When I was little I’d dream of working in a sweet factory where I’d be elbow-deep in sherbet-lolly mix and marshmallow all day. I’d never want a day off, I’d even double up and do the night shift, and I’d be paid in candy.
This was my top-secret future career until one day my big brother was boasting about becoming a fireman: “Best job in the world,” he said.
I was not to be outdone. “I want to work in a sweet factory. That’s the best job in the world.”
He grabbed me by the elbow, leaned in close to my ear. “When you go for the interview they make you sit on a chair at the end of the conveyor belt and eat every sweet that comes off it, until you’re sick, so you don’t want to eat sweets ever again. Then they let you have the job.”
Budding candy maker crushed in a whisper.
Fast forward and my new book Crimson Poison is about to be published, and Spun Candy have invited me to a masterclass in making themed sweets for the launch party.
I walk through the Spitalfields shop’s glass doors, into the candy lab. The air smells like candyfloss. Rows of steel tables with marble tops are piled high with jewel-coloured sweets being cut, packed, and wrapped by hand. There’s not a conveyor belt in sight.
Apron on, and I meet Tom, Master Candy Maker. He shows me his sketches of how he wants to create the book’s heroine, orphan heiress and kung fu student Nat Walker, and Fizz, her dragon robot, as giant lollipops.
“They look great, but how do you make them in candy?”
I’m expecting a computer program, robotic arms …. instead he takes a vat of molten sugar and pours it out onto the table. It’s cooling off fast. He selects various potion bottles and mixes in red, white, green, yellow and black with a palette knife, and then with his hands, kneads the cooling sugar like bread dough.
There’s no piping bag, only scissors, as he rolls out strands for shaping. It’s an artist at work. It’s sweet alchemy. Giant lollipops are rolled and sculpted into shape. I get to mould and shape my own version of Fizz in emerald, fashioning his flames out of sticky orange and yellow syrup. Mine’s an abstract Fizz. If you screw up your eyes and hold the stick at a distance he might just pass for being a dragon of sorts, but Tom’s are brilliant. He’s brought Nat and Fizz into glorious, technicoloured sweet life. I’m pretty sure that this is one of the best jobs in the world – yum!
Thank you, Susan! Crimson Poison is out now – you can take a look inside the book below, and buy it online here.
Cinematic and fast paced, this action-packed story is full of high-tech gadgetry and fun – perfect for 9+ fans of exciting, futuristic adventure.
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