Today marks the end of an important chapter in my writing life. It’s publication day for The Bramblewick Collection – the boxset of all six Bramblewick novels in ebook form. Edited on Saturday 1 February to add that as well as this, the final paperback of the series is now available – another publication day celebration. The third volume contains the last two novels: Summer at the Country Practice and Christmas at Cuckoo Nest Cottage.
It’s a big moment for me. Bramblewick has taken off more than I ever, in my wildest dreams, expected it would. I’ve had so many messages about the series from readers, so much encouragement, and so many requests for more Bramblewick books that it’s really amazed me.
The funny thing is, Bramblewick started off as a Kearton Bay novel. It should have been Kearton Bay 3. Somehow, though, it never felt right and I ended up shelving it in favour of what became Once Upon a Long Ago. I thought the idea was good, though. Is home a place or a person? I wanted to explore that issue, and I decided to write the story after all, but set it in a completely different location featuring new characters.
Bramblewick had already featured in the Kearton Bay series. It was the village that Flynn took Rose to, for a very personal reason, in A Kiss from a Rose. It was where he’d practised as a GP before arriving in Kearton Bay, and where he’d lived with his first wife. I’d even mentioned the pub, The Bay Horse. It seemed as good a place to set my new story as any, so I went with it. .
I only intended to write one book set there. I had no plans to start another series as I was already juggling three of them. My plan was to send it to DC Thomson, in the hope they would accept it as a pocket novel. At the time, it was called The Doctor’s Daughter. To my delight, DC Thomson accepted it and published it as the People’s Friend pocket novel, Surrender to Love. I then sent it to Ulverscroft who had previously published All Because of Baxter. (I later updated and published that as Baxter’s Christmas Wish.) They also accepted it and published it as part of their Linford Romance Library large print collection. Those books are available in many public libraries.
I then changed the title and a couple of slight details and published it on Kindle as New Doctor at Chestnut House. I was so chuffed when it got a bestseller flag and I started thinking more and more about my new little village and the characters I’d already created. Despite my plans to write other books, I temporarily pushed them aside and wrote a second Bramblewick story – Christmas at the Country Practice. This did even better and became my highest charting novel so far, making it to 200 in the overall Kindle chart and earning another bestseller flag, which, I’m delighted to say, it is still wearing as I write this post.
Between writing other novels, I’ve kept returning to Bramblewick, writing two books a year for the series. I’d created a group of six friends and wanted to tell all their stories. Anna, Holly, Rachel and Abbie work at the local doctor’s surgery. Nell runs the village cafe and bakery, Spill the Beans, and Izzy is a teacher at the village primary school. My stories have covered step-parenting, being a parent of a child with autism, unrequited love, broken engagements, failed marriages, how people react when a woman doesn’t want children, abusive relationships, and illness.
Sound a bit grim? I promise, they’re not. There’s some real warmth and humour in the books. They’ve also featured friendship, weddings, loving families, babies, the chaotic but joyful organisation of a school Nativity play, renovating a house, rescuing animals, new beginnings, and lots of romance. I even managed to mention Kearton Bay a few times, and include a few familiar characters from there. You can read all the blurbs for my Bramblewick books by clicking on my Books page here.
I’ve grown to love my Bramblewick family and I will miss them very much. Today, on publication day, I’d really like to thank all those of you who have supported this series. You’ve been so kind and generous with your comments and messages. It’s been a wonderful experience. But all good things must come to an end, as some rotten killjoy once said. I’m now in the process of finishing off all my other current series and clearing the decks for brand new writing projects next year. I have a lovely new location planned and I’ve already met some of the locals there. I can’t wait to start telling their stories! I really hope you’ll stick with me, because I’m dying for you to meet them all.
The Bramblewick Collection is available here.
You can buy the paperback editions here:
Once again, a huge THANK YOU! You’re all superstars.
Have a great week