Hey there everyone.
Tonight we have a very eclectic, witty, stylish and fun guest for you to get to know better.
I’d like to introduce you all to author Lucy Brazier aka PorterGirl, as she throws her hat into the ring to chat about taking her real life experiences and channeling them into her writing.
Hi there Lucy, thank you ever so much for agreeing to being a guest here today.
It is an absolute pleasure, thank you for having me!
Let’s start with your latest release of “PorterGirl: First Lady Of The Keys”, which was just released at the start of this month. This is a sequel to your debut novel “Secret Diary of PorterGirl: The Everyday Adventures of the Students and Staff of Old College”. The setting and sensibilities are very British in nature. What sort of genre(s) would you classify your books as sitting in while politely sipping on a cup of tea? Tell us all about the infamous PorterGirl and your real life experiences that have brought these vivid, eclectic and fun stories to life in your books.
Firstly, the new book First Lady Of The Keys is not so much a sequel as a re-write of the first book, now reimagined to sit as the first in a series of at least three, but hopefully it will eventually evolve into something rather more epic. It’s style is indeed very British and adopts a stiff-upper-lip at all times, although there are glimpses of pathos among the propriety and pomposity. It is a difficult book to define by genre – comedy / murder mystery seems to be the favourite, although the actual murders are more of a subplot.
The main focus is on Deputy Head Porter’s journey into this strange new world and the unusual characters she finds herself involved with. Old College is one of the foremost educational establishments of the British academic elite and has not had a female Deputy Head Porter in its illustrious 400 year history. The arrival of our heroine certainly blows away the cobwebs, but she soon finds herself in mortal danger and very much out of her depth.
The real life tales and adventures are far too numerous to ramble on about here – hence the book! PorterGirl started innocuously enough as a series of social media posts, sharing with my friends and family the quirks of my new job as Deputy Head Porter at a prestigious College. A friend suggested that I start a blog and the rest, as they say, is history. But more than anything it was the people at the real Old College that struck me – an enthralling and endlessly eccentric bunch who filled my days with colour and fascination. It was almost impossible not to be inspired to take up a pen and, while at first the elitism grated somewhat, I soon realised why the legend of Oxbridge is so highly revered. It is easy to be distracted by the fancy dress and symbolism of academia, but the traditions and achievements really are quite remarkable.
Do you tend to answer the media or people across Social Media channels in character? Have you ever found yourself in humorous predicaments where without thinking PorterGirl provides the answer to a tricky problem or awkward situation? Give us a couple of examples, the more crazy or absurd, the better!
That is a tricky one to answer as PorterGirl is me – albeit a slightly sanitised version, of course. I always engage as myself – I struggle to be anyone else!
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
The writing itself is the easy part, it is simply a case of putting words on a page. Any writer will tell you that editing is akin to pulling teeth and it makes me very grumpy indeed – as frequent social media outbursts on this subject will attest. Marketing and promotion is a right bugger as well – it doesn’t come naturally and I find myself often resorting to threats of violence to encourage people to buy the book. Although in the current financial climate, we all have less resources to splurge on literature, so I have advised readers to wait until the hard copies hit the shelves, then maybe shoplift them instead. I’m not sure that counts as a sale, but at least people get to read the book.
Who are some of the authors in general that inspire you?
Terry Pratchett is probably the most influential on my style and way of looking at the world. He handled humour and tragedy as if they were the same thing and from a young age this struck me as not only very sensible, but also a perfect way to tackle life. Fantasy is not a genre I generally appreciate, but through his immaculately drawn characters and world, Pratchett had a wonderful way of making everything seem relative. His remarkable powers of observation and innate skill make him one of the most important writers of all time, in my eyes.
My other major influence – although I hardly feel worthy to make any kind of comparison – is Oscar Wilde. After studying The Importance of Being Earnest at school, I immediately demanded my mother brought me his complete works and I fell instantly and entirely in love. The absolute master of purple prose, language was both a device of reverence and also a plaything to him. His scintillating genius still burns as strongly with the re-reading of every page. Wilde taught me what it really meant to delight in the written word.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
A lack of anything more sensible to do, I suppose. When my time as, quite literally, the worst Deputy Head Porter of all time came to an inauspicious end, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do with my life. The blog was gaining some positive attention, so I thought I would try to become a writer. It turned out to be quite a good idea.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
There is no such thing as writer’s block – if a story has got stuck, it means that there is something about it that isn’t right or doesn’t work. I just retrace my steps through the work to find where things start to go awry and then rethink it from there. Some ideas come and the wrong time and you have to be wise enough to realise when that happens. Once you find the blockage, things soon start flowing nicely again. I am looking forward to a creative slump – I currently have a notebook filled with concepts that are patiently waiting for someone to invent more hours in a day, so that I might get around to them.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
My other great passions are music, food and drink. If I am not writing or sleeping, I am usually found entertaining friends and family and making a lot of noise.
