I was over the moon to be asked to take part in Catherine Alliott’s blog tour for her new book, My Husband Next Door. When I first discovered Chick Lit, Catherine was one of the first authors I fell in love with. Her books are hilarious and I recommend everyone reads them. In this post, Catherine talks about country weddings.
Country weddings can be absolutely delightful. If everything comes together – weather, catering, families – there's nothing nicer, but for those very same reasons – weather, catering, families –they can also be fraught with difficulties.
A great friend of mine has a beautiful country house which she inherited from her parents, but which costs a fortune to run. To make it pay, she has an enormous permanent marquee in her garden from where, every Saturday during the summer, she hosts wedding receptions. Luckily most go off without a hitch, but some have been disastrous. There was the time the heavens opened from six in the morning to six at night, resulting in a river running straight through the marquee. Or the time the caterers misjudged the alcohol and the police had to be called as there were so many fist fights between the guests. Or the time the groom got cold feet literally hours before the service, and the whole thing had to be called off. Poor, poor girl. But the one that really sticks in my mind is the time when one of my friend's pigs –yes, she keeps pigs too, she's a busy girl – escaped in the middle of the festivities.
Below is a passage from The Secret Life of Evie Hamilton. I stole this moment – we writers are like magpies, we nick anything – and embellished it a bit, for dramatic purposes. But not much, actually. Her pig WAS called Leonard, and he WAS enormous, and he DID make a terrible mess. There really wasn't much for me to do, except dedicate the book to my friend Anna.
It was at this salient moment that the pig chose to enter the arena at racing speed. It stampeded through the crowd and sprayed guests left, right and centre as they ran, shrieking, for cover.
The pig continued to storm: he careered around the dance floor like a bull in a ring, knocking people off their feet, sending champagne glasses flying, upending tables and spindly gilt chairs at the fringes of the dance floor. Mouth gaping and barking loudly, he was huge, bewildered and terrifying. Women ran shrieking for exits, clutching their hats, and a huddle of bridesmaids who’d taken cover under a table rose up like a flock of birds as Leonard charged towards them, scattering them in all directions in a flutter of ivory silk. Men shouted orders to each other, to surround him, to corner him. One whipped off his jacket and fell on him, attempting to wrap the pig’s head in his coat, to blind him. But Leonard was big, clever, and surprisingly nimble. Despite the fact that his trotters failed to gain purchase on the parquet dance floor and he slithered frantically, he still evaded capture; bucking like a bronco, tossing the coat off his head and the fifteen-stone man from his back, breaking out of the circle.
Obviously the moral of this story is lock up your daughters –and your animals!
One of the occupational hazards of being a romantic fiction writer is that quite a lot of my stories inevitably end in marriage – and why not! One that springs to mind for obvious reasons is The Wedding Day (you have to wait until the end to get the wedding but it IS quite romantic. As I recall, they float across the river to the church in a boat . . .) Another is Not That Kind of Girl where poor Henny is jilted literally at the church door. The cad of a boyfriend is a guard’s officer called Rupert, so dashing and so good looking, and who, fifteen years later, when she's happily married with two children, has the temerity to turn up in her life yet again . . .
So yes, weddings can be beginnings for me, and they can also be endings. Either way, as a writer, they are gold dust . . .
LINKS TO BUY:
*SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL OFFER – A CROWDED MARRIAGE AND THE WEDDING DAY AT £1.99*- BUY HERE: http://bit.ly/crowdedebook and http://bit.ly/weddingebook
My Husband Next Door by Catherine Alliott (1st August, eBook £7.99/ Trade paperback £12.99, Michael Joseph) – BUY HERE: http://bit.ly/MHNDebook
To find out more about Catherine Alliott: