|Bride Emily Fletcher with groom Graeme Crossley and myself, |
in the gardens at Greywalls Hotel after the ceremony.
Photo courtesy Armands Sprogis.
Some months ago, writer friend Kate Blackadder emailed me an unusual request, received through Edinburgh Writers. She'd been contacted by a bride-to-be in East Lothian, she told me, who was looking for a novelist to write the story of her wedding. Was I interested? She had thought of me because a) my Heartlands series of novels is set in East Lothian and b) I also have a background as a journalist.
Was I interested? Not at all! Far too difficult. How would you do it? Besides, writing for a bride? Aren't they all picky, hysterical, demanding? I made myself a cuppa and wandered around my kitchen. I looked at the email again. Sipped my coffee. Had a third look. The idea was worming its way into my head. What if ...
What if the bride was OK? Could I use this to promote my novels? How could I write it? How much to charge?
Before I could think too hard, I emailed Kate to say I'd be willing to discuss the project.
A few months later, I find myself with a notebook full of jottings. I've interviewed the cake maker, the florist, the chef, the hotel's assistant manager, the hairdresser, the photographer and at least thirty guests. My publisher has contacted the Press and today's Sunday Herald features a full half page article on 'another first for Scotland'.
Wow. No pressure.
Emily Fletcher is an amazing young woman. From a family of farmers and racing drivers, she is a former racing driver herself. A twin, she has been something of a rebel and has turned her hand to not a few careers before settling into property development and – yesterday – marriage. Crucially from my point of view, she is not only excited about what I will make of her big day, but also professes to be very relaxed about it. I have no clear guidelines, no word count to achieve, a loose time scale. I hope I have read her right on all this because I have little idea about how I'm going to tackle the writing.
Despite the Sunday Herald's take, it won't be a novel, though it will almost certainly be a book, because Emily would like it printed in book form (probably with a few photos) to send to her guests as a memento. But it can't be a report either, that wouldn't feel right. Guests may be disguised by pseudonyms, but they will be real people. There's a wealth of material – but still the dilemma: how to present it?
Ideas on a postcard please ...