You have been given access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Make the most of your education – you are far brighter than you think. Be nicer to your mother, she turns out to be your very best friend.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
I am currently working on a new blog series called Who Shot Tony Blair? Inspired by the recent political turmoil in the United Kingdom, it takes a sideways look at politics and makes tongue-in-cheek swipes at everyone from the rich and powerful to the man in the street. That will be online towards the end of September and will include both prose and video storytelling. It is something of a group effort and includes input and submissions from many of my fellow bloggers who appear as characters throughout the project.
My publisher is already making noises about the next PorterGirl book so I am doing a little work on that also, although it won’t be my main focus until I have got First Lady safely out of the traps.
In the meantime, I shall be keeping my eyes peeled for anything that catches my interest or offers an opportunity to keep practicing my writing.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
I am not really qualified to be handing out advice, but the biggest thing that has helped me in writing is to have observed and experienced many interesting things and found stories in the most unlikely of places. Pay attention to the overlooked things and talk to the people no one else does. A broad spectrum of perspective is invaluable. And, you know, just write. No excuses. It’s only words on a page.
And that’s a wrap!
Thank you, this has been delightful!
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 heartily threw herself into several years of misbehaving and playing bass guitar in unsuitable rock bands. 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 characters 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 college’s 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 peruse 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.
You can connect to Lucy via the following Social Media Platforms:-
You can buy her new book here:-
Canada:- Buy Lucy Brazier’s books in Canada
UK/Europe:- Buy Lucy Brazier’s books in UK/Europe
US/Rest of the World:- Buy Lucy Brazier’s books in US/Rest of the World
If you too would like to be interviewed on my blog at TooFullToWrite and you have a book or a series of books that you would like us to chat about then fill out the Contact Me form here with your details and we can arrange a future interview slot.
Still want more? Well, Lucy’s books deal with college life therefore the WordPress Daily Prompt of ‘Youth’ seems appropriate. For more blog posts on this particular theme then click on the links below:-
1. I Remember My Younger Self – law abiding brunette
2. The Crossroads of Youth and Beyond Is Where We Might Catch Glimpses of the Road Less Traveled – Jacki Kellum
3. Finale – StrangeLander2015
4. theblackwallblog – An Old Letter of Youth
5. Travel Much? – Roskilde Cathedral – Twise a Queen
6. Chris Writes – Candy Jar
7. Our Random View – Youth
8. Theresa Barker – Lab Notes – new post
9. ativ schuberg – A solitary man
10. theblackwallblog – One Main Reason
11. lemonadeletter – leaving.
