Like most writers, the written word has been a passion of mine from a very young age. Once I had learnt how to read, I knew that there was nothing else I wanted more than to write stories of my own. I began by crafting childish tales to read to my teddies, who were perhaps my most captive audience yet. When my mother bought me a typewriter one Christmas, I became unstoppable – tapping away fervently every spare moment I had. She used to joke that at least she always knew where I was, the incessant clattering from my bedroom echoing throughout the house in the days long before laptops and computers were common in the home. I soon progressed to writing for my friends, often including them in the absurd adventures I created, influenced by my childhood reading of Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl.
I didn’t really think seriously about becoming a writer until I started my first blog – Secret Diary Of PorterGirl – inspired by my unlikely appointment as the first female Deputy Head Porter at one of the oldest and finest colleges of Cambridge University. Writing anonymously, and making every effort to disguise the identity of both the college and its eclectic occupants, relaying the eccentric and often baffling enterprises of this esoteric society reignited the fervour of my youth. I suppose it was only a matter of time before the blog was discovered (I was betrayed by a fellow Porter in whom I was naive enough to place my trust), although the results of this were not quite as catastrophic as one might expect. The Head Porter was utterly furious and demanded my immediate dismissal, however the higher echelons of college were somewhat entertained by my musings and allowed me to escape with little more than a ticking off and strong advice to cease and desist.
As intriguing as my new role was – the most delightful elements being the bowler hat and free food – I found that the compulsion to continue with my online college adventures was overpowering. Now distinctly unpopular in the Porters’ Lodge anyhow, I made the decision to hang up my bowler and have a stab at becoming a writer. A proper writer. If in twelve months I hadn’t made any noticeable progress, I would rethink and return to another, more sensible, career.
As luck would have it, the relaunched blog and brand new adventures of the only slightly fictional Old College went down rather well and spawned two books (and counting) – the self-published Secret Diary Of PorterGirl and later the traditionally published PorterGirl: First Lady Of The Keys. The next in the series, The Vanishing Lord, will be published later this year and the series is expected to run to seven books.
And so it was that I became a ‘proper writer’. And PorterGirl is incredibly ‘proper’; its innate politeness and unflinching British tone being a big part of its appeal. But all this good behaviour goes very much against my own nature and so the need for something a little bit edgier – perhaps even a little bit rude – soon arose. Following the dramas and intrigue of the fallout from the United Kingdom’s EU referendum in the summer of 2016, the irreverent satire Who Shot Tony Blair? was born. Unusual in that it combines both political drama and traditional murder mystery, what started out as a vision of a post-Brexit, pre-dystopian Britain set a decade in the future has descended into something approaching a cross between Yes, Minister and Carry On Camping. Although unlikely that Who Shot Tony Blair? will follow in the footsteps of PorterGirl into paperback, there is certainly a second series in the pipeline and it has been an invaluable exercise in crafting the notoriously tricky plots and twists so required by a Golden Age-style murder mystery.
Following in a similar vein, I am currently working on a Hercule Poirot parody – Never A Cross Word – in which I attempt to emulate Agatha Christie’s distinctive style, and reunite the world’s greatest detective with his much-loved sidekick, Captain Arthur Hastings. As well as my fiction series and short stories, I took it upon myself to complete the dubious task of explaining James Joyce’s flagrantly obtuse work, Finnegans Wake, chapter by chapter to an unsuspecting public. As I hadn’t read the book myself and am far from being the type of intellectual giant who would have any chance of making anything of this great work, it was quite an experience for not only myself but also my loyal readers who bravely followed along with me, only occasionally laughing and more often than not offering their sympathies.
It seems unlikely that there will be any let up in my literary output just yet, there are just too many stories left to tell. Having dabbled with forays onto the small screen with both PorterGirl and Who Shot Tony Blair?, I hope to continue to develop something approaching a skill in scriptwriting and one day finally master the art of nailing a truly Agatha Christie-worthy murder mystery. Aside from all that, I shall be expanding my hat collection with gusto, eating meals of ever-increasing size and maintaining that famed air of reserved British politeness. For some of the time, at least.
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About the Author
Lucy Brazier is in her 30’s and lives in the university city of Cambridge, England. She started writing from the age of ten when her primary school teachers were at a bit of a loss as to how to contain her effervescent personality. They tasked her with writing stories for the younger children in a bid to keep it from disrupting her peers. Lucy developed her skills throughout her teenage years, when she was inspired to read the words of Homer, Livy and Virgil. These formative years also saw her develop her other great passion of music, where she threw herself into several years of misbehaving and playing bass guitar in unsuitable rock bands. She winded her literary horizons through the works of Terry Pratchett, Oscar Wilde and Flann O’Brien – the latter of which remains to this day her favourite writer. Lucy developed a penchant for the unusual and the absurd, something which was exacerbated by her time serving in the Police where the many varied experiences and character she met had a profound effect on her outlook on life. After 7 years on the front line and driven by fascination with Inspector Morse, on a whim Lucy applied for the job of Deputy Head Porter at one of the foremost colleges of Cambridge University. To her great surprise, and that of many others at the time, she landed a role as the first female to don the iconic bowler hat in the colleges six hundred year history. Having left formal education at the tender age of sixteen with little to show for it, being thrown in among the academic elite was something of an eye opener. Documenting the quirks and fables of College life on social media, Lucy was soon persuaded to start a blog – Secret Diary Of PorterGirl. Acutely aware of the dim view taken by College officials of any slight upon their reputation, she wrote anonymously and in such a way as to disguise the true identity of the now notorious Old College. However, being quite possibly the worst Deputy Head Porter of all time made her decide to hang up her bowler hat and pursue her dream of becoming a writer. Lucy considers this is the best decision she has ever made. In December 2015 Lucy signed with Kensington Gore Publishing and Secret Diary Of PorterGirl was rewritten and republished in the summer of 2016 as PorterGirl The First Lady Of The Keys. KGHH Publishing see this book and others to follow a great glimpse into the unique world of college life. A world that never seems to change, more evolve into a world of its own.
‘Porters are not the carriers of bags, they are the keepers of keys!’
As one of the most ancient and esteemed establishments of the academic elite, Old College is in for something of a shock when it appoints its very first female Deputy Head Porter.
She struggles to get to grips with this eccentric world, far removed from everyday life. PorterGirl, the proverbial square peg in the round hole, begins to wonder quite what she is doing here.
PorterGirl – First Lady Of The Keys is a touching, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, glimpse into a world that is usually reserved for the upper echelons of society.
Whether she is chasing after naked students, drinking copious amounts of tea or getting embroiled in quaint, polite murders, Deputy Head Porter is never far from adventure.
Click HERE to watch the video trailer
Extract of an Amazon review by author N.A.Granger:
“I thought of Bridget Jones’ Diary as I began to read this book. The descriptions of antics of the Old College and its Fellows, its time-honored and sometimes senseless traditions, and the adventures of Porter Girl’s daily life – chasing after naked students, watching a ceremony on her knees behind a curtain, finding secret rooms and passages, mindlessly sorting keys, and the drinking of gallons of tea – at times made me laugh out loud. Balancing the humor are the soaring, beautiful and detailed descriptions by the author of Old College and its grounds, with each passing season. Clearly based on a real place, these made me want to visit… with Porter Girl as my guide.
I highly recommend Porter Girl: The Keeper of the Keys. One of the Best books I’ve read this year!”
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