Wednesday 18 April 2012

Gardening ... And Coincidences.

This week is the first UK National Gardening Week. The Royal Horticultural Society is putting on all kinds of events to celebrate gardeners and encourage more people to take it up. You can find out more at

Rampant honeysuckle

Right - so that's very nice to know - but what has it got to do with books - other than gardening books, that is?

Well - I like gardening. Even better, I like going to gardening shows and visiting other people's gardens - all the fun, and none of the work. So - when I was looking for a career for the heroine of Never Coming Home, I decided to make her a landscape gardener. I wanted an unusual career, and one that would demonstrate her artistic talents in a way that would not impress her father, who is a famous artist and a terrible snob about people who can't paint. I made her a very successful designer, who has won medals for her gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show but who is also a hands-on gardener. I thought I knew just enough about both to be able to bluff. It's worked so far!

And this is where the first coincidence comes in. When I read about Gardening Week and thought it was a good subject for a blog post, I checked up on what special events were planned. And today proved to be Careers Day - highlighting the possibilities of gardening as - yes, a career. Just like Kaz. Neat, or what?

Impersonating an Italian palazzo
 And it gets better. The day is being hosted by gardener/author/TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh. And Alan is also one of the plenary speakers at the Winchester Writers' Conference this year. I have a special place in my heart for Winchester, as I was a finalist in their competitions on a number of occasions. Never Coming Home was one of those finalists, in the first 500 words of a crime novel category. I'd encourage anyone trying to get themselves published to have a go at the Winchester contests - there are a lot of them, in all sorts of categories. You don't have to be attending the conference to enter, although the entry fee is slightly lower if you are. And if you're there, you have the magic chance of seeing your pen name on the finalists board at lunch time on Saturday. Which means walking around in a happy daze for the rest of the day. You can't beat that feeling. If you attend the conference you also get the chance at workshops and panels, individual interviews with editors and agents, meeting other authors - it's a fun weekend. Booking is open now

So - that's gardening ... and coincidences.

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