12. Mainline_Matter – Hollywood Created Youth
13. Vitality: years like tokens – Salty Pineapple
14. Poetic Synchronicity – Oh, border!
15. There’s something about Youth – mum’s going nuts
16. Youth – Nomadic Adventurer
17. Autism in Our Nest – Finding Happiness
18. Nikewrites Blog – Ten Degrees Past Hell
19. artifiswords – YOUTH
20. The Leafy Witch – Khayal
21. Success Inspirers’ World – Youth the future!
22. Thoughts, Words, Almost-Truths – Mrs Reckless Writes
23. The Fire Within – CANEST
24. As I See Things – The Day It All Began
25. The Child In Us – Meg’s Magical Musings
26. Youth – youngfreehippy
27. Joy to the World – Bolognese’s Blog
28. The Fallacies of Youth – Espiritu en Fuego/A Fiery Spirit
29. Sound Mind Journey – It takes a very long time to become young.
30. Yes, I Look Much Younger Than I am… – Open Window in a Closed Space
31. witchlike – Snowe and the Dwarf
32. The Certainty of Youth – Her Thoughts
33. Youth – six word story – Postcard from a Pigeon
34. Ginormous Nature – Ultimate Journey to the ever youthful Tibet
35. Really Just Words – Futile Amputation
36. Purposive Writer – Beautiful Things Start To Happen. Caroline’s Sunrise Photo And Health Challenge: Day 24
37. Youth… – CrossGear
38. tuckedintoacorner – cut + eyes + youth
39. Youth and Maybes – ruinedpages
40. First White Strand – just a little magic
41. Red Mountain Motel – By and By Daily Prompt–Youth
42. Will You? – atrangizindagieksafar
43. Joy Write – Village Sunday…
44. Where Dreams meet Reality! – Positive Reflections
45. Coloring Outside the Lines – Fool – youth exercise
46. Lost Property Repository – More innocence of youth.
47. Shy Beyond Words – Leigha Robbins
48. Annette’s place – Daily prompt/youth/8/20/1969
49. Falling Right Has to Pass This Heartbreak – Let Me Stay Among The Stars
50. Sacrificial Chain Breaker – TODAY’S YOUTH
51. Fluffy Pool – The Aliens
52. another quiet muse – That’s Youth for You
53. Youth – whatamberthinks
54. An Unlikely Mashup – Time
55. Positively Un-broken – Preparing
56. The Value of Arrogance – Doodle 086
57. the microatoll – Machinations of Hoodrat Socialists
58. inspiration in progress – #SoCS – Shine
59. Of Marrow Leeched – Youth ~ Nurture and Nothing
60. Youth – Wordsmith
61. helen meikle’s scribblefest – Daily prompt: No thanks, not again
62. Christine’s Collection – Is It True?
63. Lisa’s Journal Blog – Youth’s Perspective of Youth
64. Happy Aries – Youth
65. the microatoll – Story without a moral
66. Bring On The Youth – CecesTravelingStars
67. Common Pursuit – Never Forget
68. kindergartenknowledge.com – Listen…Young Me…Listen!!
69. Penz4Lipz – His First Dance
70. Finding Hope Ness – A dangerous season as the world turns
71. Le Drake Noir – Moviestar, think I’m a moviestar
72. Neck potion – zorazebic
73. who I was – know my heart
74. Red’s Wrap – When Peaches Aren’t Ripe: 5 Ways Youth Disappointed Me
75. #postaday Daily Tanka Poetry – Youth – Ramblings of a Writer
76. I will become a Swedish Fish – A lot from Lydia
77. Daily Writing Prompt: Youth – 6 months of labour I’ve given birth – KimKnight_Author
78. Christine’s Collection – They Say…
79. Jibber Jabber with Sue – Youthful Eyes
80. Passion through Poetry – Youth
81. Eden of Knowledge – The Problem with Youth
82. It’s not me… – It Is Still Real
83. Things they don’t teach you in school – Painted in words
84. April’s Perspective – Perseus, a retelling
85. Lakeland Musings by Irwin – What a Ride!
86. The Crossroads of Youth and Beyond Is Where We Might Catch Glimpses of the Road Less Traveled – Blog to Memoir
87. B_ up to date – Hopefulness
88. The Beauty in Never Growing Up – Karuchan
89. Where have our summers gone…?? – MissusDoubleYew
90. Youth – Image & Word
91. No Strings Attached |August 20, 2016 – theauthenticesther
92. Illusions of Grandeur – stephentotheplate
93. Almost there… – Living under a graduate assistantship budget
94. Making it write – Beautiful
95. Joes-Fotowelten – Youth by generations
96. two kids – What does nelkumi think?
