Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Sunday, 6 September 2015

The world's first 'wedding novel'? by Jenny Harper

Bride Emily Fletcher with groom Graeme Crossley and myself,
in the gardens at Greywalls Hotel after the ceremony.
Photo courtesy Armands Sprogis.
Today I don't even need to ponder about what to write – my topic is topmost in my mind and will probably remain there for the next few weeks.

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 ...


13 comments:

  1. Such a fascinating idea. I'm looking forward to seeing how you handle it. As you said, no pressure :)

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    1. It is, isn't it? But a tough project.

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  2. What an amazing, exciting project! I can't wait to see what you come up with!

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    1. Don't worry, Jennifer, you'll be the first!

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  3. I hope you'll be able to show us a wee sneak peek at the finished book, Jenny. Wonderful project - sorry I don't have any answers to your questions, though.

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  4. Maybe a wee extract, Mary ... :-)

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  5. My interest is in the many sides of Emily - the racing driver (wow), the career woman and the stories of the guests who knew her in different ways - somehow they all come together in a bride who then, in a sense, becomes someone else.

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    1. There are certainly plenty of stories, Lesley! Some great ones. And I see what you mean about what the bride becomes through other people's eyes ... interesting angle. I shall ponder... Thanks for dropping by.

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  6. An exciting challenge, Jenny! Can't think of anyone more capable of rising to it.

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    1. Thanks for your faith, Joan - I'm going to need it!

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  7. An exciting challenge, Jenny! Can't think of anyone more capable of rising to it.

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  8. Coming late to this one and can't think how I missed such a stunning piece. What a beautiful bride and the writer's not half bad either.....nah, make that stunning as well!

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    1. Ooh, thanks Linda! Have started writing ... ish...

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