Author Ambushes

It seems to be part of this writing life that surprises can be sprung upon you from absolutely nowhere.

This week, it was my pleasure to talk to some of the ladies of the Exeter Women's Institute about my new book, and they were even kind enough to buy some copies -

WI Beacon Heath.JPG

It was a delightful evening, partly because it was my first talk about The Dark Horizon, and my first reading from it, but mostly because the ladies were so lovely and kind, as ever, and even laughed at my jokes.

(That's always a relief, and a bonus.)

But the point of this blog was the surprise they had for me. I'd finished my talk, and signed a few books, was feeling relaxed and contented, and then they announced...

... it was time to judge the flower garden.

They have a tradition of creating a little garden in a box, and it was my job to decide which of the finalists was the best -

WI flowers.JPG

(Being a crime writer, the answer comes at the end, naturally.)

If I thought I knew pressure in my day job, with live broadcasting, or as an author doing talks about my books, it was nothing compared to having to make this decision.

I could see there were factions within the crowd for each garden, and the competition and rivalry were intense. That's real pressure!

Anyway, I managed to make a decision, (and without getting lynched) but on the drive home was left reflecting about the fun of live performance, in whatever field of life.

No matter how much you script, prepare and plan, you just never know what's going to happen, or how ready you'll be - but you've got to react to it and improvise. And who'd have it any other way?

An author's life... full of surprises - and all the better for it.

Ps. Since you asked... I found some fine words for each garden (I honestly thought both were fun pieces of creativity) before choosing the one on the left. And before you say anything, the judge's decision is final!