Mistaken Identity

“I was going to give Malcolm food poisoning. Oil was heating in my frying pan, in which I would cook the out-of-date sausages I had retrieved from our bin. They were for Malcolm’s lunch. Malcolm was my husband of forty-one years, with whom, all things considered, I had been fairly happy.”

A Recycled Marriage‘ © 2021 Rosemary Mairs

That was an extract from the title story of my debut short story collection, A Recycled Marriage (out on 15th November, available to pre-order from Amazon).  It is about the newly-retired Malcolm becoming obsessed with environmental issues, transforming his house to be energy efficient, and giving up holidays abroad. Single-handedly trying to save the planet, according to his long-suffering wife Sylvie. Their marriage reaches crisis point.

You have scribbled me out!”

That was an extract from my husband’s reaction to my book cover.

I am thrilled with the design (care of the talented Adam Craig, Cinnamon Press). I love the old polaroid photograph of wedding cake figurines, depicting Sylvie and Malcolm. My husband’s reaction reminded me however that when people read your work they seem to want to find evidence of themselves in the characters or plot.

My inspiration for A Recycled Marriage came whilst watching the news (I am a news addict, could watch it on an all day loop, I know, strange). A man was showing a reporter around his new house, proudly explaining its energy efficiency credentials. That was when I had a what if moment. What if his wife (whom he mentioned, but she didn’t appear on camera) wasn’t as enthusiastic, in fact maybe she didn’t join him for the interview because she wasn’t ‘green’ and was fed up with him going on about it. Malcolm and Sylvie (the names popped into my head) were born, and I hurried to my laptop to start typing.