The idea of recording a podcast has intrigued me for some time.
Many authors record their books, and since ‘Brittle Diamonds’ is set in England, with very English characters, and I’m a very English character, I decided to go for it!
The set-up is not sophisticated: I’m uploading each chapter to my website for download by anyone who wishes to listen to it. A new chapter will be added every day.
You can find the podcast here: Brittle Diamonds Podcast
In the meantime, I’ll enjoy revisiting the residents of Brotherton and experiencing the dramatic events that unfold in that usually quiet part of the West Country.
Villagers Dodo and Bob Olding
Two characters in the book, Dodo and Bob, are very dear to me and based on a real couple who used to live down the lane from our house in Gloucestershire. Like us, they owned horses, and the woods running behind our two properties belonged to them.
My husband and I would ride through the forest and up the hill to their house, where the real Dodo and Bob would urge us to put our steeds in their stables while we had a ‘little something to drink’ together.
We loved sitting outside in their quintessentially English garden, looking over the fields and watching the geese and chickens wander in and out of the kitchen, chased by a lively Shi Tzu.
Then my husband and I would get back on our horses and ride home, glowing with bonhomie, before it got too dark to see where we were going.
Bob and Dodo introduced us to the Queen’s cousin and his wife, who lived one door down in a large house with an active ghost. They invited us to cocktails and subsequently to dinner, where my American husband kissed the Princess on the cheek. There was no way I was going to kiss the Prince: he would have been horrified!
Dodo was even more colorful than I have portrayed her in the book. She used to make the most outrageous comments. She and Bob could never agree on the details of any story, and you’d better have eaten before you went to their house, as she usually burnt the food.
But she was a generous and loving soul, and when she passed away from a heart attack, sitting in her chair in the garden, Bob was grief-stricken. He held it together for four years before taking his own life on the anniversary of her death.
As a Catholic, I had no peace because he’d committed suicide, a mortal sin. I worried about Bob’s soul and confided in my parish priest. He told me that God would have understood the condition of my friend’s mind and for me not to be anxious, but to pray for him. This I still do.
I miss them both. Bob got to read Brittle Diamonds before he died, and thoroughly enjoyed my portrayal of him and Dodo. I am so very glad of it.
Why I Wrote the Book
After more than twenty years away from the Catholic Church, I finally returned to the fold.
There are many reasons why, but the catalyst was the birth of my son, although it still took me several years after that to commit fully to my faith.
When our little family moved to the States from England, I was thrilled to discover that Catholics weren’t in the minority as they are in the United Kingdom. I suddenly belonged to a huge community!
My local parish priest was a very charismatic man, whose sermons were both entertaining and educational. We all loved him.
Then came that fatal day when he told us he was under investigation for sexual abuse of seminarians, allegedly perpetrated some thirty years before.
We were all horrified that anyone could make such an accusation against our wonderful pastor, and were confident he would be swiftly exonerated and back in the pulpit.
Sadly, this was not to be the case.
My sorrow at discovering my Catholic leader was not above reproach led me to write this book.
The novel handles several other difficult issues in addition to the priest scandal, which was raging then and sadly still is. It will be a long time before the Catholic Church recovers, but recover she will.
The sermon in Chapter 17 is poached from a real sermon preached at the time of our priest’s disgrace.
I ask you to have patience with my attempts at various British accents and do hope you enjoy this audio version of the book! 🙂