Lara was our guest back in 2011…
Hello! My name is Lara Higgins and I’ve just been filmed to appear on the Alan Titchmarsh Show, as a finalist in the Women’s Fiction category in the Peoples Novelist Contest, my entry being my novel, Mrs Jones.
The whole thing was just so surreal, from Harper Collins phoning to say I was on the long list, then short list, to catching a train to London and being picked up in a private cab to be whisked to the ITV studios. There I was rushed into Make-Up, where more make-up than I have worn in my entire life was applied, and my hair (which I spend hours straightening) was twizzled and curled… and then I was called onto set for the rehearsal.
So, so odd, standing behind the scenes, hearing the theme tune and being called on stage to shake Alan’s hand, sit down, knees front, eyes left and chat to the man himself. When asked what I do apart from write, I told him I was a lunchtime supervisor at the local primary school, which means I get paid to make children eat vegetables. He insisted that I used that line on the take later in the day…
Later in the day, the judges arrived: Josephine Cox, Cathy Kelly and Penny Smith… Time for the show to be recorded. I was shaking in places I really didn’t think could shake. I walked like a very scared penguin and, according to my husband, I spoke with a rather strange Lancashire accent. Most odd as I’m from Leicestershire, and then came the line that Alan wanted me to say… He was looking at me, he was smiling, he was encouraging, he was damn lovely actually… Could I say my line? I did, eventually, though for a very scary moment I nearly declared that I make vegetables eat children!
I didn’t win the heat, but if given the chance to do it all again I would. It was the most fantastic, surreal experience of my life (apart from childbirth).
I believe the show is due to be aired on the first of November, ITV1 at 3 pm.
Maybe someone out there will be watching who can recognise my genius, well masked by my stuttering, but whatever, it was an experience on the well trodden road to publication that a few weeks ago I wouldn’t have believed I’d travel.
Can I say thank you here to everyone who has encouraged me and helped me so far? One day I’ll pay you all back, and one last thing, my right hand has touched Alan Titchmarsh, in an appropriate manner of course!