First of two tours this evening is a guest post written by the author of ‘Marrow Jam’, Susan A.King. Before I share the post, here is a little bit more about the book:
Ever wondered why someone would write a book about marrows? Now is your chance to find out as I share the guest post written by Susan A.King – enjoy!
What, you may wonder, would compel someone to a write a story about murder and marrows? I can assure you, it started innocently enough.
On leaving secretarial college, and with a slump in the job market for office clerks, I unexpectedly found myself employed as a trainee florist – a job I grew to love. A year later, and having finally landed myself a job as a secretary, I was approached by a friend of the family who suggested I join her in entering the floral competition at the local show. I did question if it was entirely fair. I mean, after all, 12 months working as an apprentice in the floristry industry surely made me over-qualified. With her assurance all would be fine, I duly completed the application form and planned my submission.
The evening before the show, having chosen a category where the arrangement could be delivered in its finished form, I arrived at the entrance to the floral marquee with a not unsubstantial amount of confidence. I made my entrance, the small masterpiece I had created on full view. The first thing to hit me when I walked inside was the scent of sphagnum moss, the second thing, and right between the eyes, was the industry occurring at the centre of the marquee. Armpit deep in florist foam, a mountain of flowers at their feet, a platoon of ladies were mid-task assembling the largest displays of floral art I had ever seen. With a snip of twig here, a trim of stem there, they worked with precision and skill to create what can only be described as perfection. I looked again (with quickly diminishing self-assurance) at my own entry, wondering if a swift exit wasn’t an entirely unsound decision, when the competition adjudicator sidled alongside. Taking me by the arm, she escorted me to the signing-in desk. “Is it your first competition?” she asked. “Yes”, I mumbled, only too aware the calibre of the creation in my arms had drawn her to this conclusion. To my utter shame, I realised that the people present not only had considerably more years experience over my own, they were possessed of an ingenuity and flair I could only dream of.
Not without a certain degree of envy, I inspected each and every submission, taking time to congratulate their creators on their interpretation of the class title and infinite talent. During this unhurried amble, it became clear that everyone present was striving for a personal best and their tireless preparation had been rewarded with the panorama of flawless entries now filling the marquee.
It was at the prize-giving ceremony the next day, when my friend received the award for Best in Show, that a thought crossed my mind. Everyone was smiling but, I was sure, like myself, questioning what they needed to do to find themselves on the winner’s podium. What lengths, I wondered, would someone go to in order to win the coveted trophy?
My first novel, Marrow Jam, is a story based on competition rivalry and the not-so-smooth road travelled to achieve Best in Show.
Susan A King