it is not quite so much the onerous mission I thought it might be. For one thing, it’s a good opportunity to pick up on the many irritating typos missed by my hopeless editor the first time around, but what I wasn’t expecting was that I’m actually quite enjoying it. I realised that I hadn’t read First Lady of the Keys since it was released; I’ve dipped in and out to check references from the later novels but I haven’t cast a reader’s eye over it for quite some time. And reading through all three books one after the other is certainly an interest. 

 

As many of you know, large sections of the early parts of First Lady were written for this blog when I was still a Deputy Head Porter. When I first typed those initial, seemingly innocuous words – Late September, just before the start of Michaelmas Term… I could never have imagined the tumultuous  and unexpected paths along which they would eventually lead. Reading now the charming naivety of both Deputy Head Porter the character and my own writing stirs something of a nostalgic wonder in my now slightly more cynical soul. Large parts of the book – and, indeed, my experiences at the real Old College – had slipped from my memory and from a personal point of view, it has been quite the joy to revisit them.

Following our heroine through The Vanishing Lord and, most recently, Sinister Dexter, I can really see how she has developed and grown into her role and made it very much her own. The writing, too, has evolved with her and the differences between the first and third books are quite stark, to my eyes. In many ways, First Lady was the easiest to write. It was my first novel and I had no real idea about what writing a proper book entailed. I tapped away merrily at the keyboard until I was satisfied that my story was told and that was pretty much that. It certainly isn’t my strongest work, but that beautiful, unfettered freedom of writing when you have no idea what you are doing is evident throughout the book. It has a definite charm of unhindered ignorance. Much like DHP herself.

PORTERGIRL OCD 11.99 DRAFT MASTER COVER LB

I won’t bore you with the processes that followed for the next two books, suffice to say I tackled the steep learning curve as ferociously as possible and, I think, improved with practice. I’m proud of my work and to see it all brought together in one volume is obviously pleasing, but also strangely prophetic. Old College Diaries sees the story of Old College told through the eyes of Deputy Head Porter, a literary device that will be abandoned for the forthcoming instalments. Fear not, though, PorterGirl purists – I am writing the fourth novel as we speak and I can assure you that none of DHP’s whimsical musings are lost at all. We now have the added benefit of other characters’ whimsical musings as well. But anyway. In this way at least, it is the end of an era for PorterGirl, but one that heralds a bold new approach and will, I hope, raise the bar for the books that follow.

Featured Image -- 4368

And this is prophetic because I myself am facing significant changes in both my personal and professional life which somehow mirror the purpose of Old College Diaries. A chance to move on, to raise the bar, to begin again with the benefit of experience, new-found enthusiasm and a few lessons under my belt. Final details are not entirely decided but final decisions most certainly are. All I need to do is make it happen. And making things happen is something at which I have become rather adept over recent years, so I am certain there will be updates of interest before very long.

There is a rather odd, Joycean, sense of things that everything has come full circle, only to begin again. Change is rarely predictable, but my optimism for the future is encouraged by an overwhelming feeling that this is very much a beginning, rather than ‘The End’.

I’ll keep you posted.

Lucy x

What Do You Think?

You know I love you chaps (and chapesses). I love you lots. You are like family to me. And I value your opinions above all others. When it comes to PorterGirl-related matters, certainly. So I turn to you now with open mind and ears to ask your honest advice.

The PorterGirl books have been collected together (along with some bonus new material) into one big old trilogy and will be available just in time for Christmas. Needless to say, it would make the perfect literary gift for your friends, family and enemies and could also serve as a very classy doorstop. Your choice. Anyway, I have been sent the first mock-up of the front cover from my publisher and I’m just not sure.

Portergirl Trilogy Draft ONE.jpg

The image is great and I like the black and white. I think my name in the hat is rather clever, although I’m not sure if such a lovely hat should not remain untouched. But the title – Trilog-Tea’ is the biggest sticking point. It is clever word play, but it sounds awkward to me, somehow. And it looks strange. But it is more imaginative than ‘trilogy’ or ‘collected works’ and such. I have looked and pondered and looked again until the words and image have no meaning and I still can’t decide if I love it or hate it.

So… what do you think?