I published ‘Lucky Portbraddon’ in 2016 and it had taken me a long time to write! It’s about a family of cousins, the Portbraddons. The idea for it came from my love of music, and watching bands play live and seeing how they unite to play together, even though there maybe backstage differences and conflict. My husband has been in many bands over the years – he’s with a great band now but in the past – particularly when he was much younger, there were sometimes personality clashes and conflicts between the different members. He’s a drummer, so he’d just sit behind his drumkit and watch it all play out! This idea meshed with my thoughts about my own cousins – I am so fortunate that we all get on very well, and there’s mothing better than being in their company, so I had the idea of cousins – but of course being fiction, there had to be conflict!
The Portbraddons had various tensions between them, but their grandmother, old Mrs Portbraddon kept them together and was able to resolve their differences. However, when she dies unexpectedly, despite her age, the family seems to fall apart. This is very different from my cousins, where the loss of our parents over the years has brought us closer together as we become the senior generation.
This is the blurb:
“Lucky Portbraddon… a rather rascally ancestor of my late husband, or so family legend has it, was a favourite friend of the Prince Regent, apparently, but Lucky made, not lost, his fortune…”
A few days before Christmas, as the Portbraddon family gathers at their grandmother’s big house up on the moors, the last of the cousins drives through a blizzard to join them: …There was a severed dog’s head stuck on the gatepost. There’d been a few seconds pause in the driving snow and in those few seconds, lit by their headlights, she glimpsed the wolf-like creature, maw gaping, tongue lolling, teeth bared in one final gory snarl. Then the blizzard obliterated the stone beast and everything else in a seething maelstrom…
A near-death experience does not seem an auspicious start to their family get together, but the cousins determine to celebrate as they always do. However as the old year ends and the new begins it seems their good fortune is about to run out.
An unexpected death, a descent into madness, betrayal… and as the year progresses other things befall them, a stalker, attempted murder, a patently dodgy scheme for selling holiday homes in a dangerous part of the Caucasus… Maybe the Portbraddons are not so lucky… except there is also love, a new home, reconciliation, a spiritual journey, music…
One thing remains true, whatever difficulties arise between them, whatever happens, family is family, family first – “They’re like a big bunch of musketeers, all for one and one for all!”
The first part of the story is told through the eyes of a new girlfriend of one of the cousins – I used this device to introduce the characters in the hope that readers wouldn’t be overwhelmed with all the names, names of wives and children and who was married to whom. She identifies them as ‘the one with the dark beard’, ‘the quiet one’, ‘the one with twinkly eyes’, etc – I find it really frustrating when I’m reading a book and there are too many characters all introduced at once, so I tried really hard to make it clear by having the first chapters from the point of view of an outsider.
‘Lucky Portbraddon’ is a paperback as well as an eBook, and here’s a link:
… and here’s a link to my husband’s band: