Sunday, May 01, 2011

Kate Walker : May Day

It's  the first of May - May Day - and while it's not quite the beginning of Summer, just the name of the month makes it feel as if the   winter is at last behind us and the beauties of Spring flowers are blossoming in the gardens.

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!

Of course the other traditon for the coming of spring is that of Spring Cleaning, cleaning the house from top to bottom, throwing out everything that's old and doesn't work properly, washing and polishing and leaving the place ready to sparkle in the coming sunny months.

I always feel that Spring has so  much in common with the story in a romance novel  - after all, what are romances but tales of starting over, getting rid of the old, dead feelings, the problems that clutter a relationship and starting fresh and new. That's why I love writing reunion stories like my latest release The Proud Wife which is selling wonderfully in Presents Extra this month.

I love writing this theme because there is so much raw emotion in the idea of second chances, of the hope of starting again, building a new future from the shattered pieces of the old one. So this is a really appropriate time of year for this book to come out.
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.

What about you?  What do you do to mark Spring  - do you do all the Spring Cleaning stuff or do you love to get out it the garden and plant new flowers? Or do you go for walks in the brigther sunshine - or just sit and read with the windows open to let the fresher warmer air come inside?

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)


Nas Dean said...

Hi Kate,

Happy May Day!
And congratulations on the release of The Proud Wife!

Mary Anne Landers said...

Thank you for your post, Kate. The descriptions of May Day festivals are fascinating, and the pictures are gorgeous. I wish we had celebrations like this in the US!

You bring up what I too like best about spring. It's not just the warmer weather and the flowers. It's what it stands for---rebirth, the renewal of life, a fresh start. A person in the midst of winter, whether literally or figuratively, can take comfort in the notion that inevitably, spring will come.

Good luck with your new and upcoming releases.

Kaelee said...

Hi Kate ~ Happy May Day!

May Day isn't celebrated much here in Canada but it used to be celebrated with a parade in the small town I grew up in. They used to raise money selling tickets in order to pick a May Day Queen. It just fell out of fashion I guess.

I still have the warm fuzzies from watching the WEDDING. I stayed up all night and was so happy I did that as it was such a feel good story.

Michele L. said...

Happy May Day Kate!
Spring is my favorite season just because of that fact, it is the rebirth of all things new. Right now I have my window open and the smells of the grass and rain are coming in. Love it! We had a long winter and a very cold, rainy spring here. It is just now starting to warm up. You can tell the birds are happy because they are out there chirping their heads off!

runner10 said...

I love spring. I love sitting on the front porch reading.
I love planting the garden and watching it grow.

Laney4 said...

Happy May Day, Kate!
I organize yard sales for usually 6-13 houses on our street (out of 22) for the first Saturday in May (before the long weekend on purpose). This forces me (and I DO need a push to do this) to clean out my crawl space where I've dumped everything for the past year. Once I've dragged the stuff out and priced it, my husband sets it all out - in an orderly fashion that took him years to learn - on makeshift tables in our garage. (We place several old closet doors on crates.) If I have time (once every five years or so), I organize my office shelves and chuck a bunch of those items in there too.
Other than that, spring means I can walk the trails again. If I don't have a girlfriend with whom to share my walk, I read a book instead, keeping an eye on the yellow middle line of the trail as I walk. People think I'm nuts; I think of it as multi-tasking. Besides, any time to read a book is a good time!

Kate Walker said...

Hi Nas lovely to 'see' you here. I hope May brings you loits of happiness - and great reading

Kate Walker said...

Hello Mary Anne - I'll admit that not everywhere in the UK actually has these May Day events, but where they are run they are lovely. A friend of mine does Morris Dancing and it's lovely to see.

I so agree with you about renewal and a fresh start. The past few months have been difficult for my family but with the brightness of sunshine ad the coming of Spring I'm hopeful things will improve - it's wonderful to feel that sense of a new beginning.

Kate Walker said...

Hi Kaelee - the Wedding was one to leave you feeling warm and hopeful wan't it? The bride and groom looked so happy and so in love - and everyone else seemed to pick up on that joy from them. I hope that William and Kate will be very happy in the future

Kate Walker said...

Michele - we had had cold and wet - and snow! - un til a couple of weeks ago and it's amazing how much difference the sun makes. I love to hear the birds sining their hearts out - telling everyone that they have a wonderful nest and all's right with their world!

Kate Walker said...

Hi runner - my husband is the one who does most of the planting - he's busy planting veg at the moment. But I'm the one who makes the hanging baskets to put outside our doors. I do love to see them growing

Kate Walker said...

Happy May Day to you too Laney - I wish I cold say I was as organised as you to get my spring cleaning done right now, but my excuse is that I have this book to write and I know my readers will want me to finish that.

I wish I could multitask like you and read as I walk - that's great multitasking. But I walk in our local park and there are lots of people there walking their dogs so I'd be afraid of bumping into them

CrystalGB said...

Happy May Day Kate. I like to mark Spring by planting flowers and vegetables and sitting outside in the sun.

chey said...

Happy May Day!
I'm looking forward to warmer weather so I can plant.

ev said...

I have overdosed on weddings this weekend- not only did I watch from 4am but recorded it on more than one station and watched again! Today we had a wedding to go to at a friends house and had a great time.

Next weekend will be the annual Tulip Festival where the Fest Queen and court are presented and the streets are cleaned before hand, by young girls dressed in traditional Dutch costumes.

And then the flowers, vendors and food to be had!!

Kate Walker said...

Hi Crystal - you'll be doing the same things as my DH! He spent May Day planting more flowers and veg. And then he read outside in the sun!

Kate Walker said...

Hello Chey - and Happy May Day to you too. Another one who loikes spending time gardening. I love to do that too - just never get enough free time from writing

Kate Walker said...

Ev - all that wedding wathcing and then a real one to go to at the weekend! That is overdosing but it sounds lovely and happy too. Thank you for telling me about the Tulip Festival - I'd love to see the girls in their costumes - do they wear the clogs as well?

I hope you havce a wonderful time.

Kate Walker said...

OK - time to get Sid the Cat to pick a winner . . .

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 overf on my personal blog)

Kate Walker said...

OK - time to get Sid the Cat to pick a winner . . .

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 overf on my personal blog)

marybelle said...

I go on a cleaning frenzy come spring. My family basically just stay out of the way.

Jo's Daughter said...

I don't do the spring cleaning thing, but like to sow garden cress. It's simple, you don't need a garden and the result is very tasty.