The marvellous Kate Walker is talking to the Pink Heart Society about birthdays of a creative nature...
When the dates for this month’s PHS columns were assigned, I sort of knew beforehand that I’d get the Thursday – Thursday May 7th.
You, see that date is really quite important to me. No, I’m not talking about the fact that for the UK it’s finally voting day (finally – after what seems like a lifetime of speechifying, campaigning, debating . . .) No, Thursday May 7th is rather more important to me for personal reasons, because it happens to be my birthday. I’m . . .er - 31 again (and again . .)
So the topic for my blog is pretty obvious - birthdays. Hmm – but as I’m writing this before the actual day, I can’t exactly tell you what I’m doing for my big day.
I know that there have been some postal deliveries, envelopes and a couple of parcels that the Babe Magnet has hidden away before I could look at them. I understand that my son and his fiancée are coming round in the evening and we’re all going out for a meal.
And I strongly suspect (OK – I sort of know ) that there will be some gifts that are squarish, book-shaped and will contain – well, books! My son at least will always give me book(s). He’s very good at choosing them too so I usually enjoy the book haul I get!
So, instead I’ve been wondering about the actual date of my birthday – May 7th. I’m not sure what horoscopes say about people born on this date. Not sure if it was an auspicious date for a writer to be born, if the planets were aligned in such a way as to make sure that I became a novelist, a romance novelist at that. So I thought I’d take a look and see if any other writers or artistic types at least were born on the same date as I was.
I found these names:
Michael Rosen – well, at least he’s a writer. He write children’s books. Some great children’s books. I mean, who - which child at least - could resist a book called Fluff the Farting Fish? Or Mumble, Custard, Grumble Belly and Gravy. He was Children’s Laureate for some years. And he wrote Michael Rosen’s Sad Book, a book that will tear at your heart as he talks about the death of his son from meningitis while still a teenager.
So a great writer – but no, not in romance.
Who else shares my birthday? Peter Carey does. I’ll admit I admire his achievement in writing not one but two Booker Prize winning novels (Hilary Mantel isn't the only one) but I have to confess they’re not my sort of romantic story.
But perhaps the poets can help – the first one I found was Jenny Joseph – the writer of a poem I love – the one titled Warning. The one that begins . . .
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
Oops . . .anyone who knows me knows that I already wear a lot of purple – but that’s not because I’m old – honest! I just like the colour. But I really don’t wear hats, certainly not a red one!
But, no romance there either – but, wait a minute – here’s the final writer I found. Another poet – Robert Browning. Now surely he has potential. After all he swept into Elizabeth Barrett’s life and knocked her for six – emotionally at least that is! She fell madly in love with him and they ran away together, defying her tyrannical father and risking being cut out of his life for ever. A great start. And they stayed married for over 15 years, until her death in 1861.
And Robert Browning gave me some great romantic quotes. How about:
Love is the energy of life.
Or this one: Take away love and our earth is a tomb.
Now couldn’t those be a quote for a romance novelist to live by.
And then there’s the great romantic quote from his writings:
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
I’m sure that could almost be used on the last page of one of my novels, at a point where the hero is finally declaring his love for his heroine.
So I haven’t found romance novelist to share my big day with – but a romantic poet will do. And looking at a slightly wider spectrum, the week of my birthday is shared by two of my favourite romance influences – Michelle Reid whose birthday was May 3rd – and Billy Joel who wrote ‘I love you just the way you are’ has a birthday coming up on May 9th. So I’m in good company.
And just yesterday my editor gave me the best birthday gift a writer could ask for by telling me the revisions worked on my latest book – aka Nabil and Aziza’s story – and she loves it. So now as well as my birthday I can celebrate the fact that Destined for The Desert King will be published in December this year . It will be my 64th romance title. That’s just made my week
What about you? Do you share your birthday with anyone you admire? Or is there someone in your family who does? Or someone in your family who has a birthday in May?
I like to share my birthday with friends – so I have a signed copy of Olivero’s Outrageous Proposal for someone who leaves a comment today.
My most recent book - Olivero's Outrageous Proposal was out in April. It’s still around on Amazon etc.
And the 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance is now available on Kindle. There’s also a new revised paperback edition published – and it’s cheaper than the old paperback edition!
You can also find her on her author page on Facebook.
PS. I may be celebrating but in Nepal there are people who are just hanging on to being alive after the devastating earthquake there. Authors For Nepal is a collection of writers who are all offering signed books etc for auction to make a contribution to this vital cause.
The auction is on ebay and you can find my lot - three books and a copy of the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance here and the whole auction - now live - can be found here. Take a look at the great lots on offer - make a bid - and you can help the people of Nepal as well as getting yourself some great signed books, critiques etc,