97. Youth – Bloggers Paradise
98. HarlemATL Inner City Blues – From a Distance
99. lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – A Youthful Calling
100. Michael J. Fite – How Can You Empower And Inform The Youth Of Tomorrow To Change The World?
101. The girl I left behind – Awordseeker
102. dinamicdynasty – Youth
103. Autism in Our Nest – Reaching Happiness
104. Turning Back The Clock – Writer 4835
105. Innocent – indisputably inconclusive
106. Youth Are Just Trying To Finding There Way – Odyssey In Atlantis
107. Confidence – Eman Sherif
108. What I Gotta Say About It – Is Youth Wasted On The Young?
109. They, You and Me – Happiness
110. Zombie Flamingos – A bunch of flowers and a kitty
111. Saturday Musings on Life & Aging – Survival Skills aka Low Expectations
112. americandenial – Youth
113. Her Fading Youth – Vaishnavi
114. Youth: Those Younger People – Snark And Other Things
115. Looking Back – Writings from the Heart
116. The Big Day – Making Sense of Complications
117. Endless chase. – Journey
118. Juventud – apserranoblog
119. Welcome to Mother Willow – Slow Down World
120. Gauche – indisputably inconclusive
121. wordsareallihavesite – Youth
122. Musings and My Two Cents – Embrace the Hoary Head?
123. eladybug52 – Future Hope
124. prompt: youth – that One Puzzle Piece you can Never Find
125. rhymeagination – A BLAND UNTRUTH
126. Youth – Covert Novelist
127. To Wear A Rainbow – glorious days…haiku
128. Jumping in – I dream of sumac and milkweed (and other wild things)
129. Timeandreflections – The GrandYouth
130. You Might Have Been A Hippie If… But Possibly Your Were Not – Growing Up in the 1950s and 1960s – Blog to Memoir
131. Can parents be gardeners of children’s creativity? – a brave new science
132. Nicholas – The Cliffhanger Chronicle
133. In the Heaven of Hopscotch – Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky
134. The Road Not Taken*(with a little twist) – The Corporate Fawn
135. SERENDIPITY – LIFE CONTINUES WHEN YOUTH HAS FLED
136. vertical combustion – forgotten toys and the child who never grew up
137. Tapping into Anger, Hitler Youth – BraveSmartBold
138. Running: The Fountain of Youth – Sneakers on Pavement
139. Think About It – A Song of Youth Eternal
140. Blog Your Memories – Carry Your Youth with You All Throughout Your Life – Blog to Memoir
141. Musings of a Random Mind – Do the Math: Secret to Staying Young
142. Youth Pastime – Mac’s World
143. Crabbed Age and Youth – The new-ness
144. Finding yourself in your youth – ideas and culture
145. Kimberlee K. – Stop Trying to Be Relatable
146. Remembering the Summertimes of My Youth – A Time When the Living Was Easy – Blog to Memoir
147. A Texan’s View of Upstate New York – First Date
148. Anton’s Ideas – HELPING A CONFUSED YOUNGSTER
149. Youth – Daily Prompt – ladyleemanila
150. Youth and homelessness – My Dilemma’s – All About Change
151. Flowers and Breezes – Youth
152. When I Was Your Age – The DADgum Blog
153. Saint P. Blogging – Youth is the Prompt for Today
154. I wrote a book. Now what? – Silliness and seriousness
155. Sublimed – Ayoka
156. Youth – Think Out Loud by Aida
157. Are the Boomers causing a Business Bust? – The Mono-Economy of the New Millennium
158. Youth is the Prompt for Today – Saint P. Blogging
159. And they said – A Novice blogger
160. The happy Quitter! – To Hell, my Love with you
161. Youth – daily prompt – Postcard from a Pigeon
162. Keep the Kitchen Alive! Teach Youth to Cook! – The Cookbook Project
163. The Gad About Town – Meeting Myself
164. Youth: The Dreamers of Tomorrow – Your deevibes
165. Original-Dante – Untold Chronicles (Part 10)
166. On Realizing that Time Is No Longer on My Side – Blog to Memoir
167. Michael J. Fite – What Can Adults Learn From Children?
168. Jumping in the Leaves – Writer in Progress
169. kStan(ly) kSays – if we’re smart
170. debooWORKS – Fray
171. MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO – Youth
172. I Dunno About that Youth Thing – Where’s the Windmill?
173. Relax – Ah, the joys
174. thelonerose – Youth is relative
175. America’s Future Circa 1957 – My Second Act, Scene One
176. Saturin and Her Moons – We Always Want What We Don’t Have
177. We Got Emojional – Ripples N Reflections
178. An idea of a rival.. – pins & ashes
179. The Cat Chronicles – Daily Feline Prompt: Feline Youth
180. kStan(ly) kSays – rebel tendencies
181. Youth, maturity and The Green Woman – Jane Dougherty Writes
182. kStan(ly) kSays – how did the hill
183. Jackie’s World Travel – ON top of Paris
184. Fade – Words For Leaving
185. Respite – Words For Leaving
186. Arrested Development – a nomad in cyberspace
187. Can’t prove a thing – writemebad
188. Youth – hughhallblog
189. Writing Is My Fountain of Youth – Jacki Kellum – Why I Write – Blog to Memoir
190. Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss – The Youth of days gone by
191. Do Not Annoy The Writer – Youth!
192. Lost Property Repository – The innocence of youth
193. A Vibrant Palette – Age is just a number
194. Hot White Snow – French Memories
195. Devil Doll Musings – Smells Like Teen Spirit
196. Youth; – anatomyofeverything
197. To the Time Beetle – Bits of Poems
198. Youth (Daily Prompt) – STARfisher’s Blog
199. Lost Property Repository – Wasted Youth A musical interlude
200. Crazy city life! Part two – Bum Tales
201. YOUTH – My QuotesVilla
202. ….on pets and prisoners….. – daily prompt: youth
203. A Living Hell – mySestina
204. A Letter To My Biological Father – Danielle Dayney
205. Everyday Essentialism – Youth
206. Designer Sophisticate – Call me Methuselah.
207. Tiny tales – Daily Word Prompt – The Cliffhanger Chronicle
208. La Tour Abolie – How not to jump over a toadstool
209. Youth Again – Pete Gardner Psalms
210. Click here. Like this. Follow me. – Justus Books
211. Alienora Standing up for Alienora: Youth onwards! – Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman!
212. Frank Prem – Reading Modern Poets
213. Frank Prem – In Blue
214. domestic diva – Hey Dad, take a pause