Sunday, May 01, 2011
Kate Walker : May Day
Here in England there are lots of old traditions for May Day. There's the custom of going 'a-mayiong' - that is going out to collect branches and flowers to weave into a garland, to bring the spring indoors and decorate the houses. Also first thing on a May Day morning, young girls used to rush out into the garden to wash their faces in the May dew. This was supposed to give them a beautiful complexion, with no spots or freckles for the rest of the year.
So many of the traditions and customs have to do with the return of spring - the sunshine, the flowers - fertility and growth. Thgere's dancing round the maypole which can be seen as a symbol of trees and growth - or a less inocent and more masculine sexual symbol. The men are also much involved in Morris Dancing which with its use of sticks or even swords can be seen as a mock battle amongst the men.
Then there is the crowining of the May Queen where every year a girl from the village is crowned as the May Queen. When I was a child, this was always connected with the local church's May Processsion to honour the Virgin Mary. I was never a May Queen but when I was ten, I was one of her attendants in a pale blue dress and white gloves!
That’s why Spring has always been my favourite season and it’s the reason why I love reunion stories so much. In The Proud Wife, Pietro and Marina start out in one of the darkest times in their lives. When the love they once shared seems to have totally disappeared, been destroyed by the tragedy that tore them apart. Both of them believe that there is no future for them together – and they meet up in the lawyer’s office to put the final nail in the coffin of their marriage – and sign the divorce papers. But from their very first meeting, it’s so obvious that there is still so much between them – if only they can work through the pain of the past.
This spring of course we've had a perfect example of new beginnings and hopes for the future with last Friday's Royal Wedding where Kate Middleton married Prince William. It was everything a wedding should be - handsome groom, beautiful bride, gorgeous dress, stunning floral arrangements. It seemed to me to be a perfect symbol for the coming of Spring and the hope of renewal that brings.
This is why I write romance - I like to think of it as a reminder that when days seem dark and gloomy, whether it's the weather or the season or what life throws at you then you can always hope to begin again, have a fresh start. Perhaps you need a little spring cleaning to brighten the place up but there is always the hope that today the sun will shine and things will start to make you smile. That's what happens to Marina and Pietro in The Proud Wife - and it's what I'm trying to make happen between Carlos the proud but embittered Argentinian and his heroine Martha in the book I'm writing now.
I love giving unhappy, lonely, cynical characters a whole new outlook on life, spring cleaning their relationships and bringing them round to their brand new Happy Ever After.
I have a signed copy of The Proud Wife to give away to one person who comments - to help you celebrate May Day and fresh starts with a brand new book.
You can read more about my books over on my web site and the really up to date news is all on my blog. Hope to see you there!
And the winner is Mary Anne
Mary Anne can you please email me kate AT kate-walker. com and let me know where to send your book.
Thanks to everyone for commenting - see yu next month (or over on my personal blog)