Friday, March 01, 2013

A Date With Kate - Patron Saints

Happy Saint David’s Day

As so many of you will know, I have special links with Wales – I spent many happy family holidays in North Wales and specially on Angelsey  in a small  place called Treaddur Bay where we rented a house right by the sand dunes.  So I suppose it was inevitable  that when I went to university I picked the lovely seaside town of Aberystwyth when I went to study English and Librarianship.  I spent three happy years there, and met my husband the Babe Magnet in my final year.  Another two years, studying for an MA (writing a thesis on the Bronte sisters) and we finally left , reluctantly, to get married and start a new life in Lincolshire.

But the connections with Wales  continued – some more holidays, and then we accepted the invitation to run a course (the Babe Magnet) and give a main talk (me) at the wonderful Writers’ Holiday in Caerleon.   One visit to the event and we were hooked. We haven’t been able to stay away ever since and when lovely Anne and Gerry Hobbs set up the new venture Fishguard Writers’ and Artists’ Weekends  at Fishguard Bay, and asked if I would like to run a Romance Writing course there, I didn’t hesitate. A decision I’ve never regretted. I love the sleepy village of Fishguard, love the comfortable hotel with the spectacular views of the bay just outside out bedroom window.  The staff are so welcoming, the food good . . . We’re hooked again.  A couple of years later, I  created the Advance Romance Writing Course specially for Fishguard. The weekend’s intensive format is perfect for this extra detailed course, with scope for writing exercises, workshops, discussions and one to ones.  I’ve just come back from the most recent Fishguard weekend where the course was such fun from start to finish and the group jelled together so brilliantly – those who weren’t friends before it started, soon were by the time we were halfway through.

So- St David is the  patron saint of Wales and, in one of those desultory ‘just wondering’ conversations over breakfast, for some reason the Magnet and I were discussing the whole idea of Patron Saints – and we debated who might be the patron saint of writers. We were unable to come up with any ideas, so I checked out the web site devoted to the whole topic.

I never expected there would be a patron saint of romantic novelists – and there wasn’t. But not even novelists get a look in! There are patron saints for Bookkeepers, Bookbinders, Booksellers, book trade . . . but not the book writers it seems

Poets in general have a choice - Brigid of Ireland , Cecilia , Columba ,David – Cecilia is also the patron saint of musicians so I suppose that’s linking poetry and music. And there's a really weird story of poor Theodore the Written-Upon who had a 12-line iambic verse cut into his forehead

So – not novelists – but writers in general have some possibilities: Francis de Sales, John the Apostle, Lucy, Paul the Apostle

What a strange bunch –

Francis de Sales 1567 – 1622 was a priest, preacher and writer on theology. But I did find a quote of his that might be appropriate to romantic fiction writers –

Perfection of life is the perfection of love. For love is the life of the soul.

John the Apostle was originally a fisherman but he left that to be with Jesus. As an author - he wrote the fourth Gospel, three Epistles, and possibly the Book of Revelation.

I couldn’t find any quotes from him but I did find this amazing traditional story –

Emperor Dometian had him brought to Rome, beaten, poisoned, and thrown into a

cauldron of boiling oil, but he stepped out unharmed and was banished to Patmos


Perhaps that’s a metaphor there for the writing life – you might go through the torments of the damned writing a book, but when it’s finished, it looks as if you’ve just ‘stepped out unharmed’.


Lucy – well, I have a sister named Lucy so the grim story of Saint Lucy is one I (unfortunately) grew up on

Lucy vowed her life and chastity to God so her rejected pagan bridegroom, Paschasius, denounced Lucy as a Christian to the governor of Sicily. The governor sentenced her to forced prostitution, but when guards went to fetch her, they could not move her even when they hitched her to a team of oxen. The governor ordered her killed instead. After torture that included having her eyes torn out, she was surrounded by bundles of wood which were set afire; they went out. She prophesied against her persecutors, and was executed by being stabbed to death with a dagger

Romance ? Er – no ? And the traditional picture of poor Lucy with her eyes on a dish in her hand is not one I’ve ever like to study too closely.

Paul - or Saul - the Apostle. Well I’ve had a hero called Saul and one called Paul so perhaps that's a better start - Saul is the man who had the dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus and then travelled extensively, preaching. He also wrote many Letters which are collected in the Bible. But Saul/Paul was not very keen on women and he constantly preached that women should be subject to their husbands - though he did tell husbands to be faithful to their wives and ‘do not be harsh with them’.
So which one of those would you choose for a Patron Saint for you as a writer? It might be worth knowing who are the appropriate saints to turn to in case you want to pray for success in your writing – though none of them really seem to me to fit with being a romance writer!

I have written quite a few Sicilian heroes though – and so perhaps the most interesting one for me right now is poor Lucy with her eyes in a dish. Her dates and place of birth and death are – born 283, died 304 – in Syracuse, Sicily.   So maybe I should send a quick prayer to Lucy to help me with my latest recalcitrant hero!
Kate’s latest hero is Alexei Sarova,  a black sheep prince who has to face up to a new and unexpected destiny.   A Throne For the Taking will be published in the  Royal and Ruthless miniseries in June.
Other up to date new and details of all Kate’s books can be found on her web site and in her  blog.


  1. Great post, Kate. Happy St David's day! As someone who lives in Wales I'm happily wearing my daffodil today. Caroline x

  2. Lovely post Kate. My granny always remembered the Saint's Days ~ George, Andrew, Patrick and David. The only one I get right is St Patrick's. Thanks Caroline for the daffodil comment. I should go get myself some today.